Popular Gulfport Hangout Celebrates Birthday - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Popular Gulfport Hangout Celebrates Birthday

Back in 1962, the Rebel Dip was a place where you could find classic cars, good conversation, and good food.

Well, 44 years later, nothing has changed.

"There's not many people, unless they've come in the last few years, don't know where the Rebel Dip is at," says Rebel Dip owner Joe Rouse.

For more than four decades now, the Rebel Dip has been located on Highway 49 near Oneal Road.

Its name came about after owner Joe Rouse, who was a school teacher and coach, found out he could not use the name he preferred- Kool Dip.

"I was teaching 9th grade math and I gave a test, and Harrison Central High School is right up the road, and I was the first one on Highway 49, and when I give this test, the last question on the test was "what do you want the Kool Dip to be called? And they all wrote in Rebel Dip because of the Harrison Central Red Rebels," says Rouse.

And from there, a tradition was born - the only restaurant on Highway 49 where people could hang out and enjoy themselves, as they still do today.

We found members of the Antique Car Club who brought out their cars to help celebrate and bring the years of yesteryear back to life, if only for a few hours.

Clifford Batton has been coming here now for 44 years.

"They make stuff from scratch as I said. They go ahead and mix up the stuff in there. It seems like it taste better to me," says Batton.

And that type of homecooking is something Rouse says will never change no matter how many fast food restaurants go up around the area.

And when asked if he plans to run the Rebel Dip for 44 more years-

"I'm gonna work away, not rust away," says Rouse.  

When Rouse started the business back in 1962, he said he had no experience in the restaurant business.

But he said he wanted to do something different because he was teaching seven classes, coaching two sports, and only making 35-hundred dollars a year.

By Karla Redditte

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