Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Look Back at Old Hickory House .

One  Dunwoody neighbor makes clear what he DOESN'T want in place of Old Hickory House 
Dunwoody recently witnessed the closure of one of the oldest restaurants in metro Atlanta.  Old Hickory House on Chamblee-Dunwoody Road had been a landmark for decades but abruptly closed about a week ago.  The restaurant, which served breakfast, lunch and dinner, posted a sign saying it was closed temporarily "for renovations," but sources at Old Hickory House in Tucker indicate the closure is permanent.

The parcel the restaurant sits on offers great visibility and is close to many desirable neighborhoods.  Given the issues Chick-fil-A experienced in their attempts to open in Dunwoody Village, (they eventually opened in a retrofitted Arby's nearby), I doubt very much a fast food restaurant would try to open.  It's quite possible that a restaurant, or anything other than a bank, opens, but regardless, the building will likely be demolished.  

Since the Dunwoody closure leaves metro Atlanta with just one Old Hickory House, I wanted to take  moment, as I've previously done with Blockbuster Video and Donatos, to reflect upon their former locations.  

William and Frances Black founded the company in 1953, and at its height, operated approximately 20 locations in at least three southern states. Additionally, Old Hickory House had a corporate office on Piedmont Road in Buckhead, and a commissary in Doraville.  

The Black's children later ran the family business with T. Jack Black and his first wife Ann playing integral roles in the company.   T. Jack was heavily involved in the 80s and 90s, but had taken a step back lately, given his age.  Ann owned the Dunwoody location, and her brother-in-law George Jackson operates the Tucker restaurant, according to an employee in Tucker.  

I'm too young to remember all of these, but my research indicates Old Hickory House had a number of great locations.  

Please find below metro Atlanta's former places to "put some south in your mouth." 

2915 Piedmont Road (corporate offices) within an existing office park.

5490 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road (Dunwoody) Closed as of last week.

265 Pharr Road (Buckhead) - Today home to the Atlanta Fish Market

3579 Memorial Drive (Decatur) - Most recently home to "China Cafeteria"

5611 Memorial Drive (Stone Mountain) - Most recently home to "The Bridge Cafe"

2965 Buford Highway (Brookhaven) -Today home to Hi-Speed Carwash 

2655 South Cobb Parkway (Marietta) - Today home to Swapna Indian Cuisine 

1600 Piedmont Avenue (Midtown) - Today home to Cowtippers Steaks & Spirits.

1479 Scott Boulevard (Decatur) - According to The Atlanta Time Machine, this location has always served BBQ. In the early 1950s the restaurant was known as Old Hickory Inn.  A few years later it became the Old Hickory House and stayed that way until the 1990s.   The restaurant later became Big Greg's Barbecue, which lasted a few years.  Following that, it was re-opened as Rockin' Rob's, another barbecue restaurant. Rockin' Rob's lasted for a couple of years or so and was later replaced by Maddy's, another barbecue restaurant.  Maddy's closed a few years ago.  In early 2012, Fox Bros Rib Joint announced they were going to open a new restaurant in the Maddy's space, but later abandoned their plans.  In late 2012, 101 Concepts planned to open their  Meehan's Public House concept at the old Maddy's, but they too later called off their plans.  Today, the restaurant is vacant.  

6420 Roswell Road (Sandy Springs) - Today the land is home to adult entertainment venue Flashers.

633 North Cobb Parkway  - Today home to Brandt Auto Brokers (a used car lot)

424 Forest Parkway (Forest Park) - Today the site sits vacant with the restaurant having been demolished many years ago. 

2834 Washington Road and 3026 Washington Road (Augusta)  Old Hickory House reportedly moved from one location to the next.  Their first location is today a Hooters, while their second location is a Denny's.  

2202 Northlake Parkway (Tucker) - Today this location is the last remaining of the chain.  

In Charlotte, North Carolina...

6538 North Tryon Street - Despite a fire this past February, this Old Hickory House is still open and still popular, according to locals. An original Charlotte location reportedly opened in 1957 on Freedom Drive with the current location having replaced it in 1972. The Old Hickory House in Charlotte was never owned by T. Jack or Ann although their father William did assist in getting it up and running.  The Charlotte location was kept in the family though with brothers Bobby and Gene Carter, cousins of William, operating the restaurant.  Today Bobby and Gene's sons, Kevin and David, run the restaurant.  

There were also reportedly locations in Athens, Tallahassee, and Chattanooga but despite my best efforts, I was unable to confirm when or where they were located.

Please share your Old Hickory House memories in the comment section below.  


Anonymous said...

JR's Log House on Peachtree Industrial at Peachtree Corners Parkway acknowledges heavy influence from Old Hickory House on its web site

Billy said...

I was always a fan of the breakfast at Old Hickory House, especially the biscuits. Lots of good memories with the family and it always seemed packed for breakfast on the weekend.

Theron Sapp said...

Great piece, thanks. Fond memories of the Scott Boulevard location as a kid in the '60s. Great brunswick stew -- and one of the first places I ever saw those little jukeboxes at each booth.

Anonymous said...

I grew up near the Buford Hwy location. The hams were finished off just a few feet behind the people taking orders on an open pit. My dad always ordered the 'outside pork' sandwich. Nothing but Bark!

Anonymous said...

On Northside drive, just a tad north of GT, is/was an Oga's and I think it used to be an OHH (based on reading ATM).

Anonymous said...

Some may recall that the old Forest Park location was the bus stop scene in "Smoky in the Bandit" filmed circa 1978. The scene had Jacky Gleason and Burt Reynolds in their first face to face meeting followed by Sheriff Buford T. Justice leaving the from door with toilet tissue still attached to his pocket and where he says "thank you nice lady".

Anonymous said...

I grew up in the Northlake area and went to that location many times, usually with my dad, who liked to treat us. (Short stakes for the littles - that's what we all got).

Now I like the biscuits and gravy, and somehow I've never eaten anything on the lunch/dinner menus.

I hope the Northlake location can last at least a little longer. Very fond memories.

Anonymous said...

Been going to the Dunwoody location for @ 15 years. Always enjoyed their BBQ sandwiches. Sad to see them go. Have never liked the Northlake location. Didn't know they had such a history. Great article!!

Gator said...

There was also one in the Days Inn at Roswell Road and I-285, just inside the perimeter. Site has been demolished and still sitting empty.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. Interesting stuff. I grew up in Dunwoody and had many a meal at HH after little league, boyscouts and the like. Good memories for sure.

Anonymous said...

Always enjoyed eating at Old Hickory House. I must point out that "put sone South in your mouth" is from Old South BBQ in Smyrna

Anonymous said...

Speculation on Dunwoody Hickory House?

Grant Goggans said...

Anonymous at 2.34 pm is incorrect. "Put some south in your mouth" has been Old Hickory House's slogan for decades, and was sung in the TV jingles that everybody who lived here in the early '80s remembers.

The "lobby of the Days Inn" location in Sandy Springs was the last one to shutter prior to Dunwoody. I believe that it closed around 2002.

Anonymous said...

Was there one in Douglasville also?

Anonymous said...

Bye Hickory House Dunwoody. Will miss you.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with Grant Goggans about the comments from poster at 2:34pm. I've eaten at both and if Old South indeed says that......they " borrowed " that from OHH.

Anonymous said...

Was a resident of Dunwoody for over 10 years. OHH was a traditional meeting place, usually for breakfast at least weekly, with my best friends there. I have always looked forward to meeting there in Dunwoody when I revisit Atlana. The atmosphere nutured many good times. The passing of the Old Hickory House is sad for me, indeed.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Northside Dr at NE corner of Deering. Our family at there many times in the 60's, even had them cater several events for us.

Dont' think it was made clear, but the Piedmont Rd location, now Cowtippers, was a restaurant and the corp offices (if it's the same address). Best Brunswick stew ever.

Anonymous said...

Lived in Dunwoody for almost 20 years and ate many a great meal at OHH. The closing makes me miss Dunwoody much less. The BEST Brunswick stew ever.

Anonymous said...

Starting working at OHH on Memorial Drive across from the old Avondale mall right after turning 14 (1973 - 80 cents an hour!). Worked for JR for a few years. Never tasted better BBQ and never had as much fun working as I did there, but learned a great work ethic from those folks. Sorry to see them go by the wayside.

Anonymous said...

If there was an Oga's on Northside, it must have closed at least a decade ago, probably quite a bit longer.

Anonymous said...

It must have been decadeS ago.

Now that Cardamom Hill is gone, with the exception of maybe that condo development on 10th street, I don't think there's even ONE non-fastfood restaurant the entire length of Northside Drive between Paces Ferry in Buckhead and Castleberry Hill, by the Georgia Dome!

Indeed if you drive by the place where there was an Oga's during the JFK administration, there's no trace of any sort of dining establishment being at that location. There is a shuttered Mexican place near 17th but that always looked very sketchy.

Anonymous said...

I grew up at the Hickory House on Piedmont. we went there as a family all the time. My mother also got her pork outside cut. But as a kid, the inly thing I would eat on the menu was a chick FIL A sand which. At that time it was the only place I knew that had them. One of my most important family memories.