GILMER, Texas (KLTV) - Officially, it’s been a half a century, but Doc’s Hot Links in Gilmer has been around even longer than that. We visit there one day before their big 50TH celebration on June 12.
There is a right way to eat Doc’s Hot Links, and that is any way you like to. Just ask anyone, like Doc’s Manager Mesha Capps.
“Everybody has their specific way that they want to eat them,” Capps confirmed.
And they were once served on a sheet of wax paper.
“We used to do it here, but they upgraded to paper plates,” Capps laughed.
Which I think made customers happy. The links are ground and packed fresh every morning right there at Doc’s.
“Our motto is it’s a family tradition, and it truly is,” Capps said.
The links are all beef and spices used are kept secret.
“There is an art to it from start to finish; when we start making them to cooking them, they’ll bring them out and even when customers put them on the plate,” Capps explained.
“Why do you think the links are so important to East Texans?” I asked her.
“There’s a lot of heart in it. There’s a lot of history. There’s generation after generation have been coming here,” Capps replied.
It’s not unusual to see three generations eating at the long table that goes around Doc’s. Deborah Kilgore didn’t stop in for herself.
“I have been asked by a friend to pick up two dozen of the hot links. She’s coming up from College Station and taking them back down to her husband who has a craving for the hot links,” Kilgore said.
And there’s a different link on the block.
“We have a new hot link, started about a year ago: Jalapeno and pepper jack cheese links,” Capps stated.
“So finally a real hot, hot link,” I said.
“It is hot, yes,” Capps agreed.
And very popular. It tends to go first. But all the links, well:
“It’s true soul food,” Capps smiled.
And customers think:
"It’ll be here another fifty years,” said Chris Garren.
And if you go to the 50th anniversary, get there early. You don’t want to face the dreaded sold out sign.
Doc’s in Gilmer will be selling links for 50 cents apiece from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday June 12, and will have a ribbon cutting at 11 am. There will also be free drawings held all day.