She was a former brawler. She was an animal lover. She let animals roam around her restaurants, including dogs, pigs, a blind rooster, a monkey, goats, and more. She used to rub her bosoms — hanging free behind one of her signature muumuus — onto unexpecting diners, in a move she called “ear muffs.” Gleaned from The Chronicle archives and the various obituaries from local papers (where indicated), here are some of the more entertaining memories of the late, great Juanita Musson: * “I first ran across Juanita, or she across me, when she opened Juanita’s Galley in Sausalito during the middle 1950s. She was and is a big girl — some 225 pounds of quivering, pulsating heart concealed in an amorphous mass.
Since she liked to eat and drink, obviously, she liked other people to drink and eat. “– Herb Caen, The Chronicle, 1975 * “She even has found herself the subject of a book titled ‘Juanita,’ a salty, funny, 300-page biography by Sonoma author Sally Hayton-Keeva that is now in the stores. It is being promoted on a local billboard with a huge photograph of Juanita when she was a 300-pounder lolling, not exactly covered, in the suds of a bubble bath. ” — Walt Wiley, The Chronicle, 1990 * “Where they are now dept.: Andrew Betancourt sighted Juanita Musson, legendary ex-restauranteuse, working as an attendant at the Agua Caliente Hot Springs pool in Sonoma County. If she’s the lifeguard, wear water wings.” — Herb Caen, The Chronicle, 1991 * “Juanita Musson has been described as the drinking man’s Julia Child. I don’t know if that’s accurate, but I like the sound. Style writer Cynthia Robins called her brash, bibulous and bawdy. Now, that I know about.” — Jim Wood, Examiner, 1991 * “