Peg Waggoner… The Brains Behind The Place We All Knew And Loved, Peg & Reds


Peg Waggoner

The famous car seat.

Makinley Bonesteel, Editor

Peg & Reds… We all loved it, we all miss it, but do we all know how hard it was to run it?  Peg & Reds was owned by our high school secretary, Peg Waggoner, and her late husband, Red Waggoner. It was a hot spot for kids to go for lunch, have ice cream, hang out with their friends, or just as a safe place to be.

“I did it for the kids of Palestine,” says Peg. She enjoyed seeing the high school students come in for lunch everyday but somehow the seniors each year always found a special place in her heart.

Jessi Will, Peg’s daughter, said, “She loved being the “mom” to so many!”

Peg went to high school in Robinson. She got married and eventually found herself in Palestine. You may not know this but she was originally in the medical field for 23 years as a secretary insurance biller before owning Peg & Reds. Owning a restaurant was never a thought of hers, but I think we can all agree that she was pretty successful at it!

Peg said, “It just kind of worked out that when we bought it, it already had the video rentals and the newspaper sales. Red and I just decided that we would sell ice cream just to have something.” After just having ice cream, they decided they wanted more. This is where everyone’s favorite, Bosco Sticks, came into play. Eventually their menu got even bigger after they got rid of the video rentals.

Her daughter, Jessi, someone who knows her the best, said, “Peg loved her 50’s themed diner! She established it with the love of her life, Red, and was very proud of what they achieved.”

Peg treated each and every one of the people that walked into her doors with love.

August Biernbaum, a previous employee, claims, “She’s about as nice as they come, funny, and helpful.”

Jessi said, “I also loved that my mom made so many connections and built so many relationships with community members and kids from Palestine.” You could say that the shop was a gathering place to socialize.  She loved the kids. She had kids in and out of there on a daily basis. As a frequent flyer of Peg & Reds myself, my favorite part was the ice cream! Coming in close second though would be Peg. She knew everyone that walked into her store by name and knew a lot of the kids’ “usual’s.” Something I will never forget was her always knowing Charlie Burkett’s order by heart. The famous bacon sandwich and a Dr. Pepper.

It was so great while it lasted but after 11 years, Peg & Reds closed its doors.

After asking why she decided to close Peg and Reds, Peg replied, “It was too hard for me to run it by myself without Red.” Not many people truly understand how hard it is to manage and run a business, especially a small business. The amount of hours that Peg put into Peg & Reds is crazy. She never really got a day off, not even on vacation! There were lots of behind the scene things that happened to make the booming business run as smoothly as it did.

Jessi mentioned how financially and emotionally difficult it was trying to run the business. “It was hard to see my mom go through the stress of it all, especially when she was running it by herself.”

Jessi said, “It was hard to see Peg N Red’s close but it made it so much easier knowing she would continue seeing her favorite kiddos everyday at school and get to help them in a different way.  She still gets to be a bonus mom and that makes her pretty happy!” Students of Palestine High School get to see her every day even though she doesn’t still own the restaurant. Peg took the secretary position at the high school last year. She’s still doing something that she loves. She gets to see all of the kids that she usually would at the restaurant, and still gets to share that sentimental feeling with them.

A tip of advice from Peg to a future restaurant owner, “Be good to your help and they’ll stay with you for a long time.”

It’s crazy how Peg’s decision to open a restaurant made such an impact on our community. Peg & Reds was such a staple for this little town of Palestine and will forever hold memories for many. She still has all of the pictures from her Peg & Reds days. I would consider them “Oldies but Goodies.” Take a look at the photo gallery attached. You’ll see quite a few familiar faces of current and previous PHS kids enjoying the fun environment and atmosphere that Peg had made for us all.