Mason Dixie Biscuit Company drew long lines and plenty of hype for its D.C. pop-ups, but it's also been selling frozen biscuits wholesale for the past year. Now, the biscuit maker is about to get a big boost from a deal with Whole Foods.
Mason Dixie's frozen biscuit line launches today in Whole Foods' Old Town Alexandria and Ashburn, Va., with the Arlington and P Street NW locations to follow in the coming weeks. The frozen biscuits are more "dinner roll size"—slightly smaller than what Mason Dixie sells for sandwiches in Union Market. Staple flavors include buttermilk and cheddar, but sweet corn, garlic parmesan, and sweet potato will be available on on a rolling basis. The suggested retail price for the one-pound packages is between $7.50 and $8, but the company hopes to lower that as it scales up.
Founders Ayeshah Abuelhiga, Maurice Cherry, and chef Jason Ghering first introduced the frozen biscuits last November at Emporiyum, a food event hosted once a year at Union Market. That's also where they first met Whole Foods' Mid-Atlantic marketing director. Soon after, they launched at Relay Foods and now also sell at Union Kitchen Grocery and Mom & Pop (a cafe from the owners of Dolcezza in Merrifield).
Mason Dixie was among the local food businesses to move into Union Kitchen's new Ivy City facility. The larger kitchen space will allow them to increase production 100 fold by the end of the year.
And that's just their short-term goal. Abuelghina says they have national aspirations not just for their wholesale operation but for restaurants as well. As they finalize a permanent brick-and-mortar location, they've been talking with venture capitalists about financing the brand's expansion.
"When you're going after venture capitalists, it's a completely different ballgame," Abuelghina says. "It's a lot less about the vanity factor in investing. It's a lot more about 'will this make me money?' and how do we get it to work exactly the same over and over again."
The "elevated fast-casual" restaurant will be more streamlined than Mason Dixie's founders initially planned, so they can easily replicate it in multiple locations. They'll offer morning and afternoon menus with biscuit sandwiches and platters. Fried chicken will also likely be a main attraction.
"Investors are super interested in our fried chicken. They think it's a showstopper," Abuelghina says.
Photo courtesy Mason Dixie Biscuit Company