Long Beach Lunch: Sweet Dixie Kitchen

We all know how much Long Beach loves its breakfast. We’ve even said it’s the city’s gluttonous alternative religion, meaning on Sundays straight through lunchtime, there are always more people waiting in line outside some eggy paradise than in church pews.

But few eggy paradises here are as worth the wait as Sweet Dixie Kitchen, a relatively new addition to the weekend scramble (har har) for breakfast goodness that also happens to be the smallest.

Who’da thunk a bakery the size of an oven and a hot plate in a quiet pocket of the East Village Arts District could end up churning out hundreds of homemade biscuits, sugary pastries and decadent Southern-style brunch creations that would draw 45-minute waits just to order at its register?

Maybe owner Kimberly Sanchez had a hunch. She came up cooking, baking and managing Mama’s, the famous San Francisco breakfast joint, which is as notorious for its hearty down-home French toasts and benedicts, as it is for the block-long line that you will inevitably wait in to eat in one of its 35 seats.

Sanchez married into the Mama’s family and moved to Atlanta, where she cooked and managed more restaurants, discovered her love for Southern and soul food and returned to Long Beach, opening Sweet Dixie Kitchen in the former location of too-short-lived Shortnin Bread in 2013.
Maybe you remember it as The Village Bakery or Southern Girl Bakery, both of which she painted on the windows before settling on its current, more befitting, name. Though, yes, a bakery at heart (you can rush in and grab-and-go breakfast bread, seasonal fruit turnovers, scones and more), Sweet Dixie Kitchen is these days so much more.

Centered around Sanchez’s rich, dense biscuit recipe, breakfast (which of course makes a fabulous lunch) includes everything from thick Belgian waffles to meaty melanges served in tiny cast-iron skillets to knife-and-fork omelet-sandwich inventions called “BiscuitWitches.”

Multiple kinds of biscuits are made on site each day and each gets its own BiscuitWitch to shine. The Plain Jane is a cheddar biscuit with scrambled eggs and melted cheese. The jalapeño biscuit is used for the Chorizowitch (guess what’s in that). A Goatwitch includes spinach, goat cheese, sweet potato hash, and eggs on a peach-sage biscuit. And the Hot Gobble is an entire Thanksgiving feast – turkey, stuffing, brown gravy, cranberry sauce and all – on an open-faced pumpkin-sage biscuit. (You can alternately order just a biscuit sampler with house-made jam or a heaping helping of classic biscuits and gravy.)
As fun as it is to hang around until your name is called on the weekends so you can pray at the altar of egg, the locals know to stop by Sweet Dixie Kitchen on weekdays, when seating isn’t a battleground and you can walk right up to the register and order.

It doesn’t hurt that there is an entire expanded lunch menu only available Monday through Friday that includes extra-creamy mac and cheese, basil chicken salad on rye and a Cuban sandwich with South Carolina-style roasted pork, named after the iconic Southern supermarket Piggly Wiggly. 

Bon apetit, ya’ll.

Sweet Dixie Kitchen, 401 E. 3rd St., Long Beach; (562) 628-BAKE

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