Hello I’m Russel Button with The Button Law Firm and we got Sidney Berglund here. We are at Wild About Harry’s down in Deep Ellum, and this is for our Monthly Profile. It was in the April’s issue of Hot Button Issues so we have already featured them but we wanted to get the videotape. This month it was a restaurant that is near and dear to our hearts as we are here definitely more than once a week. We come over here for frozen custard, for the burgers for the hotdogs. We are going to get to know more about how Wild About Harry’s got started. It’s a family ran business. We’ve been chatting for the last 15-20 minutes and we are going to go through how you get where you’re at today.
Harry was in the apparel business for 30 years when I was a kid, he is my father. When that cratered one day, his pension and everything was gone. And he decided “you know what, this is my mother's ice cream recipe. And I am going to do something with it.” It’s frozen custard, premium ice cream. Since he was always in Chicago and New York, he always had a hot dog, so he said I’m going to bring hot dogs as my fun food. And that’s how it started. It’s supposed to be custard and then the hot dogs as a snack. So he found a little space on Knox Street in Highland Park.
So it started in Dallas?
22 years ago, yes.
How old was your dad when he started this?
So for all of you out there, that think you need to retire… You don’t need to retire, have fun, start a business, follow your heart.
I will say he was much more successful after he retired.
There's people out there like that.
It was his second career
That’s awesome and I’m sure he had just as much energy.
I would say he had more because he loved to be around people. He’s all about people.
So when did you get involved?
I was having kids, I have three children. I started doing his book and paperwork, just anything I can do to help. He said [about raising kids] “this is your priority. You’re a mom.” and it just kinda grew after that. I love people too so I was there everyday.
So this is all you’ve ever knew ?
Well, I Wouldn't say that. But for the last 22 years, yes.
Do you have brothers and sisters?
I do. They don’t live here. My brother does but he’s further out. My mom is still alive and owns the business. It’s a family business but I help her with it.
Does she ever make it out to the stores?
Yeah, a little. Here and there.
So when did you get from doing just hot dogs to doing burgers, your french fries are amazing, your grilled cheese are off the charts. Did y’all start to gravitate to that?
I would say the neighborhood in Knox changed. When we started, nothing was there. Just a couple buildings. Highland Park Cafeteria was down the road, and a few other restaurants. Then came Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn and all of these things that had employees who wanted lunch. Not everyone wanted just a hot dog, and that’s how we grew. Harry tries to please everyone.
There’s nothing wrong with that.
Oh no, there isn't.
When did Deep Ellum start?
I believe it will be 4 years on Labor Day.
Kind of when this area started.
Has it been a good location?
Yes it’s nice. It’s comfortable and we have parking!
So tell us a little for small business owners, how did you come up with this awesome team that makes you feel appreciated and welcome everytime you come in.
I honestly think they did it for my dad. What he gave to them they are giving back. We are here for our customers. We want to make our customers our family and our friends. We want to be part of a safe place for people to come.
This is why we chose y’all for the community spotlight. We are all about the community and community-based marketing. Really just making sure that we are meeting everybody's needs that love us and knows us. We have a lot of the same values. So when you are looking to hire what do you look for?
I would say no fear in approaching people. That’s a big key. I think if we put a good spin on things and have a good attitude, I’m hoping that grows within our employees. I hope they say “oh she can do it like that, I can do it like that.” I mean we all lead by example. I just want them to be comfortable. Also, someone that steps up and can take charge is a big responsibility.
So a natural leader?
That’s great. How much do you enjoy coming in here?
I’m here everyday.
I would say that’s part of Harry’s thing, people don’t want to hear your moans and groans. You have one life, why would you want to live it down? Just pull yourself up. If you’re down all the time you’re going to feel it. You need to pull forward and be a ray of sunshine. You never know whose life you’re going to impact. You need to be a positive role model to get that back.
What are your passions?
I got three kids, all grown. My youngest is in high school, we’re almost done with that. Work is my passion right now I love what we have. I want to keep my dad’s legacy going. I love art, I love tennis. I hike, but I don’t get much of that right now but someday I will. Right now I’m just trying to keep it all rolling and there’s always something in the business world. God gives you only what you can handle. And I am a total testament to that because of my dad’s death, with the business and all the things we have gone through. I know I need to have faith, It's a walk of faith every day. You have to believe. It’s not about you, there’s a bigger picture.
If your dad was here, what do you think he would say?
I think he would be happy. I think he is happy every day. You know, I think as long as someone walks out of here smiling with an ice cream in their hand, he is still smiling down on me.
What’s his fav ice cream,?
You know vanilla is always awesome. I think it’s the vanilla. My grandma always made vanilla. Everyone had a birthday with ice cream.
What’s his fav hot dog?
Is he from Chicago?
No, no. We are from Oklahoma.
Really? I went to Oklahoma for Law School.
Oh no kidding. Are you a sooner or a cowboy?
I went to Oklahoma City University
[Harry] was a sooner, my mom is a cowboy.
So they wereoklahoma through and through?
I was born there and raised here.
Well we are glad to have you.
Dallas is definitely home.
So now you got other locations?
We are in the Knox Henderson area, and our custard is sold at Central Markets. Knox Henderson might be changing pretty soon and we are still looking for a Highland Park area.
Do you plan on going out anymore?
I would love to grow. I think it can be something that can be in every neighborhood. I do.
The old school dinner.
Yes, it’s disappearing. What are we going to do if everything is brand new sleek and shiny? You know? People come here to either have a piece of their childhood or relax a little bit. They bring their grandkids, kids, friends, whoever.
It reminds me a little of the diner in the Grease movie.
A little bit, maybe. Sure. Harry would love that. He had a ‘57 Chevy that he just loved. He was definitely a child of the 50’s. He would love that you think that.
If you are ever in the Deep Ellum area or Knox Henderson or just visiting DFW, not only do you need to be here to have the frozen custard, hot dogs and burgers but you definitely need to meet the team. They are a pleasure to be around.
They are the best.
It was a pleasure featuring y’all.
Thanks for featuring us!