Poplar Street Restaurant – Local Restaurant History
Dillard “Pick” Wischmeier was employed with North Vernon Beverage when he thought owning a bar would be great fun.
“He was a very social person, loved talking to people, and his number one priority was customer service,” his sister Priscilla said.
So in 1980, Pick purchased Poplar Street Restaurant and operated it until 1993. In those days, Poplar Street was open from 7 a.m. until last call at 3 a.m.
In 2016, Pick took it back over and operated it until his recent passing. Priscilla, who helped with the restaurant, now owns and operates it.
“He loved and was very proud of Poplar Street,” she said.
In the early days, quarts of beer were popular and it was a social hangout for all walks of life. Many weekends, it was standing room only. When he sold the business in 1993, he spent time dabbling in antiques and attending auctions.
When Pick took the restaurant back over in 2016, he wanted it to be friendly for families, large parties and fun place to be, so he spent a month cleaning and making the changes he wanted, and those that customers would appreciate.
In 2018, he purchased a home north of the restaurant and tore it down to construct a new and impressive dining patio.
The restaurant employs five cooks, 12 servers and three helper who do about anything that needs to be done.
“Dillard loved Poplar Street, but loved even more the patrons he could visit with,” Priscilla said.
While the menu covers almost anything you can imagine, Priscilla said they are known for their burgers, tenderloins and steaks, all of which come fresh from Darlage Custom Meats.
They also are known for their pepper jack cheese balls.
Priscilla said that she and the staff operate on the philosophy that Pick focused on throughout his whole career.
“Making sure the customers are satisfied,” she said.
The Jackson County Visitor Center is writing small feature stories about local restaurants during this time so that customers will know who they are supporting when they order food or purchase a gift card from them in this trying time.