What do you get when you take a post-World War II-era catfish restaurant and convert it into not one, but two totally unrelated businesses? No, this isn’t a riddle, it’s a slice of Lake Dallas history. You get two successful businesses, Green Eagle Roofing and Construction and Lake Dallas Family Medicine!
Proud owners Lance and Carmen White purchased the property in 2018 from the original owner’s grandchildren. Located at 503 Main Street in Lake Dallas, the building that now homes Lance’s construction business and Carmen’s family medical clinic was once a regional jewel named The Duck Inn. “We want people to know the history of this place because it’s also part of Lake Dallas’ history,” Carmen explained. “We’re very tied to this community and the people here mean so much to us, both personally and professionally.”
In 1945, Aubry Howard, a sheet metal mechanic, left his government contract job in Arkansas and returned home to Lake Dallas. He and his wife Nellie began serving dinner to locals, many of them fishermen, out of their three-bedroom frame home. It gave the Howards an income, and it also became a hub for the community. The house was built on what had once been a bait and tackle shop called The Duck Inn, the play on words being to “duck in” and buy some bait. Later, the adage became, “Duck in, and you’ll waddle out.”
“That saying was pretty true,” Lance reflected. “They were known for their all-you-can-eat catfish, not to mention the best hush puppies you’ll ever eat. I know firsthand because when I was in college, I ate at The Duck Inn!”
Throughout the decades, The Duck Inn was remodeled to accommodate the large crowds who enjoyed feasting there, including Dallas Cowboys like Ed “Too Tall” Jones and actor, John Wayne. Sadly, the restaurant closed in 2007, but an exciting new purpose for The Duck Inn was on the horizon.
Born and raised in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Lance has strong loyalties to the North Texas area, especially Denton County. A graduate of the University of North Texas, and a member of the North Texas Athletic Hall of Fame for his years playing football there, Lance has remained a staunch supporter of his alma mater. He started his company in 2009 but changed the name to Green Eagle in 2014 to reflect his loyalty to UNT.
“I’ve been in the construction business for almost 30 years, and the foundation of our success has been built on satisfied customers and customer referrals,” Lance said with pride. Green Eagle’s portfolio of services focuses on both residential and commercial clients and their construction needs. Exterior painting, roofing, remodeling, and insurance claim assistance are a few of the many services they offer, and that list keeps growing. “A primary part of the business is completing both large and small roofing projects for residential and commercial clients, but even as recently as 2020 we grew our outdoor living and patio division, due to repeat customers’ demands,” Lance added.
As Co-Owner and VP of Operations for Green Eagle, Carmen believes buying The Duck Inn as their new location was the perfect blend of honoring a unique piece of Lake Dallas history while moving forward within Lake Dallas as it is today.
Born in South Carolina, Carmen moved to Texas as a child and has been involved in health care since the age of 16, working in a cancer unit in West Texas. She enjoyed working at Parkland’s Burn Unit and it was there that she developed a passion for caring for the entire family, not just the individual. After earning her master’s degree and completing her residency, Carmen was employed in a variety of settings, some of which were large medical groups. “Many of them focused on the quantity of visits, and not the quality of care,” Carmen revealed. “I decided then, that if I ever had my own practice, I would do it differently.” Thankfully, she was about to have that opportunity! Lance was remodeling The Duck Inn for Green Eagle, and he was able to add a beautiful suite for Lake Dallas Family Medicine (LDFM), making Carmen’s dream a reality.
LDFM provides quality care in a compassionate and family-centered environment, the way it was before big business models made it “only about the numbers.” Carmen, along with fellow Nurse Practitioner, Madisen Stacks and the rest of the LDFM team, treat people of all ages – newborns to seniors. “We provide all aspects of primary care,” said Diana DelCastillo, LDFM’s office manager and Carmen’s coworker for over 18 years. “Preventative annual visits, vaccines, chronic disease management, and end-of-life care.”
In 2022, Carmen began adding programs that focus on wellness, not just illness. LDFM has developed a successful weight loss program alongside the aesthetic services they provide, to “make people feel great, not just better.” “We now offer Botox, facial fillers, non-surgical facelifts with PDO threading, and other services,” Madisen explained. “And we expect our service options to increase as our patients and clients look for a place that can treat their whole body under one roof.”
“We divided the building to accommodate both businesses,” Lance said. “Suite A is Green Eagle, and Suite C is LDFM.” The space between the two is a bit of local history. Now a joint conference room, it was once The Duck Inn bar. Hanging prominently in the room is the original Duck Inn sign that hung on the building for more than 50 years.
Theirs is a blended family. Carmen’s son Chase is VP of Construction for Green Eagle, and her youngest son Colton, a pre-med student at UNT, spends his breaks working at LDFM. Lance’s daughter Whitney lives in nearby Carrollton, and her son Colby makes Austin home. Add five grandchildren to the mix and you have a bonafide Brady Bunch!
Thanks to the Whites, the rich history of The Duck Inn will be retold again and again. For the citizens of Lake Dallas, that’s something to quack about!
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