After serving for decades, Dixie III to close doors
ASHEBORO – On a recent afternoon at Dixie III, Mark Davidson was so busy he had to put off accepting a phone call until he could catch up on a few tasks.
That included making cornbread.
As owner of the long-time Asheboro diner, there have been countless items on Davidson’s to-do lists.
That will suddenly cease this month when the family-owned eatery closes its doors after 39 years at the same location.
“It’s definitely bittersweet,” Davidson said. “We’ve been doing this all our lives. We’re just ready to retire.”
Davidson, 65, said it’s time to step away. His family has been in the local restaurant business for multiple generations, but a break is needed. He said his wife, Krista, and son, John, have been instrumental in the most-recent endeavors.
The last day of operation is set for Sept. 9.
“It’s not about a business closing because we don’t have enough business,” Davidson said shortly after the clamor of another busy lunchtime had died down. “If anything, it’s just the opposite.”
The family has been involved with area restaurants since the 1940s.
The current location on East Dixie Drive is along a busy street in Asheboro, yet in many minds it stands out among the countless choices for those seeking a meal.
Online reviews include a variety of comments through the years. Here’s a typical assessment from one woman: “We love Dixie! My family and I have eaten here for years, dating back to when I was a kid. Their fried okra is the best I’ve ever had.”
The restaurant has specialized in what Davidson and others refer to as “Meat and three” — meaning a main selection plus three side (vegetable) orders.
It’s Southern food. Among the specialties is homemade cobblers.
Most meals cost less than $10.
As word has spread about the upcoming closing, there has been an outpouring of support regarding Dixie III.
“We’ve had a tremendous response from this community,” Davidson said.
Even during the height of the pandemic with indoor dining restrictions, Dixie III maintained a brisk pace of business because of take-out orders, Davidson said. Yet he said that the closing of dining rooms and capacity limits when those re-opened were devastating at times.
The pandemic might be related to other challenges that have been difficult to overcome. One day last week, the restaurant was closed because of what was described as a staff shortage.
Generally, the restaurant is open from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
When the announcement to close for good this month was made, the family expressed the positives associated with the restaurant.
“First, we want to thank our loyal customers,” the statement said. “We greatly appreciate all the years you have allowed us to serve you and be a part of this wonderful community. We also want to thank our staff — current and past — who have been like family to us and have helped make Dixie III successful for almost 40 years.”
Davidson owns the property. Ideally, he said he’d lease the restaurant to someone interested in operating an eatery in the location.