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Friday, January 22, 2021

Small Business: Dixie House Cafe

Dixie House Cafe

5401 South Hulen St.

Fort Worth 76132

817-361-8500

dixiehousecafes.com

Dixie House Cafes is a chain of five restaurants that specializes in home cooking.

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“I wanna be satisfied, give me somethin’ fried

Somethin’ deep inside, give me somethin’ fried” – “Give Me Somethin’ Fried’ by Fort Worth band the Juke Jumpers on their 1983 album, Jumper Cables

Chicken-fried steak is one popular menu item throughout Texas.

It’s really popular when a restaurant takes a home cooking approach and can serve it with tasty sides such as fried okra, buttered corn, mashed potatoes or black-eyed peas.

At the Dixie House Cafe chain in Tarrant County, customers can order chicken-fried steak or chicken-fried chicken for $4.99 and a couple of sides on Mondays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. through 8:30 p.m. The price for that dish on the other days of the week is $9.45.

Dale Simon, the founder of Dixie House, said the restaurants began serving chicken-fried steak for $4.99 during the 2015 Christmas season.

“I decided I wanted to do something for my customers and give something back,” Simon said. “So, for the whole month of December, I decided to have chicken-fried steak every Monday, a regular sized portion, for $4.99. Once I started it, I saw it was bringing in a lot of people. So, I continued it.”

Simon added chicken-fried chicken for a bargain price at the beginning of 2017.

The Dixie House offers the special at all of its five locations. Its locations in Fort Worth proper are at 3701 Belknap St. (the original Dixie House), 6200 E. Lancaster Ave. and 5401 S. Hulen St.

Simon, 68, who handles the business side of the family business, can usually be found at the Hulen location during the early morning hours. His wife, Theresa, who is an avid cook, spends a lot of time at the Lancaster location.

The other two locations are at 5401 Blue Mound Road in Saginaw and 2015 Airport Freeway in Euless.

Simon, who has owned restaurants since 1983, said one big reason that Dixie House thrives is because customers are treated with a lot of respect.

“When you come in, you feel like you’re wanted, you’re needed and people care about you,” he said. “I think we’re a step above a lot of restaurants because of our great service. We really try to service people. We have a lot of repeat business and we don’t get a lot of complaints.”

“I’ve always said you can get by with mediocre food and good service better than you can get by with good food and lousy service. I don’t care how good the food is, if the service isn’t good, you’re not going to survive.”

Of course, people are drawn by their carefully thought-out home cooking approach.

“All of the recipes come from my wife, Theresa,” Simon said. “She keeps all of the cooking in line. She checks with all of the cooks with all of the stores and keeps it all pretty close.”

Simon has other family member involved in the business too. His daughter, Renee Medford, manages the day shift at the Belknap Street restaurant. Her husband, Monty Medford, manages the evening shift.

Renee Medford said the staff offers customers a warm feeling.

“When people come in the door, we treat them with love and appreciation,” she said. “The people who have been with us have been here for a long time.”

Bill Bolger, a Haltom City resident, said he’s been a Dixie House regular at the Belknap location for 20 years.

“I like the good food and they’re great people,” he said. “They’re always good to you. I’m single and this is the best meal I have all day.”

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