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Dixie, a Southern Eatery in Bright White Digs, Opens Tuesday in Bucktown

By Alisa Hauser | July 18, 2016 4:42pm
 Dixie at 1952 N. Damen Ave. plans to open on Tuesday.
Dixie at 1952 N. Damen Ave. plans to open on Tuesday.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser (Exterior); Dixie/Facebook (Tomato Pie)

BUCKTOWN — Dixie, a Southern style restaurant featuring small plates and cocktails from the owner of acclaimed Lillie's Q, plans to open at 5 p.m. Tuesday, according to the eatery's workers.

Just south of the Damen and Armitage intersection at 1952 N. Damen Ave., Dixie is housed in an 1880s-era cottage that previously was home to Takashi, a Japanese restaurant that closed in 2014.

The 64-seat Dixie has been under construction for the past several months. Recently, the exterior was painted bright white. There are rocking chairs on the front porch.

An engraved sign on the door tells patrons, "In the South we enter on the side," a nod to the plantation homes in South Carolina, where guests enter through a side door.

Owner Charlie McKenna, who was raised in Greenville, S.C., told Crain's he wants those who visit Dixie "to feel like they've been transported to some of the great cities of the South, like Charleston, Savannah and Atlanta, where they can get great food and hospitality that makes you feel warm and fuzzy.”

McKenna also told Crain's that he wants to go beyond fried chicken and barbecue, the latter which McKenna has long been known for, having placed in the top tiers of several barbecue competitions.

Deviled crab, chicken thighs, sweet breads, tomato pie, made with cheddar crust, and shrimp purloo, which is similar to jambalaya, are among the menu items featured on the restaurant's website.

A 20-seat cocktail bar named "1951 1/2 Liquorette" is connected to the back of Dixie and will stay open until 2 a.m. while the restaurant closes at 10 p.m. during the week and 11 p.m. on weekends. 

The liquorette will focus on bourbon, rum and whisky-based cocktails rotating seasonally, along with craft beer and wine. Snacks will be served too.

A peek inside early Monday revealed a wall of oyster shells painted gold.

"Southern tradition in South Carolina calls for keeping your oyster shells after use. Stacking them in the back yard brings good fortune to the household," the restaurant posted on its Facebook page.

Dixie, 1952 N. Damen Ave. Dixie hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Tues- Thurs. and Sunday; 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Sunday. 1952 1/2 is open to 5 p.m to 2 a.m. Tues-Sunday. Ph: 773-688-4466. 


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