Sophie Says: Dawson’s Bar & Grill

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Gramps Says

Dawsons Bar and Grill in Dixon has been resurrected. On each table you will find a placard with an historical sketch of the establishment’s history.  This is of interest to me because my Son Quintan worked there in the late 1970’s when he was 17 years of age. It is also of interest because the place has a colorful history.

The time frame of this history dates back to the WW1 era. Three Dawson brothers established farms and businesses in the Dixon vicinity in the early 1900’s. In the early 1940’s another brother Joe Klondike Dawson and his wife Claribel moved to Dixon and leased one of his brothers buildings which is located on the northeast corner of first and main. In 1944 he moved across the street and established Dawson’s Bar and Grill at its current location. That intersection is still known today as Dawson’s Corner. Joe installed a large bar that ran the length of the room. There was a running trough of water which was the target of tobacco juice. It turned out to be a gathering place where many business deals were cut. They played poker and it was the site of a regular pinochle game held on a large round table in the back of the restaurant.  It was a guy place; the only gal patron who was welcome at that time was Claribel.

During the 1970’s I recall the deer heads mounted on the wall over the bar and several stuffed pheasants placed here and there.  During hunting season the owners sponsored a contest wherein hunters could receive cash prizes for the longest tail feathers brought in that season. Another son of mine, David, recalls that there were some controversies over the origin of some of those feathers. 

Since those days it went through several ownerships and was closed for a while. After purchasing the business in recent times, Bill and Jill Orr used on old photo to duplicate the placement of the original bar and fixtures to look as much like the old establishment as possible. That includes the deer heads. Justice is served in that the manager Nikki Davis is a gal.

Quintan says, “You can’t talk about Dawsons without mentioning Gracie. She was an older Italian woman that was the head cook. She ran the place. The farmers would give her a hard time out of love and she would bark back and keep them all in line. She loved taking care of them though. The unwritten rule was not to get on her bad side. I eventually moved up from dishwasher to short order cook and was granted the privilege of working next to her flipping eggs.”  The breakfasts served there were legendary.  Local farmers would congregate in the early mornings and the slabs of ham or thick slices of bacon with eggs and all the trimmings, and pancakes a mile high were geared for guys who were going to buck hay all day.

Sophie Says

The local farmers gather daily at the Putah Creek Café for breakfast, but I can’t vouch for the breakfast here in Winters or in Dixon. I’m not allowed to enter either establishment. 

By the way, I keep hearing about the good old days, but what’s so good about not having air conditioning when it’s 100 degrees Fahrenheit? It makes for a fitful afternoon nap. 


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