For decades, the Dixie Pig was a distinctive local culinary landmark, both on Route 1 in Fairfax County, and on Powhatan Street in Alexandria. The Griffin family launched the first one in 1924, and the Route 1 outpost closed in 1996 and became a Rite-Aid.
Addie Griffin Arthur, one of the original members of the Griffin family, died Thursday, according to this death notice in the Post. She was 73. A graduate of St. Mary’s Academy in Alexandria, she once wrote a history of the Dixie Pigs, noting that the first one opened on George Washington Parkway and Powhatan Street in 1924.
But the Dixie Pig that opened in 1946 at the intersection of Route 1 and Beacon Hill Road, run by Helen and Frank Griffin, and later by their sons Jim and Frank Jr., became the land mark for many. For others, including weatherman Willard Scott, the show “The West Wing” and the film “Remember the Titans,” the Dixie Pig at the corner of Powhatan Street and Bashford Lane in Alexandria was better known. The Griffins opened that in 1949. That was the one run by Addie Arthur and her husband Satch Arthur until it was sold in 1984 and is now Vaso’s Kitchen.
A 1977 Washington Post review noted that a tasty cheese omelette could be had for $1. In 1982, a Post roundup of the best ribs in the D.C. area included the Dixie Pig’s $5.45 rib dinner.
The full 1977 review of the Route 1 Dixie Pig is after the jump. Farewell Addie.
h/t: S. Surovell, Alexandria
The Washington Post
February 17, 1977, Thursday, Final Edition
A Weekly guide to family dining;
THE DIXIE PIG BARBECUE, 6711 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, Va., 505-5353
By Alice Digilio
Open seven days a week, 6 a.m.-12:30 a.m., Monday through Saturday, and 8 a.m.-12 p.m. midnight, on Sundays. Breakfast served until 11:30 a.m. each morning. No credit cards accepted. No reservations necessary.
If anything can salvage a Sunday morning when the children have crashed into your bed at 7:30, it’s taking the whole crew out for breakfast at the Dixie Pig on U.S. 1, south of Alexandria.
One recent Sunday morning we joined forces with another family with little early-risers and headed down for a hearty breakfast cooked in someone else’s frying pan.
Now the Dixie Pig, if you haven’t already guessed, isn’t fancy. They don’t serve lox, and probably haven’t heard of croissants. But if you count yourself in the eggs-sausage-grits set, you’ll find what you want there, and at very reasonable prices too.
When we arrived at 9 the place was already filling up, but we found a large table with no trouble. Our waitress cheerfully scooted over a high chair for the baby and located a booster seat for the 2-year-old. The two 5-year-olds in the party sat down and started asking questions about french toast.
They got what they wanted — orders of french toast for 55 cents apiece, plus sausage for 55 cents more. The 2-year-old ate his way through two scrambled eggs and grits at 65 cents and a 40-cent order of cinnamon toast, plus two glasses of pineapple juice at 30 cents each, and a 25-cent cup of hot chocolate. The baby ate off everyone else’s plate.
Except for one of us who gobbled down three fluffy pancakes and sausage at $1.15, the adults stuck to the egg dishes.
They make a very good omelet at the Dixie Pig. A cheese one costs $1. The ham omelet, which was loaded with tasty bits, is $1.20, and the western omelet is the same price. All come with a side order of buttered toast and grits or hash browns.
Nobody’s told the Dixie Pig about the coffee boycott. You get a steaming cup plus a couple of refills for only a quarter.
The breakfast menu is not terribly extensive. but there are a couple of things our party of eight didn’t get around to trying - like the creamed chip beef on toast with grits and coffee for $1.15 and the scrapple, or corned beef hash for $1.
The Dixie Pig, which celebrated its 30th birthday recently, is one of the few places along Route 1’s fast-foot strip where there are no infra-red lamps keeping food warm and where you don’t have to stand in line to get it.
“When we first built this place, it was one of the few restaurants on Route 1,” owner Benjamin Franklin Griffin told us.
“Over there was an air field,” he recalled, pointing at the sprawling, yellow-brick Beacon Mall.
The Griffin family has always owned the Dixie Pig, and has expanded it several times to its present seating capacity of 128. This week, construction will begin on another addition which will add places for 97 more diners.
“We’ve always catered to families,” Griffin said. “We do serve beer, but we haven’t put in whisky by the drink, and we’re not planning to.”
By the time we left the Dixie Pig at 10, there was hardly a seat left. We could well believe what Griffin had told us — that on a busy Sunday morning the cook has been known to prepare 90 dozen eggs.
One of the nicest things about the entire outing was that when we returned home, the Sunday paper was lying pristine and undisturbed on the kitchen table. Nobody had accidentally spilled bacon grease on the front page. There were no dishes to wash and the post-breakfast Sunday morning could begin - in a civilized manner.
The Dixie Pig also serves lunches and dinners. Their specialty is barbecue — pork and beef. But the menu also includes steak, chops, chicken, sandwiches and soups.