BENTON, Ark. - The parking lot is empty, and closed signs peer out the window at Dixie Cafe in west Little Rock.
Arkansans rolled over in their gravy after the restaurant chain announced Monday plans to shut down.
But, for Nick Nash, Dixie's desertion cuts deeper than a chicken fried steak.
"I like the fact that they gave me a chance," Nash says.
"A few times."
Nash is a recovering drug addict and a former Dixie cafe employee.
"Before that I was living on the streets and doing what I had to do to feed my addiction."
Nash says he was addicted to opiates.
"I was in and out of jail numerous times," Nash says.
"I've probably been in every rehab in the state of Arkansas."
While in a halfway house, it was this Dixie location on Rodney Paraham in Little Rock that opened a door for Nash.
"After a point to where I was about to give up again, to be honest," Nash says.
He started washing dishes then serving.
"They taught me to be accountable," Nash says.
"They taught me to show up on time."
A menu of job skills that led to a career change. Nash now sells cars in Benton.
After hearing the news of Dixie closing, memories came flooding back. One of those memories include a photo of Nash in the restaurant with former Razorback basketball player and current NBA player, Bpbby Portis.
"I had an awkward moment there where I could go up and ask if he would take a picture with me," Nash says.
Now those pictures help Nash remember how far he's come and where else he can go.
"Just very grateful for that place," Nash says.
"I'll be forever grateful."
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