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  #1  
Old December 30th, 2004, 05:08 PM
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Default Dixie Belle's Memories

D. Longenecker
Worked at Dixie Belle's during 86-87 seasons.

We used to get crazy-big rushes when the Southern Palace let out and we also competed with Casa and Chicken Plantation regularly for the highest profits. That is, until we stopped making burgers and went to a more "fancy" type menu. We had chopped BBQ, sliced brisket, chicken-fried steak, sausage, and even ribs for awhile. All astronomically priced, of course. The crowds dwindled after that and us employees were thrilled with the newfound lulls.



I remember:

-The futile "squeegee sharpener" hunt that had newbies traversing the entire park for hours.

-"Bucket Burgers". You'd cook up a bunch of burgers in advance of a rush and put them into a pan on the grill. The pan had a grate and water on the bottom to keep them moist. They tasted like cardboard if you left them in there too long...

-having to deal with every 5th customer who complained about the mile-high cost of sodas. Yeah, lady, like I set the friggin' prices, sheesh.

-having to drag out and hose off all those disgusting grease-mats every night. You couldn't actually "clean" them, mind you, just spray out the food chunks.

-remember being one of the stands that offered employee discounts. If you were a friend, we'd subtly fold a chicken fried steak in two, place iit in a fry boat, put yellow grease paper over it and fill it with waffle fries and give you a side of gravy. The cashier was around the bend and couldn't see and consequently only rang up the fries

-happily getting to close up and leave early on extremely rainy days when there was only about 50 people left in the whole park.

-the incessant droning of the 4-song music track playing outside day after day after day after...

-having to wear that faggishly green pancho/bib during Holiday In The Park.

-sticking straws and forks into the fry vats for a few seconds then stretching them out to about 20 inches long.

-also, pouring a little bit of water into the vats made for cool sound effects... and a fire hazard.

-getting severely peeved on those rare occcasions when you had to fill-in at another stand. It was always one of those non-stop busy kind of places and you were almost always put on the crappiest job there that none of the regulars liked to do.

-conversely, placing one of those fund-raising temps (blacktags?) on the crappiest job none of us liked to do!

-taking turns sneaking into the walk-in fridge and scarfing down waffle fries and cream gravy while a buddy kept watch.

-getting sick on my very first day having to drag about 25 boxes of waffle fries from the outside freezer into the indoor walk-in; constantly going from 98 degrees outside, to 30 degrees inside, and back.

-trimming fat off of 5lb. briskets and pulling out 4-inch long, gray, rubbery veins. (ick)

-fighting for control over one of those big trimming knives (from above). He had the blade and I had the handle... and pulled. Cut his hand wide open. I thought for sure I was fired but he played it off as an accident. Thanks again man.

-sneaking in a pint of Southern Comfort into Dixie Belle's office one day and having some mixed drinks with friends.

-the overhead fire sprinklers going off and drenching the entire kitchen with smelly, rust-colored water. What a mess!

-dumping used grease into those putrid 50 gallon drums around back.

-having 3 or 4 Food Service softball teams with one team conveniently acquiring the better players from the other teams, thereby forming one "all-star" team. I was not on this team...

-getting my wrist fractured playing catcher on one of the lesser teams by a Grounds guy taking the game WAY too seriously and plowing into me at home. He was safe...

-the Batcave parties! I still can't understand how Searle got away with this!

-proud moment: We hand-sliced the cooked briskets every day and there was quite a few smaller pieces left that didn't make the "cut" for serving and consequently thrown away. We came up with the bright idea of chopping them up and mixing them into the pre-made (and lesser quality) chopped BBQ used for sandwiches. It reduced waste and made the BBQ taste ten times better.

-giving the street-clothed Fabulous Thunderbirds directions to the Shock Wave hours before they were to play a concert at SF.

-going to a party at Eric Mills house and famously puking on his neighbor's loud dog. Had a hard time living that one down...

-giving hell to manager Charles Rabe every day he worked at Dixie Belle's. Sorry Rabe.

-sharing meaningless 3rd-in-charge duties with Mark Ganus.

-Kari Huse was the cutest little manager on two feet and the nicest person ever.

-the twins, Kim and Kelly (last name?). Kim was asst. mgr. for awhile and the 2nd nicest person ever.

-Jim Welch. Everyone called him "China Jim" even though he was really from Vietnam. Excellent pool player and used to hustle at Spare Time Lanes in Arlington. He actually aspired to become a hobo after high school and ride the rails. Love ya brother.


Finally, one of the revelations I had as a kid working there was the diversity. One of my friends/co-workers lived in damn-near a mansion while another lived in a tiny shack of a house in Grand Prairie. But that uniform magically turned everyone into equals at SF.

Peace.
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  #2  
Old January 2nd, 2005, 12:43 AM
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postmix postmix is offline
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Default More Dixie Belle's stuff...

I don’t know if you remember me or not, I spent so much time in Dixie’s during the summer of ’87 I ended up dating one of the nice ladies you mentioned (Kim, not Kelly). This is Tony, the postmix guy. I had special ties to Dixie’s for another reason, I was the manager there during the summer of ’84. The ever-present David Smith was my assistant…he took over for the strange and mysterious Bob Montalvo. When we were really busy and didn’t have time to smoke and carve the brisket, it was my brilliant idea to use cater sliced BBQ in the tin pans. Just pop them in the steamer and transfer them into the 4 inch pans. It was great until we got busted. Apparently the smell of real brisket smoke wafting across to the Southern Palace is what was supposed to bring people in. I don’t know, we were still slammed 10 hours a day.

Thanks for remembering the great Dixie Belle’s stories, that was a great stand for good times. Does anyone remember Jon Brighton Earley, when, from the back area of Dixie’s, hurled a vinyl record album over the gift shops into the front gate area? That was wild.
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  #3  
Old January 3rd, 2005, 05:00 PM
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triggy triggy is offline
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Default

I have a vague recollection... reddish/brown hair, right? Hard to remember all the peeps and supervisors that would blow thru there for a quick coke and a chat.

You were a manager there? -right on. My first manager was Nate McMahon. I remember reporting to him the first day of the '86 season and realizing that my new boss was going to be just a kid, like me, how cool was that!?
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Old June 13th, 2006, 04:59 PM
Hazwaste Hazwaste is offline
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"We came up with the bright idea of chopping them up and mixing them into the pre-made (and lesser quality) chopped BBQ used for sandwiches."

We were doing that in 1979 when I was there, working for Randy Byrd. Guess they must have stopped between my time and yours. Did you use the chopper that had a spinning blade and a rotating stainless steel bowl? That thing was great for scaring new employees. Take the blade out, reach in there pretending to clean inside, then "accidentally" hit the power and commence to screaming. A ketchup-covered piece of hot dog would complete the effect. Stupid teen hijinks.

Funny the junk that was put into the chopped BBQ back then...green weenies, dried up brisket, whatever. Nothing that the BBQ sauce couldn't fix. IIRC, the chopped BBQ sandwiches were the #1 seller at Dixies.
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Old June 14th, 2006, 03:51 PM
JStroop JStroop is offline
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I went to high school with Kim and Kelly, they were in my class. Mackey is their last name.
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  #6  
Old June 14th, 2006, 05:49 PM
Krista 96-02 Krista 96-02 is offline
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Mmmmmm. In-park food just sounds foolishly appetizing right about now.
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  #7  
Old June 16th, 2006, 03:37 PM
JStroop JStroop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krista 96-02
Mmmmmm. In-park food just sounds foolishly appetizing right about now.
I think you need help.
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Jeremy Stroop: Rides 88-96, Shows Fright Fests 89,90,91, Safety 97,99. Security 97-98. Hurst, TX
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  #8  
Old June 16th, 2006, 06:07 PM
Krista 96-02 Krista 96-02 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JStroop
I think you need help.
That's why I said "foolishly"!
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  #9  
Old June 23rd, 2006, 11:01 PM
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clankford clankford is offline
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Default Dixie Belle Memories

I was the manager of the Dixie Belle in 78 (I think that was the year). I was really proud of the place and felt we had by far the best food in the park. I also managed Catering, Gazebo Hot Dogs? and the Bake Shop. It was hot, a lot of work and a blast. I learned a lot there that I use today and none of it has to do with how to make BBQ.
There was air blowing in the kitchen but it was not a/c. I can still remember the "pizza ovens" blazing at 350 degrees, the steamer and maybe the bean cooker making a lot of heat. Boy was it hot. My 8 track tape player playing the same tape over and over all day on the Cres-Cor (usually the blues bros, Springsteen or the Who).
Every morning I'd trim about 1200 pounds of brisket, cook all the food, get the front line stocked with sauce, beans, meats, pies, potato salad, cole slaw. The "opening man" would put the order away and the cashier, Teri Smith for a while, would put chairs down in the dining room and we were ready.
Somehow I was able to get there by 8AM every day even after partying all night, almost every single night, literally sometimes until the sun came up.
A few key memories; one day the brisket was cooking and the smokers had not be cleaned in a while and dripped grease on the fire, they started bellowing smoke and filled the Confederacy with a thick tasty fog. Guy Bemrick came charging in, opened the smoker doors (which got all the Oxygen needed for a real fire) and coated all the ribs with a thick blanket of fire extinguisher foam.
Another time I made a bet with Eric Jungerman that I could open the restaurant blindfolded for a case of beer. I did everything I normally did including trimming meat and placing and removing "chop" from the big pizza ovens, blind.
When I took the blindfold off the kitchen was full of people including Bryan Cherry who complained about the safety issues but watched the whole thing without stopping me or saying a word.
I managed the famous Rockwall cater in the picnic area (3 companies, 7500 people). I worked 23 hours that day and 18 the day before. I still have the Catering billing memo I sent to Marketing.
Really had a good time there. I remember Dave Williams, Linda Kelso, Jordie Lavine, the candy shop girls, many others. I still get a big grin on my face when I think about the fun we had.
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  #10  
Old June 25th, 2006, 07:45 PM
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Alan Cochrum Alan Cochrum is offline
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Question Interesting question

Quote:
Originally Posted by clankford
Another time I made a bet with Eric Jungerman that I could open the restaurant blindfolded ...
I have a theory that if you blindfolded me and gave me a white cane, I still would be able to find my way from the Front Gate to, say, the Shock Wave queue house. It would be an interesting experiment, to say the least.
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