Dixie Supply Bakery & Café
62 State St. Downtown
Entrée Prices: Inexpensive ($5-$9)
Serving: Breakfast & Lunch
Dixie Supply is my kind of place.
It's in a small storefront next to the Li'l Cricket on State Street, a block off the Market, and it doesn't have an ounce of pretension. Dixie does a lot of take-out business, and the tight dining area has linoleum floors and just six small tables. The food is served on plastic plates with plastic utensils and Styrofoam cups. For some reason, there's a sink with a paper towel dispenser right there in the dining room.
But, with food like Dixie's, you don't need fancy décor.
Everything is made fresh, and they take those extra two or three steps to take what might be just solid down-home cooking and make it exceptional.
Take the grits, for instance. They are the real stone-ground kind, and they are cooked with so much butter and cream that you could eat them alone (8 oz. for $2.25) and have a rich, satisfying breakfast. Or, as part of the Dixie Breakfast Special ($5), they come alongside two eggs, bacon, sausage, or ham, and toast or biscuit. I would recommend going with the biscuit, which is fluffy and chewy and one of the best to be found in Charleston.
The vanilla French toast ($5) is made from sliced croissants that are battered, cooked till crispy and golden brown, and sprinkled with plenty of powdered sugar. The plate-sized pancakes ($5 for two) are equally fluffy and rich, and are served chock-full of your choice of blueberries, chocolate chips, or pecans.
If you're looking for just a quick take-out bite, you can get a dense, chewy croissant or a bagel ($2), both of which are baked right there in the small kitchen behind the front counter. The blueberry muffins ($3) are thick and sweet and topped with a sugar glaze that's downright addictive.
For lunch, Dixie offers an array of salads, sandwiches, and wraps. The Dixie Patty Melt ($7) is served on marbled rye with grilled onions, lots of gooey Swiss cheese, and a zippy horseradish sauce. It's served with Dixie's housemade pickles (you gotta try some of these), and the homemade potato chips are sliced into long, thin ovals that fluff up when fried so they're crispy around the edges and still chewy in the middle.
There's a regular selection of larger entrées, including fried chicken ($8), shrimp and grits ($9), and a tasty tomato pie ($6) that has fresh tomatoes layered with basil, onion, and cheese. The daily blue plate special offers up selections like a crispy fried pork cutlet or a shrimp BLT.
For dessert, check out the small glass display filled with baked treats like Charleston chews, bar cookies, brownies, and muffins, and there's always a towering chocolate cake or carrot cake, too.
Dixie Supply has been open about 18 months now, and it has kept a pretty low profile so far. But, I suspect that word is starting to get around, and it's gradually gaining a lot of local fans. The general quality of the fresh-made food, plus the little extra touches — like the horseradish sauce on the patty melt, the two or three homemade pickles served alongside the sandwiches, and the fact that the French toast is made from a croissant — make Dixie something special. The next time you're downtown and looking for a quick bite for breakfast, or maybe just a little mid-morning sweet bite, drop in and give it a try.