HOUSTON – The roof of the historic The Dixie Chicken bar in College Station collapsed Wednesday night after heavy rain and hail passed through the area, causing the iconic bar and grill to close its doors indefinitely.
KBTX reports that fire crews responded to the long-time Aggie hangout just before 9 p.m. Fire officials confirmed to KBTX that the roof had caved in and videos on social media showed the roof hanging over some pool tables in the bar.
According to Adam Drake, marketing director for Dixie Chicken Incorporated, the College Station staple has been around since 1974 and has weathered plenty of storms in the past.
“It was just one of those perfect storm events with the right amount of rain and the right amount of wind and the right amount of hail all at the same time which kind of led to this unfortunate event,” he said.
Drake said the extent of the damage has not yet been estimated. He said about 80 people were inside the Dixie Chicken when the roof gave in. Fortunately, no one was injured, including the business’ resident mascot, a rattlesnake named ‘Sneaky Snake’.
“Her cage was not damaged,” Drake said. “She did not get loose last night and is currently living it up at somebody else’s house right now.”
The bar reopened for customers on May 1 after the coronavirus pandemic forced closures across the state. Officials at the scene told KBTX that people were inside the bar when the roof collapsed but no one was injured.
Texas A&M University tweeted that they were “thinking of our neighbors at @thedixiechicken tonight."
The Dixie Chicken has been an Aggie fixture for more than 45 years and has a page on its website dedicated to stories from loyal customers through the years. The bar is the inspiration for the unofficial Texas A&M tradition of the Aggie Dunk, where grads give their class rings a beer bath for good luck.
Notable fans of the bar have been former President George W. Bush and late U.S. Senator John McCain.
All day Thursday, onlookers stopped by to see the damage and watch as crews worked to demolish the impacted area.
Lucas Gutz, a recent Texas A&M graduate stopped by after hearing about the incident on social media.
“It’s been around forever, it’s pretty historical,” Gutz said. “When I first came to A&M this is the first place, I went in. Just got some food, it’s pretty cool. I know they’ll repair it, but it still kind of stinks.”
According to a GoFundMe page shared on Dixie Chicken’s Facebook account, more than $29,000 has been raised to help with the rebuild.