I’m writing my first ever restaurant review, after my second visit to the place. And there are no food photos. Rookie mistake. Following my first visit, I’ve been itching to go back – and Super Bowl Sunday seemed a good excuse to pitch an idea to some friends and my loving, vegetarian husband. Here are the texts I sent:
We’re pondering a couple places. There’s this neat little BBQ joint called Dixie’s on Hastings near Main.
They have some sides you’ll be able to eat. But I know you’ll think it looks funky inside, so you want to check it out, I promise.
Dixie’s has great fried chicken.
Dixie’s is a neat spot on a shitty block.
and here’s an exchange I had with another friend:
They’re having a tailgate party!
—I’ll bring snacks!
It’s a restaurant, so I think they’ll provide the snacks.
—Tailgate parties are usually in parking lots.
It’s on Hastings near Main, so I don’t think a party in their parking lot would end well. But I guess that explains why they have the back of a pickup truck mounted to a wall.
—Hahaaaaaa perfect 🙂
It is evident that the owner invested all of himself to make Dixie’s look and feel a certain way. I truly admire the details – from the rusted corrugated metal, riddled with bullet holes, mounted as wall paper – to the antique radios playing in each of the bathrooms – to the chevron oil can lighting fixtures. My friend would like to recruit you to redo her apartment. It is a little Texan theme park located in the heart of a community that is battling addiction, poverty, and Vancouver’s rapid redevelopment. I hate how nervous I feel walking in this neighbourhood. My nerves aren’t in concern that I will be attacked by a random – it’s more about what I am likely to be witness to. It’s selfish of me to have this response and I feel a need to figure out a way to interact with the community differently. Maybe opening a restaurant in the middle of it is one way.
The reality of Vancouver’s present state is that, while there is a lot of work to be done in the area of addiction and poverty, there is also a large community of people with low to average income levels who live in the area. “Dixie’s is not cheap,” my friend pointed out, to which I replied, “can you do all of this and be cheap?” I’m sick and tired of great restaurants closing down. This neighbourhood is full of restaurants that haven’t made it. If I want to each cheap, I will eat at home – or I’ll go to Hawker’s Delight (drool).
During my first visit to Dixie’s, we did the full-meal deal and tried most of the items on their dinner menu. Ribs, brisket, sausage links, fried chicken, brisket beans, cheesy serrano chilli spinach, corn bread. I tried their sweet tea (with bourbon), their lemonade (with bourbon) and we finished up splitting a piece of their smoked pecan pie. Splitting a piece was a regret that I did not repeat on my second visit. It was not a cheap night – but it was the best BBQ I’ve had in Vancouver. (My comparatives are Memphis and the PNE)
For Super Bowl Sunday, Dixie’s was my idea – so I welcomed their initial reaction to entering Texas off of East Hastings. Their tailgate menu was…alright, I suppose. I had my heart set on fried chicken, so was disappointed that it wasn’t on the top of the page. We snacked on chips and guac and salsa (very good) and drank and waited patiently for it to be 5pm.
Two of us split a bucket of fried chicken. She didn’t say anything about it, but was concerned about breaking a piece of chicken in half (it was a 3 piece bucket) — Hey, it’s boneless – so no worries.
The slickin’ is served with a smokey chunky country gravy. I’d rank their fried chicken amongst the city’s best – crunchy, salty, juicy goodness. I wonder how it would be as a benny?
We went with my fav sides from my first visit – corn bread and cheesy serrano spinach. My husband nibbled on tater tots and mac and cheese — and dunked the occasional tot into our spinach.
Smoked pecan pie? Try it. Heck, get two slices. It’s that good.
Our first visit, when it wasn’t quite so busy, had warm and genuine customer service. Having the staff introduce themselves and ask our names put us out of our comfort zone, in a good way. I only get this kind of treatment at my fav Starbucks and I welcome it. Our second visit had great service too – but more standard great/attentive, rather than the other worldly experience of our first visit — exception being Siobhan (sorry if I butchered that spelling). You’re fabulous.
Will we be back? F’kn rights.