The Yankee Tavern Reunion Set for Memorial Day Weekend

By Wendy Pollitzer

Apr. 15, 2010

As a non-local, I’m sad to say I never knew The Yankee.  But many of my friends declare that it is the best bar that Beaufort ever knew.  Situated on the lot where the Beaufort Boys and Girls Club now stands, The Yankee was a second home to many seeking good ole southern camaraderie, contrary to its name.

As I talk about the reunion of The Yankee to people around town, smiles immediately accompany either a humorous or sentimental story about Pearl or Manny Palmer, owners of the popular restaurant. If you’re in the mood for a good laugh or want to share your memories, become a Friend of The Yankee, 1959-1985 on Facebook. The wallpost already has 425 Friends! You’ll get a better understanding of the ambiance and the clientele (which was EVERYONE in Beaufort, from Poets to Shrimpers to Marines -as Guy Mead describes on Facebook).

Pearl and Manny Palmer

The Yankee was open from 7am until midnight. Manny worked the morning shift. He would serve omelets on Saturdays for breakfast, and prepare them exactly the way you wanted it. That may be a common courtesy nowadays, but in the 70’s, it was a rare treat!

It was a frequent sight to see Senator Jim Waddell arguing politics with Manny during lunch.  The Yankee served NY Deli-style sandwiches and its infamous Damn Good Chowder!

Pearl worked the evening shift and got to see Beaufort’s blue-collar and white-collar customers co-mingling at happy hour. I’ve now heard the following story four times, and it’s one that I love about Pearl. Different people around town have said that they came into The Yankee on their 18th birthday, the legal drinking age of yore.  After noticing quite the celebration, Pearl would ask, “What’s the occasion?” The locals I spoke to explained to Pearl that it was their birthday. The feisty Pearl would say, “But you’ve been coming in here for two years. You’re kicked out for two weeks!” Now that’s punishment!

Jim Gibson is organizing The Yankee Tavern Reunion on Saturday, May 29th at the St. Peter’s Activity Center on Lady’s Island.  Only 300 tickets will be sold. Cost is $60 per person.  To order, send payment to James S. Gibson, P.O. Box 334, Port Royal, SC 29935.

Volunteers are recreating the facade of the exterior and the atmosphere of the interior using professional set design. Damn Good Chowder and The Yankee Sandwiches will be served in addition to the Open Bar.

Organizers of the event want your stories! Become a Friend on Facebook, or email yankeebeaufort@yahoo.com to share your memories. Lolita Huckaby Watson will be compiling a book of reflection to be presented at the reunion.

To those, like me, who weren’t here to remember The Yankee, talk to a Beaufortonian.  They’ll be happy to share their stories! And trust me, they’re fun to listen to!

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