Dixie Chicken - The Oldest Bar on Northgate

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Chicken Stories

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Decades of good times

It may have started as just a bar, all those years ago, but it has been much more than that to many aggies. For over 40 years, we’ve been on Northgate, celebrating the big wins, knocking back a few after a tough test, reminiscing and reconnecting with friends. We’ve been there for the awkward first dates, the 20 year wedding anniversaries, the nights to remember and the nights to forget!

Thank you for your stories.

2014

Archive

40th Anniversary Party

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Roger Creager playing to the crowd.

Dub Miller singing "Fightin' Texas Aggie"

2014

40th Anniversary Party

June 14, 2014, the Dixie Chicken celebrated its 40th birthday with live music from Aggies and local talent.

Pat Ryan, Austin English, Dallas Shipp, Geoff Spahr, Rosehill, Clayton Gardner, Dub Miller, and Roger Creager all shared their talents to a large crowd packed throughout the promenade.

1999

Billy Faught

At graduation, my Mom said “Well, you don’t have to eat chicken anymore. Must have seen 100 checks written to that Dixie Chicken restaurant.”

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1986

I noticed him immediately...

I was new to the Dixie Chicken scene

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1986

I was new to the Dixie Chicken scene

I walked in with friends in January 1986. He already knew my friends, and I was new to the Dixie Chicken scene 🙂 He was playing 42 at a table with his friends. I noticed him immediately, especially his long hair in the back LOL~ There was some chemistry and I asked him to a sorority dance. He turned me down because I had just broken up with a boyfriend and needed a date! He then asked me to a basketball game in Austin, and I turned him down because I legitimately had a fever. To this day he doesn’t believe I was sick.

Three months later, we ran into to each other in summer school, and we have been together ever since. We married February of 1989, and we have three Aggie children: two graduates and a current sophomore. We recently went back there to hang out (well we do that a lot because now we own a house 10 minutes from the Dixie Chicken) the day before our 30th wedding anniversary, and he stood up and asked a stranger to record us. He popped the question again for another 30 years!

P.S. We recently sat at the Chicken and re-learned how to play 42 on our phones before we pulled out the dominos to actually play again.

Mary Ewing Miller ’87
Kyle Miller ’85

1991

Enjoying another fun night of bones...

Patrick’s “God” hand

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1991

Patrick’s “God” hand

Enjoying another fun night of bones in the Spring of ’91 with Mark Gaither ’90 (right) and Patrick LaCicero ’92 (left). Finally, Pat has the “God” hand and plans his execution, only interrupted by female domino groupies drawn in by the gravity of the situation. Pat was their mascot. What is the “God” hand in 42, you ask? Bidding 41 and making it EXACTLY by walking the 1-blank on the last play. Patrick didn’t complete the feat that night but he entertained us with every hand played. Even the stuffed white-tailed buck just above us was impressed.

Tragically, we lost Pat last year. He was an amazing father, husband, and friend. You are greatly missed my brother. The world just isn’t the same.

-Bruce Cherniak ’87

1989

A story about Don

The wire popped and a barb went right across the top of his bald head…

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1989

The wire popped and a barb went right across the top of his bald head…

This story had less to do with the Chicken and more to do with Don but here it is. That year had been dry. Don owned a little place kind of west of town over by the power plant. His cows had gotten out and were running on a much larger place. Don knew this but he did not have any grass so he just left them there. Finally the guy that either owned or leased the other place politely told Don that he was going to take those cows to the sale and where did he need to send the check….LOL. So late one afternoon we had to go out there and find his cows, drive them back to his place, and fix the fence. Now we had never seen his cows and we had never been on the other place which was quite large. Well against all odds we managed to find his cows and get them back. That only left fixing the fence before we could call it a day. There were 4 of us but only Nathan and myself had ever built fence. We were stretching the top wire when Don decided to intervene. He said we had not stretched it enough. We told him nope it is plenty tight. He disagreed as only Don could so we made it tighter and tighter. Finally when you could play music on it he was satisfied. Nathan and I were both concerned that that sucker could pop at any moment so Don grabbed a hammer and a fence staple and started pounding that sucker in. He had one misfire and that was enough. The wire popped and a barb went right across the top of his bald head. It may have bled a little. After that he left the fence building to Nathan and myself.

1995

I majored in Dixie Chicken Studies

Shaking bones, drinking beer, and singing those old country tunes…

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1995

Shaking bones, drinking beer, and singing those old country tunes…

To hear my momma tell it, in the Fall of 1994 I majored in Bonfire, but in the Spring of 1995 I majored in Dixie Chicken Studies.

The Bird – my favorite appellation for her – was a natural match for me in those days: dark and foreboding, but full of life and abounding energy. I spent countless evenings (and afternoons . . . who am I kidding!) shaking bones and drinking from glass pitchers, or sitting on the back porch telling lies holding a longneck bottle. I learned more about the best parts of life standing under dusty trophies of Hill Country bucks and rusted signs, listening to Johnny, Waylon, Willie, and Jerry Jeff, than I could have anywhere else in the world. I formed friendships that will last a lifetime, romances that lasted a few short hours, and sentences that couldn’t survive outside my beer-addled mind. I’ve seen Don’s office – the result of running afoul of his strict no fighting rule – the rattler tank from the inside, and the floor of the men’s room up close and personal. So many nights I’ll never remember, a few I’ll never forget, and some so cloaked in the hazy gauze separating reality from legend that I can’t be sure they actually happened. In the story of my life, The Dixie Chicken is not a setting, she’s a living, breathing, ever-present character. Walking in through the swinging doors or up the steps on the back porch today is like seeing a loved one after too long a separation.

I don’t know if it’s true, what my momma says about me and my misspent semester with the Dixie Chicken, but I can tell you this for sure: I don’t remember a single damn thing I learned in the hallowed halls and erudite classrooms across University Drive in the Spring of 1995, but I’ll never forget the lessons I learned shaking bones, drinking beer, and singing those old country tunes with all my buddies at The Bird.

Thanks and Gig ‘Em!

Nathan J. Bouchér

Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 1998

1992

A chance meeting leads to forever

An Aggie Victory Celebration

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1992

An Aggie Victory Celebration

October 3, 1992. A&M QB Jeff Granger escapes a sure sack and hits TE Greg Schorp for a first down to keep the Aggies’ final drive alive. Terry Venetoulias kicks the game-winning FG on the final play for a 19-17 win over Texas Tech. The late Homer Jacobs convinces Rusty Burson to stay in town instead of going back to Galveston and going out that night. Audra Watts Holifield and William Holifield convince Vannessa Blasingame Burson to stay in town instead of going back to Clear Lake. later that night, Rusty sees Vannessa walk in the back door of the Dixie Chicken. He grabs her by the arm and spins her around. The rest is history. They were married in 1993, and they now have two children at A&M and a third on the way.
-Rusty Burson

2009

College Choices

Straight to the Dixie Chicken…

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2009

Straight to the Dixie Chicken…

Every summer my dad and I would take a trip to Galveston together and after my sophomore year of high school we were heading back home to Dallas and my dad said “why don’t we go check out college station?” knowing that I wanted to attend A&M. So we jumped off 45 and headed to Aggieland. But instead of going straight to campus or on a campus tour we went straight to the Dixie Chicken. Had a burger and dad had a beer (of course) and we hung around talking with the bartenders on staff. When we finally walked out of the chicken, probably 3 hours later, we both were blown away at how friendly everyone was and how when asked about Aggieland and Texas A&M their faces would light up, you could just see how much they loved this place and how different the environment was. I knew right then and there I wanted to be a Fightin’ Texas Aggie. I didn’t need a campus tour, I just needed a visit to the Dixie Chicken! ????�

Today it is still my favorite place to go on a Friday night. My husband and I have played many games of dominoes in there and it will forever hold a place in my heart.

(Also worked at Chicken Oil for about a year in 2010-2011)

Brittany Coker ‘14

1988

aka Don's Boys

The Bud Crew…

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1988

The Bud Crew…

Back in the late 80’s I worked on the bud crew. I am not sure who reads this email but in case you do not know what the bud crew was, we were basically Don’s boys. We did whatever needed to be handled. Some days it might have been mowing his yard, the next mopping the Chicken, and the next catching his cows. I spent one summer working on Alfred T. Hornback’s. I forget what is was before that but an old carpenter named Ben and I did most of the work to make it a pool hall. I was also one of the guys that replaced the floor at the front bar. I probably have more stories than I have time to write but here are a couple of quick ones.

The little door that kind of hides the ice machine at the front bar was built by me. In true Don fashion I was given a hand saw, a few pieces of wood, a hammer, and a few nails. That was it. I built the door and hung it in such a fashion that when open it would hang the floor to keep it open. It all worked out great. Don looked at it and liked it but felt something was wrong. After thinking he realized that it looked too clean. He had me take it down, take it outside, and rub it down with mud. With a little effort it pretty much matched the rest of the Chicken so I put it back in place. I have not been there in the last few years but the last time I was there the door was still in place.

-John

1989

16 years later

Met while working in 1989…

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1989

Met while working in 1989…

I worked at The Chicken in 1989…. my last semester in Aggieland. Started as the daytime front bar man and worked my way to Manager.

At the time, I noticed a pretty little sophomore working in the kitchen with Janelle and Freddie, named Maria. Smiles turned into flirts, turned into dates and we spent a few months dating.

I graduated, we broke up, and I moved away but I never forgot that pretty girl I dated while working at The Chicken.

16 years later (2005), I get an email, “Remember Me?” and six months later we were married!! We now have 2 kids (Class of ’26 & ’28).

Ben Denison ’88
Maria Theologos Denison ’94

1993

Well, there I was, trying...

Where do we go from here?

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1993

Where do we go from here?

Well, there I was, trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life at the career center above the parking garage. It wasn’t called the Koldus Center yet, in 1993. So I was in the office with other Ags helping me determine my future and we realized that #1-We were all graduating next year together, #2-We were all Virgos, and #3-We all needed a drink. Already dressed in maroon (is there another color?), we agreed on a time and after work and school that Thursday evening met up at the Chicken and a few pitchers later were agitatin’ the rattlesnakes behind the thick plexiglass. Ronda Harris beat me at pool and Shelly Redelsperger, a track star at A&M dragged us to a Tracy Byrd concert at the Hall of Fame. Ahhh, I miss those foggy endless nights at College Station and the Dixie Chicken.

– Charles Reed

2013

Sweet Home Alabama!?

2013 Alabama home game…

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alabama vs Texas A&M at Dixie Chicken

Pictured is my wife Diane and great friend Cary Bauer, Class of ’74.

2013

2013 Alabama home game…

The Alabama home game in 2013, a rematch against Johnny Football. This was Bama’s first visit to Kyle Field in an SEC tilt. I was unable to find tickets to the game that did not involve mortgaging my home. So we came to town anyway from Houston, arrived early at the Chicken and watched the game from the friendly confines of the Chicken. As you can imagine, the Chicken was packed that day with about 50/50 Tide versus good guys… About an hour before game time, the sound system all the sudden broke into Sweet Home Alabama to the surprised glee of the Bama contingent. They were cheering wildly, singing and high fiving… about 10 seconds into the song, the music abruptly stopped… after about a 5 second silent pause, Noble Men of Kyle came blasting through the sound system at full volume. Amazing moment. Actually best moment ever in the Chicken for me. The bewildered Bama fans all had that ‘what just happened?’ look on their faces.

Classic…