The structure is up for a new Popeyes chicken franchise at 745 Highway 259 North, and they are advertising that they are hiring here. Dairy Queen also has a permit and will soon begin construction, diagonally from Popeyes on Highway 259.

Construction continues on a pair of iconic restaurant chains on their way to Kilgore.

At Dairy Queen, they’re still working on road construction, said B.J. Owen, director of special services for the city. Site construction has been underway for a couple of months.

“As you see, the road construction and reconfiguration is well underway,” Owen said. “They’ve already been issued their permit, but I think they intend to start construction when they finish the road construction associated with it.”

Dairy Queen, to be located at 600 N. Henderson Boulevard (U.S. Highway 259), was issued their permit on Oct. 14, 2019. They have one year after being issued a permit to begin construction.

There was a DQ here in Kilgore for many years, also on 259 across from what is now the Donut Box. But a fire severely damaged the restaurant and owners elected not to refurbish or rebuild.

A Dairy Queen spokesperson said Thursday the chain is excited about returning to Kilgore and greatly anticipating the new location.

Dairy Queen, a chain that serves not only ice cream products but sandwiches and other items, was founded in Joilet, Ill. In 1940. The chain has long operated in our state under the slogan, “That’s what I like about Texas.”

There are numerous Dairy Queen locations around Kilgore, including Liberty City, Longview, Tyler and even Overton.

The new Popeyes, which is currently advertising that it’s hiring, is further along in the process. They will be located at 745 Highway 259 North, diagonally from the DQ location.

Owen was told during an inspection Wednesday that Popeyes was expecting to be finished within the new couple of weeks. They had just started putting in the ceiling Wednesday.

Popeyes was founded in the New Orleans area in 1972, first called “Chicken on the Run” by founder Alvin C. Copeland, and then changed to Popeyes, with no apostrophe – and not named after the cartoon character, although he was once used in marketing. The restaurant was actually named after Detective Popeye Doyle, played by Gene Hackman in the film “The French Connection.”

The franchise offers fried chicken in various forms, as well as shrimp and typical Louisiana fare, like red beans and rice.

There are two Popeyes restaurants in Longview, one on Gilmer Road and another on East Marshall Avenue, and there are also locations in Tyler.

Owen said the city is excited about the new restaurants coming to town.

“We’re excited about that, and we’re encouraging more, as you have probably heard rumor about,” he said. “We’re excited to work with anybody that wants to come offer a service here, open a restaurant, we’re all for helping them out.”


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