Photo by Jai Williams
Photo by Jai Williams

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When people say “Life is hard,” they’re probably not referring to paying $37 to sweat it out on a torture machine at Solidcore while the smell of freshly baked biscuits hangs in the air. But you have to admit it’s deliciously cruel that Mason Dixie Biscuit Co. is opening at 1819 7th St. NW in Shaw, next door to the trendy fitness studio. 

The owners of the biscuit and fried chicken restaurant closed their drive-thru location on Bladensburg Road NE in March, hoping to relocate someplace that would give them greater flexibility with hours and the menu. 

“We’re changing it up to be in line with what customers were hoping to have,” says Mason Dixie CEO Ayesha Abuelhiga. Drive-thru customers wanted items that could be made quickly, while those in the dining room craved certain touches and customization that just weren’t possible. “People missed having runny eggs,” Abuelhiga continues. “It was hard to manage the dichotomy there.”

The new location from Abuelhiga, Chef Jason Gehring, and COO Ross Perkins is scheduled to open next month in the former Drift on 7th space. Fans have been speculating about the new location for months. “The number one thing we dwelled on was finding the right community,” Abuelhiga says. “Shaw’s been really welcoming. We’re going to be next to some really cool neighbors like [Drink Company’s] Pop-Up Bar.”

Photo of Ayesha Abuelhiga, Jason Gehring, and Ross Perkins by Jai Williams

Mason Dixie Biscuit Co. will be open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A brunch menu will be available on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

The signature fried chicken biscuit sandwiches aren’t going anywhere, but Gehring will look to add variety with limited-time proteins like brisket, pastrami, Salisbury steak, and pulled pork. “It allows people to come in more than once a week,” Abuelhiga says. “It’s more than fried chicken.”

Sandwiches will be offered as platters during breakfast and lunch with Southern side dishes. “There will also be a Southern dessert line-up with pies and cakes,” Abuelhiga says. “It should feel holistically more like a diner experience.”

No alcohol will be served, but there will be milkshakes and various coffee beverages featuring flavored milk. Espresso drinks may become available down the line.

Even though Gehring hasn’t had a brick and mortar restaurant to cook in for a handful of months, he’s been busy. Mason Dixie Biscuit Co. sells frozen biscuits in 2,000 stores nationwide. He plans to use the Shaw restaurant as a test kitchen and will ask customers to provide feedback on new biscuit flavors and recipes that will launch in grocery stores.

The long, narrow space will have a mix of counter seating for solo diners and tables. The team is working with No Kings Collective and Shaw-based graphic designer Greg Fisk on the look and feel of the restaurant.

Mason Dixie Biscuit Co., 1819 7th St. NW;