History of a Chicken Basket

Sarah Hester

The Dairy Bar is an important part of the Lonoke community. Its liquid golden cheese dip and its most famous Chicken Basket is what most people know the Dairy Bar for. But many people don’t know how historic the Dairy Bar is to the town of Lonoke.

]The Dairy Bar was established in the 1940’s by a family named the Rodgers, who happened to live right behind the Dairy Bar at the time. In the 60’s and 70’s, the Dairy Bar was the place that all the teenagers rode to and would hang out there. Long ago, there weren’t many restaurants in Lonoke to pick from. There were several factories in town at the time, so the workers would come to the Dairy Bar during lunch and get them something to eat.

Mrs. Callie Tidwell took ownership of the Dairy Bar 1999/2000. She then called it the Tidwell Dairy Bar. Callie Tidwell owned the Dairy Bar for over 19 years. When asked about her favorite part about owning the Dairy Bar, Tidwell stated, “Favorite part was the customers and the workers. I loved them all!” While Mrs. Callie’s favorite part was the people, the customer’s favorite was the food. “Cheese dip and chicken strips are historical, ” she stated when asked about the most popular item off the menu during her time of ownership.

After over 19 years of amazing ownership and great amounts of dedication to the Tidwell Dairy Bar, Callie Tidwell decided it was time to move on and do something different. She then took on a position at the Lonoke High School. Although she retired her ownership of the Dairy Bar, Mrs. Callie kept the business in the family.

On March 15, 2017, Mrs. Callie Tidwell released her ownership of the Dairy Bar to her son-in-law, Mr. Travis Perrow. When Travis Perrow took over the Dairy Bar in 2018, he decided to change the name to ‘Jackrabbit Dairy Bar’. He has now owned the Dairy Bar for over 4 years.

The Dairy Bar has now been opened for roughly over 70 years in the town of Lonoke. Over the last 70 years, the Dairy Bar has changed names many times, been painted, changed owners, and more. But there is one thing that remains unchanged for the Dairy Bar. The Dairy Bar’s dedication and service to the Lonoke community has yet to change.

The Dairy Bar’s current most popular item off the menu is the Chicken Basket, which includes chicken strips, a roll, crinkle fries, and cheese dip. The Dairy Bar is most definitely busy year-round but sometimes is busier than others. An anonymous previous worker stated, “I would have to say the busiest time of the year would have to be football season.” They mentioned that no matter what time of year it is, the Dairy Bar chicken basket is the most popular item.

The most popular item was, has, and always will be the chicken basket, with the DELICIOUS cheese dip. Anonymous previous worker mentioned, “…other than a chicken basket, my favorite menu items are pizza sticks and crispitos. They are amazing!” According to a Dairy Bar server, some items people may forget about on the menu are tacos, different sandwiches, and banana splits.

The Dairy Bar contributes to the Lonoke community and schools in many ways. The Dairy Bar has been serving the Lonoke community for many decades now. It has purchased yearbook ads in the Lonoke Schools yearbook for many, many years. The Dairy Bar has been dedicated to its service for a very long time.

After over 70 years of business and service, the Dairy Bar has created and developed so much history. The popular and historical Dairy Bar chicken basket and the Dairy Bar’s service and dedication to serving and being a part of the community remain unchanged.

Congratulations to the Dairy Bar for over 70 years of dedication and service to the business and community! The next time you order a chicken basket from the Dairy Bar, remember the history of the chicken basket and how long it has been around.