May 9, 2023
Special to 30A Food & Wine
SEASIDE – Pickle’s, located at 2236 East County Hwy. 30A, is celebrating three decades in business at their original Seaside Central Square location.
Founded in 1993 by Bill and Heavenly Dawson of The Dawson Group, Pickle’s began with only 48 square feet and a limited menu consisting of hotdogs, beer, and pickles. The locally owned and operated eatery quickly became famous for their burgers and hand-spun milkshakes. Throughout the years, Pickle’s has become an unofficial historical landmark in the Seaside community and is one of the few establishments that has remained in the same location along Seaside Square. In 2023, 30A’s Hot Spot Awards named Pickle’s the Hottest Spot for Burgers.
After 32 years in business, the Dawsons sold their company consisting of the five notable Seaside restaurants, including Dawson’s Yogurt, It’s Heavenly Shortcakes and Ice Cream, Pickle’s, The Shrimp Shack, and Wild Bill’s Beach Dogs, to Clark and Ashley Beecher of Houston. Through a chance meeting and mutual friends, the Beechers met the Dawsons while they were living in Seaside during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. The Beechers have been longtime visitors and homeowners in the Seaside area, so they were very fond of the Dawsons’ restaurants. They knew that the Dawsons were looking for a special family to take over their company that would honor the legacy they had established.
“When the opportunity arose, we knew they needed someone special to take over,” said Ashley Beecher. “These restaurants were like Heavenly’s children that she and Bill had been raising for so many years, so it was truly a blessing that they would offer them to us and trust us to continue raising them well into the future.”
Since the acquisition, the Beechers along with their local operating partners Baron and Courtney Fields, have remained true to the roots of The Dawson Group while also incorporating innovative systems, additional menu items, modern concepts, and merchandise to each of the restaurants, including Pickle’s.
“We wanted to take Pickle’s, along with all of our other concepts, up a notch,” Beecher said.
One of the main areas they revamped was the Pickle’s menu. While keeping some of the most popular menu items like the cheeseburger, hand-cut fries, and fried pickles, the new owners wanted to streamline the menu, add value through fresh produce and high-quality meats, and make sure there was something for everyone. Through these changes, they also wanted to add new items they knew would be popular amongst their customers.
“As Texans, there were a lot of special dishes that we loved and wanted to bring to 30A,” Courtney Fields said. “We introduced Kolaches, a classic Texas breakfast item, along with breakfast tacos that have turned out to be our top seller every day.”
Due to the pandemic, the new owners also introduced online ordering to Pickle’s for the convenience of their guests. Since then, it has increased productivity within the restaurant, so they are able to serve even more guests than ever before. Now, The Dawson Group offers online ordering at most of their restaurants, along with nationwide shipping for their merchandise and homemade Dawson’s fudge.
Today, Pickle’s has 30 regular employees and up to 50 seasonal employees. The restaurant has received various construction updates throughout the years, but now occupies over 4,000 square feet with the newest addition, The Sandbar. The Beechers and Fields created the new concept, along with the owners of Seaside, to bring a beachside bar located right along the sand dunes.
The Sandbar officially opened on February 15, 2023, and guests can now order both their drinks and food from either the bar or restaurant. The Sandbar features craft cocktails, including the Savannah Street Skinny Rita, named after the Beechers’ beach home address, along with the Pineapple Express made with local Campesino Rum. The menu also includes craft beer, wine, and frozen drinks.
The Sandbar opens each day at 8 a.m. along with the restaurant and has happy hour daily from 3-5 p.m. offering discounted draft beers, half-off select wines, and $7 house margaritas.
“People from all over the world visit Seaside with their families,” Beecher said. “We are lucky to be a part of their stay and it is such a privilege to be a small part of their family memories at the beach.”