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Inside Bulloch Business with DeWayne Grice - Dingus to mark 35-year anniversary Saturday

Inside Bulloch Business with DeWayne Grice - Dingus to mark 35-year anniversary Saturday

Inside Bulloch Business with DeWayne Grice - Dingus to mark 35-year anniversary Saturday

DeWayne Grice


        When you walk in the door of Dingus Magee's at lunch, chances are you will be met by owner, Stephanie Owens with her 100-watt smile, boundless energy and her trademark question, "You doing alright today?"
        There is just an indescribable comfort you feel immediately. It is like going home after you have been away for a while. Longtime friend and patron Sims Lanier described it best "when you walk in the door you're a friend, by the time you leave, you're family."
        When Larry Owens, Billy Anderson and Robert Lamb came together to open Dingus they never dreamed it would become as patron Pratt Hill described, "another icon of Bulloch County." They began with a $250 investment each and a $10,000 line of credit from Sea Island Bank, $8,000 of which they spent before they opened. Twelve businesses in the previous 10 years had opened and failed in that location. A contractor working on renovations for the opening told Owens that he would "rather have the liquor concessions at First Baptist Church, than open a business here."
        On Saturday, they will celebrate 35 years in business making them the oldest locally owned restaurants/bar in Statesboro.
        In business school at GSU you are taught the two keys to success - be first or be different. Dingus has done both. They were the first restaurant in town to serve alcohol, they were innovators of chicken fingers and the first to bring ranch dressing to the market.
        Dingus is different by its daily transformation. At lunch, the blue plate special, including homemade items by Stephanie, is a favorite for the business community and GSU students alike. At night it takes on a totally different feel as one of the most popular college hangouts in town. Businessman and former restaurateur Allen Tyson confirmed the night time success saying his son "spent more money at Dingus Magee's than he did at GSU."
        The walls are covered with portraits of their staffs through the years. It is not uncommon to see a former employee pointing herself out to their child who is attending GSU. Many of the employees are second generation staffers.
        You also see autographed pictures from the likes of Luke Bryan, Cole Swindell and Lewis Grizzard, all of which used Dingus as a launching pad for their careers. Grizzard counted "drinking a beer at Dingus" as one of his pinnacle life moments. Grizzard also accepted a bet from Ric Mandes that he could not write an entire column on a pot hole in the parking lot. He did, as masterfully as only Grizzard could do.
        When asked the about the secret to the success of Dingus, Owens said, "Lots of loyal and faithful customers, most of whom just happen to be a little better looking than the girls and guys who frequent the other college hangouts."
        In addition, he went on to say, great business partners and a friendly, personable staff has helped them continue to be successful. Anderson and Lamb sold their interest early on; Lamb to Owens, Anderson to Will Howell. Howell sold to Jim Chambers, who recently sold his interest to Nathan Queen.
         They grew the Dingus brand into a small chain at one point operating restaurants in Athens, Vidalia, Americus, Baxley and Richmond Hill. The Statesboro location is the only one remaining.
        Stop by on Saturday, and help Larry, Stephanie, Nathan and the gang celebrate 35 years of remarkable service to our community. They will have rolled back pricing and special events throughout the day to celebrate.
Dingus is located at 3 Georgia Avenue adjacent to the GSU campus. Join me on Facebook to continue the conversation and share your favorite Dingus story.

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