ELERBE – The outside lights may not be on at all hours, but there is definitely somebody at Dixie Burger in Ellerbe at most any time, day or night. That’s just how the owners operate.
Donald and Sherry Nunn epitomize the ideal of American knowhow and a very positive work ethic. Having moved on from totally different areas of career focus, the Nunns embarked on a risky business venture with Dixie Burger eleven years ago.
Donald had a successful 20-year career as a claims agent with All State Insurance (after an equally exemplary period of demonstrating his talent with automobile body repair work) when an opportunity to go into business for himself materialized in July of 2006.
“Things just seemed to fall into place at the time,” Nunn said. “The previous owners were ready to give it up, and I was always stressed with my other job, so, you just have to make it work.”
And make it work he did. With the support of his wife Sherry and other family members, Donald (with tremendous help and assistance from his son Marcus) began running Dixie Burger while still working his other his job as well.
“Yeah, that was rough,” Nunn noted. “I had to rely on Marcus to do most of the day-to-day stuff, but I was in here all the time, too, from 3 a.m. to late the following night sometimes.”
Sherry was a bit hesitant to totally commit at first, but she, too, soon realized the necessity of an “all or nothing” mindset.
“I was working in dentistry, and loved it,” she said. “But the business wasn’t doing very well and it was hard to find anyone to manage it in the way that it needed, so here we are.”
She left dentistry and became de facto “director of operations” at Dixie Burger, with the full support and approval of Donald.
“I’m just too nice of a guy to be a real boss and we needed someone to take control and make things happen the way that was necessary to have a successful business, so Sherry took it from there,” he explained.
Donald is quick to take credit for the cooking, though. Having learned from his mom and out of the necessity of feeding his boys after a divorce, he says that “cooking just came naturally.”
“I even get compliments from the ladies on my collards, so that tells you something,” Nunn said with a wide grin.
So yes, here they are, eleven years later and it would seem that all of that dedication and hard work has paid off handsomely for the Nunn family business. Sherry’s daughter Brittany has things under control behind the counter, processing orders and handling the cash register, while younger daughter Makenzy ensures that all is well and good out front in the customer area.
Indeed, to the untrained eye, business seemed to be booming on this occasion (a Tuesday), but Nunn indicated that it was actually a “slow night” for Dixie Burger.
“This is not too bad right now, but as the week progresses, the business picks up a lot,” said Nunn. “We are packed on Fridays and Saturdays, especially for dinner time.”
A cursory review of the menu reveals one primary reason that business is so good at Dixie Burger. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner (any meal at any time), they offer no less than nine different types of biscuits, eight breakfast sandwiches, three choices of pancake plates, nine side orders, four choices of grits, and 13 other combinations. And that is just the breakfast menu.
For lunch or dinner, customers may choose from 73 variations of sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, full plates (chicken, seafood, or other), and salads. Oh, yes – they also have desserts and miscellaneous snacks as well.
So if you are ever in need of reminding yourself how life should be in America, and what good old hard work and dedication to a dream can do, just drop in on the Nunn family at the Dixie Burger in Ellerbe and you can experience it firsthand (and have a great meal at a good price in the process).
Dixie Burger is located in Ellerbe on South Main Street (Old 220) beside Food King. Closed on Sunday, they are open from 5 a.m. till 8 p.m. every other day (except on Mondays when they close at 4 p.m.). Takeout orders are available at 910-652-5483.