Boulevard Lounge and the “Bully Burger” — you can’t have one without the other.
“It’s the way we put it together and the fresh meat. We go through 200 pounds of meat every other day,” said owner Scott Dexter, who has owned “The Bully” since 1995 when he bought it from his father, Clyde Dexter.
The Boulevard, more commonly known as “The Bully,” racked up six Readers’ Choice awards this year: first place for best burger and restaurant for friendly service; second place for brew pub and breakfast spot; and third place for sports bar and restaurant for mixed drinks.
“It’s everybody’s bar and restaurant. We’re family friendly. It’s like a little piece of history here in Midland,” Dexter said. “I think it’s a happy meeting place for everybody and we’ve tried to keep the prices down.”
“The Bully” history coincides with Clyde, who holds a special place in Midland history as an outstanding southpaw hurler for the Dow ACswhen they were a major player in fastpitch softball across the nation during the 1940s and 1950s. He is also a member of the inaugural class of the Midland County Sports Hall of Fame.
Clyde Dexter partnered with Fred Ginsiver to run the Boulevardon Aug. 19, 1959. Five years later, Dexter bought out his partner and moved next door to a new building and its present location at 316 S. Saginaw Road. At that time, South Saginaw Road was an actual boulevard, with the road down the middle, islands on each side and parking outside the islands right in front of each business.
Just as Clyde saw plenty of softball players in after games, softball players continue to be a staple of the sports bar. “We still get the softball teams after games, along with tennis and baseball players before and after their games or matches,” Dexter said. “It is pretty much centrally located for everybody.
Statewide, the Boulevardmade its mark when the Detroit News picked the establishment, in 1983, as one of the best bars in Michigan.
The history for Scott doesn’t go back quite as far, but it does reach into the 1950s. “I came down as a kid, swept out and then went to school,” he said.
Clyde developed health issues and turned to Scott to take over “The Bully.” Scott, who had driven a truck for Coca-Cola for 23 years, was the impetus behind expanding the food offerings. So, in 1995, an addition was built in the front for bathrooms and also in back for a kitchen.