Customers pack Dixie BBQ in Johnson City before owner retires, closes restaurant

Since word spread that Dixie Barbeque in Johnson City would close its doors for good, they have been packed for lunch and dinner every single day.

Owner Alan Howell told us there was even one point last week where they ran out of food and had to close early.

Not long after Dixie Barbeque opened its doors Saturday we found people were already claiming a spot in the dining room.

Customers told us there was a reason they showed up first.

“I have been by here two or three times since I read the news and its always been packed,” Mark Gulick said.

“The first time it was full, then we came back that night and they had sold out of everything so we came back the next day and it was full again,” Dolores Young said.

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The restaurant has been packed for the past week because in just a short time the restaurant will close its doors for good.

“I’ve been in the restaurant business standing up since 1972, and I’m wore out, my back is wore out, my feet is wore out,” Howell said.

After 28 years Howell said he is retiring.

While Howell told us he is looking forward to the next chapter of his life-, he said it is still hard to let go.

“Ever since Tuesday we’ve been hugging and crying and going on with folks,” Howell said.

There could be hope for the future of the building.

Howell told us several people have already shown interest in the property.

“I hope somebody will come along and keep Dixie going, as Dixie Barbeque,” Howell said.

In the meantime, customers like Mark Gulick say they are just focused on the present, savoring every bite.

“The service is always good, the staff is always friendly. The potato salad, I would come here and just eat the potato salad,” Gulick said.

Gulick told us he may even save room for one last trip.

“Well I’ll get back as long as the parking lot isn’t full I’ll try to get in again,” Gulick said.

Dixie’s last day in business will be December 31st, New Year’s Eve.

The restaurant will close at 3 in the afternoon.

Copyright 2015 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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