Mason Dixie Biscuit Co., the former pop-up and food hall stall that sold its indulgent breakfast sandwiches and fried chicken at several spaces across D.C. over the last six years, has permanently closed its restaurant in Shaw. The company, which now does the majority of its business at grocery stores selling its line of frozen biscuits, cited the “surreal and defeating” impact of the COVID-19 crisis in an announcement sharing the news on the website for its biscuit counter.
“We had to make the tough decision that continuing to sail into an unknown future of restaurant ownership was too risky when we have the opportunity to focus our efforts on a growing, thriving, and critical business in grocery,” the statement says.
Founded by CEO Ayeshah Abuelhiga and chef Jason Gehring, Mason Dixie first attracted long lines as a pop-up at the Dolcezza Gelato factory. It eventually had a pop-up at Ice Cream Jubilee in Navy Yard and moved into its own Union Market stall. In April 2017, the company opened a drive-thru in Northeast that struggled to keep up with demand. That location closed after about a year so the company could relocate to a biscuit counter with diner-style seating in Shaw (1819 Seventh Street NW).
The biscuit company says it now sells its preservative-free biscuits, scones, and cinnamon rolls in freezer aisles of 5,000 stores. To the chagrin of many Southerners, D.C. now lacks a quick-service restaurant that specializes in biscuit sandwiches. A Baked Joint sells them on the breakfast menu in Mt. Vernon Triangle, and the biscuits are a point of pride at Stomping Ground in Alexandria, Virginia.
Here’s the full closing statement from Mason Dixie Biscuit Co.:
To Our Beloved Biscuit Fans and Fam:
It is with heavy heart that after 6 years of being DC’s go-to biscuit shoppe, we have made the very difficult decision to close our doors. While our hearts are broken to see our restaurant’s journey come to an end, we are humbled and consider ourselves lucky to have a strong, growing frozen consumer product business that is now nationwide in over 5,000 locations, growing faster than ever, and now expanding into new products. The impact of COVID-19 has been surreal and defeating and we had to make the tough decision that continuing to sail into an unknown future of restaurant ownership was too risky when we have the opportunity to focus our efforts on a growing, thriving, and critical business in grocery, one where we have the ability to feed and educate the nation on what better for you biscuits really means.
We want to take the opportunity to thank all of our supporters and dedicated fans for all you have done to get us where we are today and while closing the restaurant is like closing the foundational chapter in our coming-of-age story, it is also what has led us to some remarkable moments in our history here in this amazing city:
You embraced us nothings from nowhere selling food no one had ever had out of the back of Dolcezza’s Union Market Gelateria, standing in line for hours and creating the buzz over DC’s first true pop up restaurant.
Your love and demand got Edens to hear us out and get us a food stall at Union Market that created thousands of happy customers and helped us refine our menu and concept while also helping us grow a thriving community in NoMa.
Your undying need of our biscuits spurred our consumer product line and got the ear of Whole Foods Markets to help us launch into grocery, which 5 years later has gotten us the title of the #1 independent frozen biscuit brand in the country!
Your enthusiasm for the brand led us to pilot a concept in Far Northeast DC as a drive thru where, yet again, you shocked us with your fanaticism, waiting in lines at 5 am for our grand opening that lasted 4 weeks.
Your undying support for us even while we transitioned to our location in Shaw and welcomed us to a whole new side of the city was inspiring and allowed us to focus on our growing consumer business knowing we still had your love.
Your continued need for biscuit fuel even when the restaurant was open has led to record-breaking sales in all the DMV grocery retailers we sell into – which is what is fueling us to keep making the best biscuits in America.
We feel honored to have offered a place that will forever be a part of our history and memories and we hope you cherish your own personal memories at our restaurant as much as we enjoyed making them with you.
The hardest thing is saying goodbye and expressing anywhere near enough gratitude to our restaurant team family that made us who we are today and served many a customer for so many years. We would not be where we are today without you representing the brand the way we wanted: hospitable, warm, and loyal. We thank you for all your talents. We are forever indebted to you.
While the door to our restaurant closes, we are grateful, optimistic, and excited to continue serving you through our 5,000+ grocery store partners and look forward to continuing to innovate and provide you with the home baked happiness you deserve. Just this time instead of our kitchen, we will be in yours.
Ayeshah Abuelhiga & Your Family at Mason Dixie Foods