About Us – A Brief History
Dixie Grill & Bar
is one of the most unique restaurants around. Another distinctive creation by Richard Preefer and Jay Preefer, who have previously brought A Bit of Nostalgia, The Bowery, Rod & Gun, The Hut
and The Palm Beach Ale House
to Palm Beach County. Each place has held antiques and collectibles that the brothers have personally collected throughout the years. Antiques have always been a part of each restaurant, as the brothers have been collectors since the days they were in law school. The hobby supplemented their income to get through school and has become something they continue to do because they just enjoy it.
Just one of the antique highlights from the restaurant that started it all, A Bit of Nostalgia
, was The Carousel—an antique, working carousel with its own dining room to sit and savor your dinner while slowing rotating around to view the whole room every 18 minutes. Pieces like this give each restaurant their own particular style and significance.
Dixie Grill & Bar
is no exception to the restaurants that have come before it. The interior of the restaurant is filled with pieces of the past that have taken over fifty years to find, usually reminding many patrons of their childhood in the south Florida area. Both Richard and Jay would be able to tell you a short history of each item on the wall, from the pedal cars to the old Florida paintings, to the humorous wooden signs that fill any gaps that dare show a piece of the bare wall.
Now Richard’s daughter Rachel has become a part of the family business, along with her husband. Rachel and Jason, can usuallly be found at the restaurant, since they are working owners who like to meet their patrons and provide personal customer care to ensure each individual has a pleasant time while visiting.
Comments and questions are always welcomed and many of the staff members have learned a lot by listening to the stories of the vintage pieces. Each employee has multiple favorite pieces for individual reasons and most have become very good at spotting the ever-changing additions the owners bring in. It’s almost a guarantee that between one visit to the next, you could spot a new antique decoration on the ceiling or the walls…that is, if you have been paying attention!
Dixie Grill & Bar
is built to be a neighborhood restaurant attracting locals from all around south Florida. It has something for everyone, with seating both inside and out. With many thanks the owners and the staff say to those patrons who have been visiting for the past few years, we are glad you appreciate our style, and next time, don’t forget to bring your friends!
A Bit of Nostalgia
Lantana FL – 1974-1984
The restaurant that started it all for Richard Preefer and his brother Jay was a showcase for antiques that left each customer to find their own nostalgic memories. Many functioning antiques were not immediately noticed by customers, such as the 1876 bar in the Carousel room which stood as five individual pieces assembled to reach 23 feet in length across the side of the room or the Carousel itself that allowed customers to rotate around the room while they ate. On the weekends there was even a shoeshine man in the hallway leading to the restrooms where one could sit in the same chairs the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers used when they visited the Biltmore Hotel in Palm Beach during its heyday. A truly one-of-a-kind place that left most patrons enjoying the memories brought to mind by the antique pieces on the walls and the good times had at the restaurant.
West Palm Beach FL – 1982-19XX
Dubbed the “million-dollar club,” The Bowery was the second restaurant creation by the Preefer brothers. Keeping with their interests in antiques, the décor of The Bowery included bevel-cut mirrors set in mahogany bar-backs and even marble-top booths from old drug stores. Located on Okeechobee Boulevard in what was considered a popular bar area during the time, the restaurant and lounge contained five bars (all but one was antique) and nightly entertainment, including many national acts. The Bowery was written up as one of the best new places when it opened in 1982, and was described as “a big rock place which is bringing in new talent regularly.” The professional stage with top lighting and sound systems were separate from the dining room, and the music would begin an hour after the restaurant was closed. National acts including Spiro Gyra, Fog Hat, The Rail, The Producers, Guess Who, Pat Travers, Eddie Money, Golden Earring, Firefall, Steppenwolf, The Outlaws
and even the Chippendale
dancers performed there. Between the live acts, a DJ would spin records and control the lighting for a continued club atmosphere. Any place inside the lounge had a good view for major events due to the 10-foot screen on the side of the room, which also would show events on broadcast TV. The lounge was open until 5 am, which made it one of the few late-night (early morning) clubs in the area.
Rod N Gun
Delray Beach FL – 1988-1998
in February 1985 proclaimed this restaurant another winner by the Preefer twins. Serving steaks, seafood, veal and wild game this restaurant was considered the best “game” in town. The restaurant had its own interesting history without referring to the classic antique bars or tables. The wood building was once the site where James Elwood had a sporting goods shop favored by anglers, hunters and campers making their way to Loxahatchee, Florida. The shop closed its doors during the 1970s, but was reopened as the restaurant, which kept the time-honored name. With the interesting food and the lodge feel, Rod N Gun had a different atmosphere than most of the Preefers’ restaurants, but proved to be just as popular in its time.
Palm Beach Ale House
West Palm Beach FL – 1992-present
Different than the antique-filled places that had come before it, The Palm Beach Ale House is a true sports bar. Boasting 110+ televisions and sports memorabilia on the walls, it is the go-to place to catch any sporting event. When the new smoking laws came into effect, owners quickly thought of adding two outside bars that allowed patrons to eat and drink while in a comfortable new area. The place is an estimated 8,000 square feet with pool tables, games and even some trivia or poker being played during the week. While Richard and Jay have always appreciated being involved with each place, they knew by now that they wanted a restaurant on a smaller scale that could run like the one that started it all, A Bit of Nostalgia.
West Palm Beach FL – 1997-1998
A throwback to the original 1931 drive-in restaurant on Flagler Drive that served three generation of locals was a perfect fit for the Preefer brothers (Palm Beach High School class of 1964) who had visited the original when they were in high school. With several hundred alumni locally from Palm Beach High alone, the restaurant brought back fond memories of being a teenager in a convertible with the top down eating curb-service burgers. While the newer Hut had no curb service, it had all the vintage appeal of the original, including original Hut stools and booths from the 1940s. This was not just filled with the antiques and nostalgia that the brothers remembered from high school, but many locals provided pictures and memorabilia from their own days at high schools such as Lake Worth, Riviera Beach, and Palm Beach High. Even Burt Reynolds contributed his Palm Beach High letterman’s sweater, which was framed on the wall. Unfortunately, the new Hut did not last as long as the owners had hoped, when Richard Preefer suffered some health problems he knew he needed to slow down for a while but was not near ready to retire from the business.
Dixie Grill & Bar
West Palm Beach FL – 2004-present
The most recent creation by the Preefer twins, opened in 2004 after taking over 5101 Dixie Highway. A small place like many of the other bars and restaurants found along South Dixie Highway, but with the Antique Row twist. New pieces are brought in frequently because the owners are true collectors, always with another antique piece striking their interest. Lunch and dinner specials are always changing to keep the menu fresh, with creation ideas heard from staff members and customers alike. Some patrons have told Dixie Grill staff that the restaurant reminds them of an old place that used to be located in Lantana. Usually when our staff names the place being remembered, the patron is happily surprised to learn that there is a connection to bring back such fond memories. It is a place that the brothers truly enjoy being a part of and hope everyone else will like it too.