Apparently I’ve been living under a rock because Mason Dixie has had a presence in DC since 2015. Their founder and CEO, Ayesha Abuelhiga, came up with the concept in 2014 and partnered with Chef Jason Gehring, formerly of Astro Donuts and Fried Chicken, shortly thereafter to bring his culinary expertise to the table. In 2009 Gehring was named Best Pastry Chef by Baltimore Magazine and his talent is evident in Mason Dixie’s award winning biscuits. Their biscuits began to build a reputation as they sold their food at pop-ups and at Union Market. And I was better off before I knew that you could find their fluffy, buttery delights at Whole Foods.
After years of building a following, Mason Dixie now has a permanent spot in northeast Washington DC. The restaurant is a pop of color in it’s new home, bright murals and lettering draw the eye. Their new location is both a sit down restaurant and a drive-thru, putting the fast in fast casual. As I was outside taking pictures multiple people stopped to ask me if they were open, I was disheartened to tell them not yet.
Some readers might be quick to lump Mason Dixie in with fast food as a result of the drive-thru, but the quality of the food is too high for that to be true. The goal of Mason Dixie was to bring traditional southern comfort food to a broader audience by lowering the price point. A chicken bucket for a family of four is $25.45 and that includes an entire chicken (broken down into wings, breast, etc) two sides and four biscuits. Individual meals are anywhere between $7-10. The pulled pork sandwich is $6.25, 1/4 white chicken box with a breast & wing, biscuit and a side is $10. Sandwiches can be upgraded to include a side and a drink for an additional $3.64. The price point is just right for everyday dining, but the interior design of the restaurant is nice enough to label a trip to Mason Dixie as a proper meal out.
Mason Dixie is going for a retro feel with this location and between the pastel bucket chairs, stainless steel accents, and retro chic lighting a laid back environment is created. The bright and oh so Instagram-able interior is welcoming and especially inviting for those with kids. High chairs, coloring books, a changing table and kids meals are all included for families.
I had the pleasure of attending a media preview ahead of Mason Dixie’s grand opening. Pre-opening tastings are my favorite perk of blogging and this was no exception, I left feeling like my stomach had just had a southern fried comfort food hug. Sandwiches, buckets of chicken, biscuits and milkshakes were given out generously to those in attendance.
The fried chicken had a thick coating and was exceptionally juicy inside. I consider myself a dark meat kinda gal but these white meat pieces were incredibly tender and even my toddler, a notorious meat refuser, was chowing down. They have a morning and an afternoon menu and we were able to try a little of each. Their breakfast sandwich was “drive out of your way to get one” good. Egg, cheese, and ham all come together in this simple, classic sandwich and I’d also recommend their bacon which was thick and crispy with hints of maple. Sides include, collard greens, macaroni & cheese, cheesy grits, coleslaw, side salad and dirty rice. Food options are all solid and the drink offerings were unique.
Beverage options included milkshakes, Puck’s Cane Sodas, Arnold palmers, lemonade, sweet tea and organic coffee from a roaster in Richmond, VA. The Arnold palmer and the lemonade were both too sweet for my taste but on par with the sweetness level of a traditional southern sweet tea.
Overall I really, really liked what I saw (and ate) at Mason Dixie. The casual vibe is perfect for a weekday lunch or a weekend dinner date with another family. And I could see myself using the drive-thru to wow an out of town guest for breakfast before a day of exploring. If you’re in the mood for chicken this should be your first stop.
The Grand Opening
Mason Dixie will be opening on Saturday, April 15th and the first 100 customers through the drive through earn breakfast sandwiches for 90 days. Activities will include a live DJ, raffles and prizes, family friendly activities and a display of classic cars. If you’d like to know more about the opening see their Facebook page, here.
Location & Hours & Website
I’d recommend driving here, there’s plenty of parking
2301 Bladensburg Rd NE
Washington, DC 20018
The Menu at Mason Dixie
SERVED WEEKDAYS UNTIL 11AM & WEEKENDS UNTIL 3PM
Cult classic breakfast sandwiches and bowls served on warm, housemade buttermilk biscuits.
+ MORNING SIDES
SERVED WEEKDAYS 11AM – CLOSE & WEEKENDS 3PM – CLOSE
Our organic, hormone-free chicken is buttermilk-brined in our secret seasoning for 24 hours, coated in our signature batter, and fried to perfection
Southern-inspired sandwiches served on warm, housemade buttermilk biscuits, made fresh daily with local dairy, artisan flour, real butter and no preservatives.
Our signature buttermilk biscuits are available for purchase freshly baked by the single biscuit, half dozen, and dozen or frozen in our ready-to-bake retail pack!
Exclusive Hand-Spun Cultshakes made with Milk Cult Ice Cream. Available in Strawberry, Vanilla or Chocolate.
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