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.

1990

Archive

Ring christening turns into proposal…

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1990

Ring christening turns into proposal…

On September 1, 1990, my family was at the Chicken to christen my cousin’s ring. My boyfriend (now husband) dropped a ring in a pitcher and asked if I was ready to christen my ring. I was a year away from getting my Aggie ring, so I didn’t know what he was talking about. He pulled an engagement ring out of his pocket, dropped it into the pitcher, and asked me to marry him. The place went wild! I was showing someone the ring later that week, and a person nearby congratulated me, saying “Wow! You’re the one! I heard about that! Congratulations!” We have been married 25 years now. The Chicken will always be special to us!

Kasey Koenig-Edmundson

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

2019

Kid on a mission...

First Aggie Baseball game

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2019

First Aggie Baseball game

My husband (’04) and I (’05) loved Aggieland so much, we moved back to College Station in 2015 to raise our family. Now that they’re old enough, we are trying to take the kids to all the Aggieland classics. So, of course we started with lunch at the Dixie Chicken before catching their first Aggie Baseball game! My youngest was so excited to see the famous rattlesnake and was on a mission to see it as soon as we walked in.

– Katie Brading ’05

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

2014

The Dixie Chicken has been there as a shining beacon for this young Aggie...

A home away from home

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2014

A home away from home

My first (legal) beer. Exciting parties. A breakup. Drowning my sorrows. No matter the occasion, the Dixie Chicken has been there as a shining beacon for this young Aggie. The first time I was able to set foot on the glorious back porch of The Chicken was in 2008 When I was first visiting campus. We had a tour at 1 o’clock and we decided to grab lunch first. The hospitality and friendliness of the bar was my first real taste of what being an Aggie was all about. The first time I spent extensive time with my friends in the Texas A&M singing cadets was at a Thursday night dinner at The Chicken where I first learned about the game 42. After that, many of my college nights are spent spending time with my friend James, Adam, Ryan, and many others enjoying fine beer, great company, red dirt country, and playing 42 until the pitchers ran dry. The Thursday after I turned 21, I remember my cousin Zane inviting me out for a beer. This of course turned into shots over at the Dry Bean and to many more fun times at The Chicken. I’ve watched many away games there, was broken up with there on a Sunday afternoon, and contemplated life decisions while sipping on a Shiner. No matter the occasion, I’ll always find my way back to the place I’ve come to call a home away from home, other than Olsen Field of course.

Robert White, ’14

2016

My grandfather is my best friend...

From the Navy to TAMU

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2016

From the Navy to TAMU

Got a story for yah, Ags!…

It was the scenic route that took me to the only place I would want to transition from the military to civilian life at. My grandfather is my best friend and FTA class of 1945. I have been attached to him at the hip since I can remember. Whether it was at home, tending to the cattle and fences on the ranch, or one of his various project construction sites…he had an Aggie tale for me. My favorite probably being how he lost (and retrieved) his Aggie Ring by way of a pregnant cow in his veterinary days.

After a lifetime of these tales from my best friend/grandfather, I knew that if I was going to turn the page on a chapter as special to me as my 5 years in the US Navy was, it could only be because nearly 70 years after he left campus, I would be going to campus. He left FROM campus to go off to WWII and I came TO campus from OEF.

Now, school was never my strong suit, no matter how many times I “studied” all night at The Chicken; but due to my loyalty to Texas A&M and my grandfather, I was determined to graduate. Finally, in August of last year, graduation arrived. My sister came all the way in from Paris (not France) and my brother came in from Miami, FL to celebrate.

With the memories of decades carved in the very fiber of this place, I thought it only fitting that we celebrate at the Chicken to share with them some of my own Aggie tales I had gathered over “4 years and some change”, and reminisce of the stories our grandfather told us of this town that planted the special love of Aggieland within our hearts at a young age. Here’s to many more nights throughout many more decades…at The Chicken.

My grandfather couldn’t make it in town for graduation due to physical limitations at age 94 but I still wanted to include a photo of he and I at my little graduation lunch with just my grandparents and I in my hometown of Clarksville, TX. (He’s not wearing his ring because it was stolen about 10 years ago in a break-in at their house…but I swear he’s an Ag haha)

John Kelty ’16

PICTURED:
(Me, sister Laura, brother Brent)
(grandfather James F Kelty, Me)

2006

We always started and ended...

Ladies Nights

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2006

Ladies Nights

It was always ladies night for us at The Chicken! We always started and ended our Northgate nights at The Chicken! The best part was heading back to the bar for one pitcher of beer, some Tijuana fries, and Goodnight Irene! I believe our bathroom tag is still in the big stall somewhere- Hussies Class of 2006! We look forward to trips back to remember our great times! Thanks for all the memories!

❤️ The Hussies

2011

The pretty lady in the wedding dress is Pamela...

After Reception Get Together

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2011

After Reception Get Together

Howdy! I am Bryan Reding, I-7, ’07, and the pretty lady in the wedding dress is Pamela (Porter) Reding ’04. We are surrounded by 1st row L to R: Jeff Fuller (lifelong friend from Kansas), Clint Cottrell, I-7, ’07, Katy Hall Gaston ’07, Taylor Hall, I-1, ’07, Jack Hart (lifelong friend from Kansas). Back row L to R: Dan Habitzreiter, I-1, ’07, and Alex Holladay, I-1, ’07. Pam and I met in 2007 (whoop) and got a courthouse marriage in 2010. I deployed to Iraq from March 2010-March 2011 and we had a large wedding celebration when I returned. Our wedding ceremony was held at All Faith’s Chapel on campus, followed by the reception in the Archery Room of the Rec Center. After the reception, we went “to The Chicken” to have a few drinks. The Dixie Chicken was the go-to bar for our Corps buddies to make or forget memories long into the night during our years in The Corps and at Texas A&M. I can’t count how many times I heard Goodnight Irene. It was only fitting that after a great day, we ended the night at the best bar on Northgate.

1994

I started drinking at the Dixie Chicken...

15th Reunion

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1994

15th Reunion

I started drinking at the Dixie Chicken in June 1979 during Freshman Orientation. I’m Class of 1983 and have attached a photo of my friends, Donald Drastata,Sheryl Barrett, and myself at our 15th Reunion in the fall of 1994. My husband, Paul Hons, and I became engaged here and return every year as we visit family and check on our retirement land. Our engagement story is already on your stories page. Gig’em!

– Cindy Dobbs Hons ’83

1995

we shared a couple pitchers talked for hours...

From co-workers to marriage

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1995

From co-workers to marriage

Well I’ve finally gotten around to sending you some pictures and telling our story….the summer of 95 I was working at the chicken…first in the kitchen flipping burgers, then the bar pouring drafts and finally a manager. Although just about every night was memorable at work at the Chicken, one was more so…the night I met a girl who worked upstairs counting money with Peggy. Looking back over 20 years we still have slight variations of the “true” story but the one common element we both recall is that life changed for both of us that night. After work we shared a couple pitchers talked for hours and 6 months later, we were engaged to be married. We took our engagement pictures on the front porch and had our reception party at shadow canyon. The Dixie Chicken has always been such a huge part of our lives that when we finally built a house 20 years later, we built a room that resembled the place we met, with wood walls, animal trophies hanging, pictures of good friends, license plates, neon signs, beer mirrors and even an authentic domino table we bought at an auction. Some of the best moments of our lives with some of the best friends we’ll ever have were right there in the famous Dixie Chicken.

Erick, c/o ’95, & Erin, c/o ’97, Westerholm

2019

The Chicken will be a place we will return to for years to come...

Came back for Dixie Chicken turning 45!

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2019

Came back for Dixie Chicken turning 45!

Since graduation I’ve been itching for an excuse to come back and visit Aggieland. When I discovered that The Dixie Chicken was hosting a birthday celebration I couldn’t think of a better reason to make the trip. My favorite part of the evening was getting a glimpse back into what it felt to be a student at Texas A&M. It felt so natural to be back with everyone enjoying a pitcher and listening to Dub Miller play “The Fighting Texas Aggie Song”.
Some of my most classic memories are those spent during SCONA week. (Student Conference On National Affairs) Every year after long days of discussing the world’s most pressing issues we would always reconvene at the Chicken. It was so fun to share with external delegates from schools such as West Point Academy or the VMI about the Chicken and various Aggie traditions.
I couldn’t have asked for a better experience with my friends and family.
So this picture includes my Ring, Robert Crum ‘19 Ag Systems Management and fellow fraternity brother from Alpha Sigma Phi Stuart Dietzmann ‘19 Psychology. And serval buddies of Robbie’s from the E-2 class of 2019. Including Dylan Sutton BIMS, Stephen McLaughlin Comm, and Ruben Fernandes Computer Science. I have spent many a Thursday evening sharing a pitcher with these guys. The Chicken will be a place we will return to for years to come.
Kristi Kelley ‘19 International Studies Major

1991

I love going back and seeing how little it’s changed...

Fish Camp 1991: First Chicken Experience

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1991

Fish Camp 1991: First Chicken Experience

My first Chicken experience was on the night we came back from Fish Camp entertaining the Fall 91 semester. Let’s just say our counselors gave us a warm welcome into one of the best Aggie traditions—a cold beer at the Chicken (quite a few). From that night I was hooked. I lived just across the street at Walton so I applied for a job soon after. My “interview” with owner Don Gantner consisted of “Where’d you grow up, boy?” And “What’s your daddy do for a living?” I guess he liked my answers because is soon found myself working in the kitchen. I can say I learned to cook making Freddy burgers and Tijuana fries. It was a fun job. I eventually was promoted to work the back bar (long brass one where pitchers are served) and as a “swamper” (the guys who make their way through the crowds collecting empty bottles and pitchers). They were some late nights—I’ve seen the Chicken with all the overhead lights on and it wasn’t pretty. But it was fun and I left each night with a plastic cup full of cash and quarters from my cut of the tip pitchers. Upsides: half price on food and beer (when not on the clock) and flirting with drunk girls. Downside: missed a few football games and being completely sober at closing. I can tap a keg and pour a perfect beer with minimal foam. I love going back and seeing how little it’s changed though pushing a stroller through it once was pretty surreal. It was a key part of Aggieland education and my favorite bar ever. Attached is a pic of the night I christened my ring (I’m holding the pitcher) and a more recent picture of my initials still carved on the wall in the front entry between the glass door and swinging doors. I etched them into the wall one night with my dorm key while checking ID’s.

Russell Kolb