Dixie Chicken - The Oldest Bar on Northgate

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That good ol’ Dixie feeling.

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.

1983

I was in the market for a part-time job...

From Crocker Hall to the Chicken

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1983

From Crocker Hall to the Chicken

Greetings from Syracuse, New York.

In 1983 I was a sophomore at A&M, living just across the street in Crocker Hall (now gone). I was in the market for a part-time job and someone suggested the “Chicken”…my first thought was… “yeah..I like fried chicken!” Went over and was surprised that it wasn’t a fried chicken joint but a beer saloon. Asked the front bartender where to go to apply…he sent me to the back and up the stairs…as I recall it was Peggy’s first week on the job, she handed me an application….then a deep voice inside the connecting office asked… “Who’s out there? …..come on in Bud.” I went in and sat down, first a bit intimidated by the guns on the wall and the pistol on the desk, “I’m Don he said, lookin for work?”….. and we proceeded to have a nice 20 minute conversation…..having nothing to do with my qualifications to work. We instead talked about where I was from, my family, my hobbies…like you were talking with a long-lost uncle..catching up on things. At the end “Don said… “OK Bud, we’ll give a roll in the hay, Peggy sign him up!” That was my first introduction to Don and the Dixie Chicken.

Started out on Bud Crew….as most do. The first job I had was cleaning out Pookies, the building across Bottle Cap Alley. It had been a shot bar in the late 70’s, full of old furniture, cases of old liquor, mixes and such. We filled Don’s truck 3 times with stuff to haul off to the dump. Don was turning it into an ice cream parlor as I remember.

Ended up working at the Chicken Oil Company, then back to the Chicken, swamping, then the back bar, then the front bar and eventually weekend manager. Worked from 1983 thru 1986. Have wonderful memories, I helped with changing out the snakes, we rotated the rattlesnakes between cages upstairs and the wall cage. Every once in a while a city highway worker would show up with a bigger rattler and we’d have to shuffle snakes. The Chicken only served beer at that time, bottles up front and glass pitchers at the back. Can’t tell you how many Sundays I spent polishing the brass at the back bar. I remember the ruckus Don started when he suggested raising the price of a longneck from 75 cents to $1. We were making a quarter tip on just about every bottle sold. We convinced Don to raise the price to 90 cents so we could still make a dime on each. Remember the cast of character’s who frequented the bar on weekends.

Enclosing a couple of pictures from the good ole days.

The first is of the front of the Chicken around 1983.

The second is of the Chicken staff at the 1983 (1984?) 4th of July party Don held out at some land he owned next to the Brazos River. I’m the blond guy holding up the Miller High Life in the middle of the picture. JB Fletcher, in the green hat, was the manager. The girl in the front row with the white hat is Don’s niece (don’t remember her name). Next to her is one of Don’s daughters, Don is holding the other. I only remember Katie’s name. I can remember all of the faces and voices of everyone in the picture but not names….time has erased them from my memory.

Hope this brings some joy and memories. Was very sad to hear the news of his passing a number of years back. He was one of a kind.

– Ross Shepherd

2002

I met Don & his wife back about 2002ish...

From Aggieland to Jackson Hole

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2002

From Aggieland to Jackson Hole

I met Don & his wife back about 2002ish while sculpting in a Gallery in Jackson Hole, WY. He was at the back of a crowd watching me and I hear someone holler, “what year did you graduate?”! He saw my ring and after everyone cleared out he said, “ever heard of The Chicken? I own it!” I told him it was a post exam tradition and a great place to unwind! My son just turned 21 and his first beer purchase was at The Chicken! Don created a great place and a wonderful Aggie Tradition!

1998

we fell for each other...

First date to forever

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1998

First date to forever

My favorite (out of many): In the summer of 1998, I met a woman in Austin, who lived in Houston, who agreed to come up to College Station to meet me for an official first date. We went to the movies (Armageddon), to Shadow Canyon (Shiner Park today), and then to our last stop at my favorite bar, The Chicken.

We sat down, grabbed a pitcher of Shiner, and started getting to know each other. I carved my fraternity/her sorority letters into the table. While chatting, listening to the playlist that probably hadn’t changed since 1985, and constantly introducing her to people I knew, we fell for each other. Maybe it was the music, the hardwood floor, or the unique ambience, but we’ve now had 24 years together, a wedding, and 3 kids. None of that would’ve happened without that date at The Dixie Chicken.

I still remember it every time I hear Rose Colored Glasses on the radio.

– Ryan Taylor

1977

World's First

Death Burger Championship

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1974

An enjoyable down-home bar

Don Anz and Don Ganter who met one day…

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1974

Don Anz and Don Ganter who met one day…

“The Dixie Chicken is a creation of two local residents, Don Anz and Don Ganter, who met one day several months ago and decided to do something. That something is a unique blend of new ideas and old objects combined to create an enjoyable down-home bar, a place to meet friends over a cold beer or soft drink and a snack.

The ice cold beer doesn’t come out of a refrigerator. It’s literally iced down — each and every long neck bottle. Soft drinks come good and cold, too, and wine will soon be added to the menu.”

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

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

2009

Wedding pictures

Dixie Chicken Family

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2009

Dixie Chicken Family

My husband (’08) and I (’09) are proud members of the Dixie Chicken family! So many memories and lifelong friendships were made.

– Lauren Diehl

1976

Then, there he was...

Met my husband over 40 years ago!

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1976

Met my husband over 40 years ago!

It was JULY 5, 1976, when I met my husband at the DIXIE CHICKEN:

After losing my first husband in a car crash, I was at the Dixie Chicken wearing a pink tank top that read “I’m Single” and blue jean shorts. I had one beer: Schlitz in a bottle. (I don’t, and didn’t drink much.)

Then… there he was wearing a V-neck white t-shirt, Wrangler blue jeans, boots, and had blonde hair: “Are you alone, or are you waiting for someone?”

I hesitated only a second, “I’m alone.”

He invited me to his table, where he was playing pool.

We’re now married, our three children are grown, and we have seven grandchildren. It all started at a random meeting – at the Dixie Chicken.

Thank you, folks – for the love of my life.

– Sheri Bockelman

1989

Love Story

Trying not to spill a pitcher of beer…

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Dixie Chicken

Welcome to Miller Time

1989

Trying not to spill a pitcher of beer…

Friday, February 3, 1989, my husband, Dennis looked up from playing a game of pool to see me (a 5’2 blonde, blue eyed girl) walking through the crowd carrying and trying not to spill a pitcher of beer. My girlfriend and I had gone out to dinner and then headed over to the Chicken that evening. She knew one of the guys playing pool with Dennis, and we hung out with them and drank way too much! We were married almost 15 months later (April 28, 1990) and are inseparable! We have the pleasure of coming back to visit the Chicken through the years (especially when our son was going to school class of ’14) and enjoy how welcoming young Ags are when we older Ags come in!

Gig ’em and God Bless,

Dennis ’88, ’92 and Peggy Hill

 

2016

So many memories...

From first beer to saying goodbye

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2016

From first beer to saying goodbye

I have had tons of memories at The Chicken, from my first beer to writing my final paper as a student. The one that tops all of them was my impromptu graduation party. I invited about 10 of my closest friends to gather at The Chicken for a night to drink, have fun, and say “goodbye” to being a student. I had the pleasure of having a very eclectic friend group during my time at Texas A&M, because of this, most of the people didn’t even know each other! That night we laughed, drank, and reminisced about my time at Texas A&M, the memories we made together, and what the future may hold. I realized how lucky I was to have friends like mine and a very special place like the Chicken to celebrate at. The next morning, I had to be in Houston by 9 am to work a Texans game. I was completely exhausted but it was well worth it. To be able to say good bye to the friends and university I loved at my favorite place was absolutely unforgettable. Between my mother, my friend who’s a photographer, and myself, we wound up with 0 pictures of the night. In a way, this makes me smile because no one was on their phones. For a few hours, we merry band of misfits lived in the moment, a moment that will never be forgotten.
Thanks and Gig’em,
Jordyn Smith ’16

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