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Central Station Brick & Brew: Breathing New Life Into Old Digs

By Johnny Griffith

There’s a well known saying about not being able to teach old dogs new tricks, but it certainly didn’t mention anything about old buildings or new businesses, and there aren’t too many buildings around East Texas older than the one on the corner of Pacific and Main in Downtown Gladewater.

Originally a Texaco Station in the 1930’s, the property was a working service station for more than several decades before housing a few different ventures over the next several years. Recently, the address has found some of it’s former glory with the Central Station Brick & Brew, a restaurant and music venue that honors much of the building’s storied past while giving it a new lease on life. Local businessmen Tim Barnett and Dale Rhodes bought the property just over a year ago and spent most of their time over the next several months overseeing the renovation of the property to house the restaurant.

Now one could say the last thing East Texas needs is another restaurant as it seems as if there is a new one popping up every couple of weeks, but the residents of Gladewater might argue that this is just what the Downtown area needed as an anchor to help kick-start a revitalization of the old business district. Not just another pizza and beer place, some of the unique aspects of Central Station include a true brick oven for fresh, handmade pizzas, locally sourced meats for their burgers like the ½ pound “Station Burger,” and more than 32 Texas craft beers at the custom made bar.

In addition to the fantastic menu, when one walks into the business, you are immediately transported back to the 1930’s with renovations that bring out much of the original history of the building and keep the service station feel. Though the exterior received a much-needed modern face lift and the inside was completely re-wired, brought up to current code, and renovated with customers in mind, many of the original features can still be seen throughout the restaurant.

Some of the nostalgia includes the original restrooms, which were preserved and restored with vintage tiles; roll-up garage doors were added to the area that now serves as a music room for local and national artists alike; an original parts bin found off-site sitting in a barn and brought back to the location for display; and various car parts, road signs, and other curios adorn the location.

Not simply dwelling on the past, Central Station has some new improvements on the property that allow visitors to enjoy the entire Downtown experience. In addition to the renovations inside, there was an upper deck added over the music room, which allows a panoramic view of the historic Downtown area as well as an outdoor seating patio complete with “patio games” and a convenient view of the stage when the bay doors are rolled up.

The music room is an intimate setting that puts the musicians and audience in close proximity, but attention to detail in the acoustics and sound system allow the diners to enjoy eating while not being blown away. There is music on most Friday and Saturday nights, with many local performers taking the stage including local regulars like the Darrin Morris Band and Sean Berry as well as the occasional Nashville connection from performers like Neal McCoy or John Berry.

Central Station isn’t simply a place to grab a bite and a brew; it’s a destination for a lazy weekend afternoon, winding down after work on a weekday, or catching music and hanging out with your friends for a few hours on Friday or Saturday nights. Capitalizing on the already laid-back atmosphere of the Downtown area, Central Station encourages wasting away an afternoon on the upper deck, drinking a cold beer, iced tea, or soda, listening to music, and spending time watching the cars and the occasional train roll by.

Within walking distance of the restaurant there are several antique shops, the Gladewater Museum, the Gladewater Opry, and several other shops to occupy your time as you stroll around Downtown, ending back at Central Station about the time the evening entertainment is warming up.

Be sure to visit the bar before taking your seat and peruse the craft beer menu. Some of the taps are even run out of an old car rear end in keeping with the theme. You’ll find breweries from all over the state represented as well as several brews from right here in East Texas.

You’ll also want to be sure to give the menu some special attention, and take in all of the specialty items like “The Whole Hog,” a 12 inch wood fired pizza with house pulled pork, ham, bacon, mozzarella, and topped with a house bbq sauce made with produce from local farmers. If you’re more of a burger person, then by all means go for the “Station Burger,” a ½ lb burger made with locally sourced, grass fed meat from Iron Farms, seasoned in-house, and served on a southern bun with all the proper accessories and your choice of mayo, mustard, or sriracha sauce and topped with a fried egg, bacon, or cheese.

Finally, make sure you save room for dessert with selections like the “Chocolate Stout Cake,” made in-house with #12 Wood Creek Brewery Vanilla Porter, drizzled with a house-made porter chocolate sauce and topped with salted pecans and powdered sugar.

With a great menu, quality staff, and superb location, Central Station is sure to become your next destination point on the weekends. Take the short drive over to Gladewater and step back in time to when things ran a little slower, sit on the patio, and watch the world go by, one song at a time.

The Central Station Brick & Brew is open Thursday 3-10pm, Friday and Saturday 11am-11pm, and Sunday 9am-4pm. It is located at 103 N. Main St., Gladewater.

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Around East Texas

Festival of Fruit: 34th Annual Tomato Fest Saturday, June 9th


34th Annual Tomato Fest Saturday, June 9th

Welcome to Jacksonville – home of the best tasting fruit – tomatoes!

Local farmers are busy getting ready for the upcoming 34th Annual Tomato Fest in Jacksonville, Texas by planting acres of the best tastin’ tomatoes. Join the celebration Saturday, June 9th in downtown Jacksonville for a BIG day of activities that will be happening all day long. Over 200+ vendors and all kinds of festival food, including the famous fried green tomatoes, Farmers Market, $500 Got Talent Contest, Car Show, Motorcycle Show, Tennis Tournament, Soccer Tournament, Softball Tournament, Entertainment, Kidz Zone, and so much more will cover 5 blocks downtown. Tomato events include Salsa Contest, Tomato Eating and Peeling Contest, Tomato Archery, Tomato Shoot, Best Home Grown Tomato Contest, Tomato Packing Contest and tour the Tomato Shed. Saturday evening, Chili’s Street Dance will take place featuring Brian Chance Band and Lady Chazz and the Tramps. 

Activities kick off on Saturday, June 2nd with a 5k run sponsored by All Smiles. Monday, June 4th and Tuesday, June 5th is Family First Clinic’s corporate challenge Dodgeball Tournament. On Wednesday, June 6th, a Gospel Concert sponsored by Whataburger featuring, The Group, will perform at Central Baptist Church. New this year on Thursday, June 8th  is the Farm to Table dinner event that will take place at Castle on the Lake on beautiful Lake Jacksonville and will be catered by Rob Gowin, Sadler’s Kitchen & Catering. A 4 Man Scramble takes place at the Cherokee Ranch Golf Club on Friday, June 8th. The final Tomato Fest week celebration ends at Lake Jacksonville with a Ski Show on Sunday, June 10th.

Taste for yourself the best tomatoes and fun festival packed with lots to do for everyone.  For additional information, contact Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce at (903)586-2217, or go to or


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Easton Corbin Headlining 2018 Cattle Barons’ Gala


Southern Raised, Southern Strong:

Easton Corbin to Headline

The 2018 American Cancer Society’s Tyler Cattle Barons’ Gala will be held June 16th at Texas Rose Horse Park, 14078 TX-110, Tyler. Come out and two-step the night away at the “Southern Raised, Southern Strong” Gala that promises to be the highlight of summer!

Easton Corbin is 2018 Cattle Barons’ Gala headline. With two No. 1 singles, multiple awards, and nominations, plus performances on some of the biggest stages in the world. Mercury Nashville’s Easton Corbin has made a lasting impression on the country music landscape and is lauded for his traditional country sound, authentic lyrics, and mastery of understatement. American Songwriter says, “Easton Corbin has one of those rare, glorious voices that was just made for singing country music.” Guest performance is the Tyler Dudley Band.

There will be lots of food, drinks, silent auctions, vendors and tons of fun. Tickets for $100 will be  available for a drawing to win a 2018 Z71 Cattle Barons’ Edition Crew Cab truck. This beautiful truck was donated by Hall Buick GMC. Tickets can be purchased at the American Cancer Society office, all Texas National Bank locations, Cozad Insurance Group, Susan Robinson Fine Jewelry, Citizens National Bank, and Hall Buick GMC. The drawing will be held at this year’s Cattle Barons’ Gala. The winner does not need to be present to win.

Tickets are $200 per person for general admission and $300 for Barons admission and can be purchased at

“Signs of Hope” has been a Cattle Barons’ tradition for years. It’s an expression of support from local businesses and individuals. This is a special way to honor a loved one by sponsoring a sign that will be uniquely displayed at the entrance of the Texas Rose Horse Park/Brunson Equestrian Center upon entering the 2018 Tyler Cattle Barons’ Gala. Sponsors will have their names or company’s name individually produced on these prominent signs. Sponsors can join the mission to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer by purchasing a “Signs Of Hope 2018” by contacting Charlotte Epperson, Signs of Hope Coordinator, at (903)724-3430,

Cancer does not discriminate. For more than a 100 years, The American Cancer Society (ACS) has been] leading the fight to end cancer. With your support, the American Cancer Society has helped usher in an era where more people survive cancer than ever before. By translating research findings into action, ACS has seen a 20% decline in US cancer death rates since the early 1990’s.

For more information about the Tyler Cattle Barons’ Gala, volunteering at the event, becoming a sponsor, or donation of auction items, contact Cindy Brady at (903)597-1383 or

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Around East Texas

July 4th: Freedom Fighters 5K Race and more races!

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To add a walk, run, or biking event, please send to, It is always free to list any event.


July 4th – Freedom Fighter 5K will be held at Bergfeld Park. Registration is currently open at

September 22nd – Pineywoods Ultra – Run through deep East Texas pine forests on a scenic course underneath towering pines. This diverse, single track course, almost entirely underneath a canopy of 100-foot tall pine timber, will keep you captivated as you navigate rolling hills through rooty and pine needle conditioned trails. Enjoy a post race refreshing swim in the 64-acre spring-fed lake while you rest and recover. As home to the forest race in our eco series, you won’t want to miss this unique chance to run with deer through the deep piney wood forests of Eastern Texas. This is a 5k, 10k, 25k, 50k, and 100k. Wind through deep green pine forests on rooty single track while chasing deer and other wildlife. Enjoy the dizzying and majestic pine canopy above as you are shaded on your adventure. Register at 

September 29th – ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk features a 5K run/walk, 1 mile walk, Kids’ Superhero Dash for Dad, and virtual Snooze for Dudes program. ZERO is proud to partner with Urology Tyler, PA to end prostate cancer. Stick around for the family-friendly post-race celebration. Run/walk participants will receive tech shirts, free food and prizes, and the opportunity to connect with others who are impacted by prostate cancer. To register, go to

October 13th – 2018 Corkscrew Half will be held at Kiepersol Winery, 3933 FM 344 in Bullard. Register by e-mailing

November 10th – Salute to Service 5K will be held in Whitehouse. More details to come.

December 2nd – 2018 Tyler Half Marathon & 5K – This event will give athletes a tour unlike any other through the Rose City of Tyler, Texas. The event will start and finish from TB Butler Fountain Square in the center of downtown Tyler, Texas. More information can be found at and be sure to follow The Tyler Half Marathon & 5K on

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