DINER | Highly Anticipated BBQ Joint Dixie’s To Launch Tonight On The Downtown Eastside

January 15, 2016.

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by Andrew Morrison | The long awaited Dixie’s, which we profiled last summer, is opening tonight at 337 East Hastings on the Downtown Eastside. Owned by Christina Cottell and Shoel Davidson of Gringo in Gastown, the 67 seat Central Texas-style BBQ saloon was supposed to open in the Fall, but one thing led to another and the launch was delayed to the dismay of every local BBQ lover who’d been salivating in anticipation (myself included).

If this is all new to you, here’s our original skinny on the spot:

Cottell lived in Texas when she was a kid, so she wants to do it right. That means live flame, a lot of pork, plenty of sausage, rubs and glazes (as opposed to sauces or vinegars), and a deep range of sides (serrano-spinach, collared greens, beans, slaw, potato salad, et cetera). We can also expect special catfish suppers, fried chicken dinners, and gospel brunches. Aside from the four taps (3 beers, 1 cider), the bar will be bourbon-heavy. I’m told we’ll also see BBQ pairing standards like Bloody Mary’s and spiked iced teas, plus boozy lemonades and punches.

After The Flower Cafe shuttered in this space a couple of years ago (after a lengthy run), the cinder block address became the short-lived Perch. Most recently, it housed Buick 6, which also withered within a shockingly short period.

Whether the two most recent iterations were both conceptual failures is hard to say, as the heart of the Downtown Eastside hasn’t been especially supportive of restaurants for a very long time. Regardless, there’s a lot of time between now and the opening, and if the (to date) largely successful pop-ups are any indication, it might not be as prohibitive a spot as its most recent failures might suggest. Speaking personally as a woefully under-served fan of regionally specific BBQ (Dixie’s is only a few blocks from the Scout office), I’m super stoked at the prospect.

They’re going to run with a limited, $20 Dine Out menu to kick things off. Chef Jeff MacIntosh’s first menu will see sliced brisket, a double rib bone, and 1/2 a hot link with a choice of two sides (eg. tots, slaw, potato salad, smoker beans, biscuit). They’ll also be pulling glasses of local lager and pale ale for $4.75 and making “fancy dranks” like highballs and spiked sweet tea for $6 and $7 respectively.

This is only a tease, however. They’re plan is to shut down after the festival to retool and regroup for an official opening on February 1oth. The full menu will debut then with full/half rib racks, links, shrimp po’boys, Cobb salads, et cetera. Brunch service will launch three days later on February 13th. So if you miss it during DOV, don’t fret; it’ll be back before you know it with much more to choose from.

From what I saw on my walk-through yesterday, it looks like they’ll be ready to go tonight as planned. Though the chaos depicted in the photographs below appear to tell a different story (with everyone busy as hell, including Shoel’s father, Richard), I can assure you that everything – including city/provincial permissions – is in place and that they were going full tilt in finishing mode.

Some things to look for include a working truck tailgate (salvaged from an ancient Ford), which they’re installing into a wall of corrugated metal that’s been shot up with real bullets (seriously, they took barn scraps from Surrey up the Sky To Sky and shot ’em clean through in the wilderness). Why? Because Texas. That’s why.

Also, dig the twin old school marquee signs, neon, spinning bar high chairs, woody back bar, and tiered red, white, and blue above the kitchen window — all worth a couple yeehaws for sure. Giddy-up!

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