By Mary-Justine Lanyon
It’s been a long time coming but Misti and Jimmy Dixon will be opening their barbecue restaurant and country bar – Cadillac Cowboy – in Lake Arrowhead Village this weekend.
The grand opening on Saturday, July 1 will be by ticket only. Then, on Sunday, everyone will be welcome.
“Jimmy had wanted to open a bar for a long time,” Misti said, noting he had worked in hotels, focusing on food and beverage costs.
He liked the particular location where Cadillac Cowboy will be because, Misti said, “it’s the only patio where you can see the sunset. It’s beautiful at night.”
In addition to the bar inside the restaurant, there will be two bars and tables out on the large patio.
As for their menu, Misti said there will be ribs, brisket, pulled pork, chicken, smoked sausage and “all the fixings” like mac and cheese, Texas toast, Texas caviar (corn relish) and cole slaw. There will also be a vegan option.
The meat will be available by the pound and the side dishes will also be available for sale. Misti said they also plan to offer large boat packages for up to 16 people for folks to pick up and enjoy out on the lake.
At the bar, folks can enjoy several different wines, beer on tap and in bottles and some high-end whiskeys and tequilas.
Was it difficult for the Dixons to get their liquor license? “That’s the first thing we did,” Misti said, noting they entered the annual lottery and were fortunate enough to be chosen.
While they signed their lease with Lake Arrowhead Village a year and a half ago, they only got the keys to the property this past January. Then, of course, the blizzard hit, slowing down their progress.
Misti has been busy interviewing staff members. “It’s important to me to have good service,” she said. “I want the staff to be engaging. We get a lot of visitors here, people on vacation. I want them to have a good time so I want the staff to be friendly, ask them where they’re from, what they’re doing while they’re up here, if they are celebrating anything.”
At the same time, she acknowledges that the local crowd will be the backbone of the restaurant’s business.
What would a country bar be without music? As for what diners can expect to hear, Misti said that, according to Jimmy, “there are two kinds of music – country and western!” They will be playing some of their favorite artists on their sound system, will have a DJ from time to time and will also offer occasional live music. There is a dance floor so dancing is encouraged, especially line dancing.
“I tell people we’re not just opening a country bar,” Misti said. “This is our heart and soul. We love country music. If we were going somewhere, this is what we’d want.” She noted that her first concert as a teenager was Alabama and she recently sat in the second row to see Alan Jackson.
“We may convert some people,” Misti added. “My friend is now buying boots.”
And, on social media, many people are saying they’ve been here for years and no one has done this for them in the community. Recently, a woman tried to sneak into the construction zone to get a peek. When Misti told her she couldn’t go in, the woman said she had lived here for 40 years and had never been so excited about anything on the mountain before.
“We’ve been to Nashville many times,” Misti said, “and feel at home in country bars. It’s a great feeling.”
As for the name, the couple bantered back and forth and just couldn’t agree. “One day I was driving and thought of Cadillac Cowboy,” Misti said. “Jimmy loved it. We didn’t know that Chris LeDoux has a song by that name.”
After the soft opening on July 1, Cadillac Cowboy – located by Center Stage in Lake Arrowhead Village – will be open on Sunday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. On Thursdays they will have special drinks and food for locals on what they are calling Local Legends night; they will be open from 11 a.m. to midnight. And on Fridays and Saturdays, they will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Misti noted that initially they will be serving a limited menu.
Follow Cadillac Cowboy on Facebook and on Instagram (@the_cadillaccowboy).