Sweet home, Chicago, indeed.
Dylan Brown, the owner of the new Doeboy’s Taste of Chicago restaurant on U.S. Highway 259 in Kilgore, is all about bringing Chicago food here to his new home in East Texas, specifically here to Kilgore.
And when we say he’s bringing it to Kilgore, we really mean he’s literally bringing it to Kilgore.
Brown is literally, along with family members, purchasing the ingredients from his Windy City recipes in their own area, Chicago, and bringing them here. Just this week, right before the interview for this story was conducted, family members made the most recent delivery.
“When we say ‘Chicago,’” Brown said, with a laugh, “we mean Chicago.”
Some items include special sausages, a Chicago-style hot dog with tomatoes and tricked-out toppings, the Maxwell Street Polish sausage, gyros, genuine Italian beef sandwiches, and this little item: chicken rings – think of an onion ring, only made out of good, quality chicken, crispy and with a healthy portion of Chicago sauce.
Brown, a Chicago native who relocated to East Texas some years ago, is the owner, chef, host and general creative genius behind Doeboy’s Taste of Chicago, located at 2701 S. Henderson Boulevard, not far up the hill on 259 from Highland Park Baptist Church.
Joined for the interview for ETC Magazine by his daughter, Diamond, and her eight-month old, Reign Brown, Dylan explained how the restaurant came to fruition. His wife, Nicole, suggested he take what he loves – Chicago and food – and combine the two for the business venture.
He originally opened up at a service station in Tyler, and brought his food to fairs, festivals and several small-down downtown events. But Brown quickly realized he’d outgrown his space. So he came to Kilgore, finding the location the restaurant is now.
“It’s perfect,” he said.
Brown’s family, including his mom, Marshel, play a big role in his restaurant, and the Doeboy reference in the title is special to him.
“That was my little brother’s nickname,” Brown explained. “He was killed back in 1996.”
Brown wanted to honor his brother by including ‘Doeboy’ in the name of the restaurant, and did so.
The food made the restaurant home in the kitchen – the next move was to make it feel like home with the décor.
Sports fans will definitely feel it, as they walk in and see items from all Chicago sports teams there: Michael Jordan’s jersey hangs on one wall, with Chicago Bulls memorabilia, and there’s banners from the ceiling honoring the city’s most famous teams: the Bulls, the Bears, the Blackhawks, the White Sox and, of course, the Chicago Cubs.
There’s figurines representing each, as well, and even a photo of “Da Coach,” Mike Ditka, who guided the Chicago Bears – the “Super Bowl Shuffle” Bears – to the Super Bowl XX championship in January, 1986.
One thing that no one banked on was a global pandemic, COVID-19, or coronavirus, slowing things down. And Brown says he did the best he could to weather the storm.
“It was tough,” he said, noting the unpredictability of when he could open, when he could have diners and not just carry-out, and all the dynamics of how business has had to operate in a society where surgical masks are now the norm. “We all just had to get through it. I’m thinking, hoping, the worst of it is behind us, and we’re ready for business.”
The items mentioned earlier are just a small handful of what Doeboy’s offers, which is something different than anyone else in Kilgore is offering. Other items include a footlong all-beef corn dog, a pizza puff (think a much more spectacular big pizza pocket), burgers, tacos, and more.
If you’ve ever been to Chicago and grabbed a bite, chances are you had some Vitner’s brand chips and snacks. Yep, Dylan has those, too, and desserts to end every meal.
Doeboy’s Taste of Chicago is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m., dine-in or take-out, and lunch combos available from 11 until 1. You can’t miss their logo: it’s the Chicago skyline on top of a hot dog, or a sausage, in red and blue.
Also, check out their menu and specials on Facebook.