A Spur landmark business has reopened its doors again after closing sometime last year. Barbara Bilberry Kautz, a member of the Spur High School Class of 1978, is the new owner of the Dixie Dog.
Barbara may have felt like she had come back home inside the old building where she used to work in high school. This time, though, she was cooking instead of filling drink orders and whipping up milk shakes. Barbara was busy cooking up Dixie Dogs and other traditional Dixie Dog fare when she opened for business on Monday morning, June 8.
Spur ex-students have fond memories of the Dixie Dog as a popular hangout and lunchtime gathering place. “The local kids mobbed the place during the noon hour and charge accounts ran up fast,” recalls Ginger Walker Davis, daughter of the couple who established the business in 1949, in the history book, Dickens County: Its Land and Its People.
Walker’s parents, R.L. “Dick” and Louise Walker, purchased the property located on West Hill Street in 1949 and opened the business inside a small metal building. The “Dixie Dog” was a franchise name referring to the sweetly battered and fried corn dogs, or “dinner on a stick” as they were advertised, which were served along frozen ice cream treats.
Walker Davis writes, “At first the Dixie Dogs and the frozen malts were the big items. As the years went by the crowds outgrew the little building so it was enlarged several times. Many more items were added to the menu including my favorite, the hamburger.”
Several years after opening, the Walkers added tables and benches under an awning, and then, in 1960, the area was closed in to make the inside dining area. Soon the restaurant became a popular place for locals. “The place was hopping with the popular music of the day blaring from the brightly colored jukebox,” writes Walker Davis, “…a wooden board added at the end of the counter where names were carved as kids talked and whiled away the time.It was a perfect place to stop when one got tired of making the drag. When the football team won a game, free milk shakes were given to all the boys. Teachers were treated to coffee and doughnuts each fall, and, of course, there was the four o’clock ladies’ coffee ‘klatch’.”
While it was a popular place with locals, it also became a popular place for the college friends of the Walker children. “The Dixie Dog became the stop-over for several college students as they drove through Spur and many brought their college pennants to hang in the Dixie Dog,” said Davis. Spur students, when returning home from college, would bring by pennants from their schools, too.
Dick Walker died in 1978, and Louise Walker continued to operate the Dixie Dog until retiring 1984. Jimmy Jack and Linda Hext purchased the drive-in from Mrs. Walker. During the last couple of decades the restaurant has changed hands several times.
Now in its 60th year, the Dixie Dog is open again, and Spur locals, and even those Spurites who are exiled to the far reaches of the country, can revisit the famous drive-in where fond memories have been made and will continue to live on.