Only in Texas can a hay farmer with dreams of owning a dance hall realize that ambition thanks to a couple of over-enjoyed saloon patrons who created a situation that enabled him to pull a biker-friendly bar/redneck honkytonk back from the brink of extinction.
That’s the story behind Hooker’s Bar & Grill, which, along with The Motorcycle Outpost, are about all that’s left of Westminster, a popular biker LZ just off Route 121 about 12 miles north of McKinney.
And on a balmy false-spring Saturday before the February arctic lockdown, North Texas riders by the hundreds took the long way to new owner Preston Blackman’s cafe just to get on the outside of some tall frosties and meat.
“Our grand opening was the third weekend in January, and then we got slammed when the weather the next weekend turned out beautiful. We would’ve sure run out of beer if we hadn’t gone out for more,” Blackman says.
Hooker’s, formerly known as Big Slick’s Cafe, is housed on the first floor of the long defunct First State Bank, which, according to local legend, was robbed by Bonnie and Clyde. A more recent claim to fame: It was the set for the bar interiors on John David Kent’s music video, My Girl.
And that interior was jumping, noisy, semi-dark, and full of commotion on that false-spring Saturday as thirsty riders jockied three-deep at the bar and over-worked waitresses schlepped the chow from the pick-up window to the tables.
That’s the kind of action Blackman was anticipating when he bought the business after it became available thanks to an episode in which a couple of Big Slick’s patrons over-enjoyed themselves.
The venerable saloon was, like most of the town the bank building once anchored, headed for extinction over legal and insurance issues in the wake of the incident, which gave Blackman all the opening he needed to realize a long-held dream.
“I figured it’s too cool to lose, and it’s off the beaten path. I always wanted to own a bar, but I had been looking for a dance hall-type place. Now I have a place that’s part redneck honkytonk and part biker bar,” he says.
The weekend before the biker invastion, Blackman threw a grand opening that catered to the honkytonkers and, according to Mary Jane Farmer’s write-up on SceneInTown.com, the headliners blew off the doors:
One tiny room in a out-of-the way Texas saloon — the one used in John David Kent’s video “My Girl” — was filled with so much talent Saturday night that it overflowed into the breezeway. It had to — the main room was capacity crowd.
Blackman, who also is the owner of Hay for Sale Cattle Company (the Hooker’s staff t-shirts have the feed company’s logo on the back), sees his new venture as something more than a honkytonk/biker-friendly bar.
“I’m looking to partner with motorcycle blubs and other organizations to co-sponsor charity rides and poker runs to benefit charitable causes. I’d like to make special offers for participants or donations on each sale,” he says.