MARSHALL, TX (KLTV) - Neely's Brown Pig restaurant in Marshall has been around for nearly half a century, and they serve up a unique pork sandwich that they say will make you come back..no matter who you are.
And that was indeed the case for Pro Football Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle.
On August 15 it had been in business for 90 years: Neely's Brown Pig. Ray Fessler, the present owner of Neely's Brown Pig, has eaten the popular sandwiches since the sixties, and liked them so much he bought the place. He's owned it:
"A year next month," Fessler said.
He bought the restaurant from James Neely's daughter but:
"His mother was actually the originator," Fessler said.
She started it in 1927. She came up with the pork sandwich which has a texture similar to tuna salad. And yes, people seem to crave the brown pigs.
"You can be in West Texas and say something about Marshall Texas; oh yeah, brown pigs," Fessler smiled.
Clay Allen was born and raised in Marshall and has been eating the sandwiches all his life.
"Does any other sandwich taste like a Brown Pig?" I asked him as he dined in the restaurant.
"No, and if you come here often enough you will see every person that ever lived in Marshall, Texas because they all make the trip back at one time or another," Allen explained.
That includes Marshall native:
"Y.A. Tittle," I offered to Allen.
"Y.A. Tittle. I've seen them all here," Allen nodded.
As a matter of fact, a copy of Tittle's iconic kneeling photo is hanging on the wall at the brown pig, complete with a personalized Tittle autograph made out to James Neely. Ray says he was having lunch there about a year and a half ago when Tittle came in for the last time. He says Tittle was mobbed.
"He signed two or three autographs," Fessler recalled.
Ray said Tittle was always humble and just a regular guy, and it wasn't long before Tittle asked Ray for a favor.
"Help me get through the door so I can get out of here," Ray revealed with a smile.
Tittle's photo hangs next to another Neely's fan: George Foreman.
And what did Tittle write on that faded picture?
"To James- Not really hurt, just need a Brown Pig. My best to an old friend, Y.A. Tittle.
Y.A. Tittle was born in Marshall in 1926, which was about nine months before Neely's sold its first Brown Pig sandwich in that same town. Tittle passed away October 8.