Veteran reporter Steve Lackmeyer recently wrote a new story in The Oklahoman newspaper about The Chicken Shack’s soon-to-come move from Luther, Oklahoma, to the closed Hillbillee’s complex in Arcadia, Oklahoma.
We initially reported about the move last month. The Chicken Shack may reopen at Hillbillee’s later this summer.
The story in The Oklahoman is subscription-only, but this embeddable video contains many details about the forthcoming move, includes an interview with former Hillbillee’s co-owner Norma Braxton and other history:
A few details from the story:
- Chicken Shack owner Eddy Gochenour is leasing the property from the Aubrey McClendon estate. McClendon, who shepherded the building of the iconic POPS in Arcadia, died in a car crash in 2016.
- The Hillbillee’s property affords Gochenour the chance to add more indoor dining, something that’s largely missing from the Luther property.
- Gochenour plans to turn the east half of the Hillbillee’s property into a children’s play area.
- Gochenour is planning to add several old neon signs to the restaurant.
- He said he’s particularly motivated by Route 66’s centennial in 2026 to make his new location a destination for the anticipated flood of travelers that year.
- Hillbillee’s once was a Phillips 66 gas station along Route 66 that dated to the 1930s. The pumps were removed by the 1980s, and it became Larry’s BBQ for a while.
Veteran Route 66 travelers likely will remember Hillbillee’s, a sprawling complex that featured a full-service restaurant and a faux Wild West strip that served as overnight guest rooms and even a wedding reception venue, starting in 1993.
Hillbillee’s closed in 2007 after co-owner Wade Braxton encountered serious health issues. McClendon purchased the property originally as a place for construction workers to eat while POPS was being built. A business or two rented space in one of the buildings, but nothing big took hold.
(Screen-capture image from The Oklahoman video of Hillbillee’s in Arcadia, Oklahoma, when it was open)