Gary and wife Eileen with Food Network’s Guy Fieri
I am Gary Saunders, CEO (that’s short for Chief Eating Officer) of the award-winning DixieDining.com. Our site is the premiere web guide for Southern restaurants and essential Dixie food sources. We have been featured in Southern Living magazine, Mobile Bay Monthly, on NPR Radio, Chowhound.com and countless other local, regional, and national media outlets.
Guarding the Wall of Bamboo in Honolulu, Hawaii (December 2012)
My ramblings sometimes appear in Alabama Coasting magazine and at www.ModMobilian.com . We are proud supporters of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum located in New Orleans, Louisiana (www.southernfood.org). Our latest Dixie Dining project is founding and building the exciting new Gulf Coast Foodways organization. Be looking out for more info on this group of food writers, chefs, farmers and fisherman at www.gulfcoastfoodways.com & www.gulfcoastfoodways.wordpress.com.
Relaxing by the Brooks Robinson monument at Camden Yards
My Grandparents Phillip and Annie Mae Justice ran Justice Grocery in Hopewell, Virginia way back in the day. Perhaps that was the initial seed that slowly grew into the Dixie Dining empire. Ha!!! Empire??? Yeah, whatever. Anyhoo, my diverse background includes time as a disc jockey (air names included “The Rockin’ Fig” and “Jack Eddy”), ad agency owner (Bright Ideas Unlimited), sportscaster (including a brief sideline gig with the Va Tech Hokies Football Radio Network), and front office executive with various professional baseball (Cards, Braves, Astros, Rockies & Reds), hockey (Maple Leafs affiliate), Arena Football (Texas Copperheads), and collegiate athletic organizations (University of Memphis & Ole Miss via Learfield Sports & IMG/WME respectively).
Chillin’ out with Chef Martha Hall Foose (L) & my wife, Eileen
In 1996, I became the only pro baseball General Manager ever to trade a player for a Blues LP when I dealt disgruntled slugger Andre “The Giant” Keene to the Greenville (MS) Bluesmen for a Muddy Waters record. All told, I have lived in 8 Southern states and am a published author, music & food critic, Sun Studio Recording artist, proud owner of over 800 vintage LPs, and former elephant jockey (retired with an even .500 record). Any questions yet, y’all?
Me & the great Alton Brown (Dauphin Island, AL – 2011)
My Grandmothers (Annie Mae Justice & Beulah Saunders) were really good Southern home cooks. So is my Mom (Betty Jane Saunders). I guess a little bit of their magic dust somehow rubbed off on me. I am so blessed to have been one really well fed dude for most of my time on this planet. It’s a wonder I don’t weigh 400 lbs. My friends tell me that all the time. Here’s my secret: 1) All things in moderation 2) I don’t ever chug soft drinks 3) I never eat fast food 4) I get exercise when possible 5) I only cook with olive and coconut oils and always try to avoid GMO foods 6) I am fortunate enough to come from a superior gene pool. Both grandmothers lived to be over 100 years old. Granny Saunders made it to 106!
Hangin’ with Southern Foodways Alliance’s John T. Edge (2013)
Me & our mascot, Dixie (Siesta Key, Florida, 2008)
I am a 1981 graduate of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg (GO HOKIES!!!) and a native of the utopian planned community of Reston, Virginia. DixieDining.com is now headquartered in the beautiful college town of Oxford, Mississippi – home of Ole Miss and the Southern Foodways Alliance. You can reach me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Gimme a holler sometime.
“The Honorable Maynard G. Krebs”
Fun at The Shack Up Inn – Clarksdale, MS
My personal heroes include: Paul Newman; Dizzy Dean; Steve McQueen; Louis Prima; Sylvester Marcus; Ernest Hemingway; Chris Isaak; Johnny Bench; Maynard G. Krebs; Humphrey Bogart; John Wooden; The Beatles; Buddy Holly; Dewey Finn; Dewey Phillips; Corky Carroll; Harry Carey; Burt Bacharach; Gene Kelly; Orson Welles; Hoagy Carmichael; Ray Charles; Paul “The Modfather” Weller; BB King; Race Bannon; Elvis Presley; Duncan Hines; Joseph Cotten; Rod Argent; Erick Von Zipper; Sergio Mendes; Buddy Love; Al Green; Jerry Lewis; Gene Krupa; Bob Feller; Colonel Harland Sanders; Jimmy Buffett; Derek Flint; Frank Sinatra; Duke Kahanamoku; Henry Mancini; Wolfman Jack; Harry Houdini; Gomez Adams; Conan O’Brien; Ronald Reagan; Curly Howard; Cary Grant; Jethro Bodine; Bruce Brown; Sam Phillips; Brian Setzer; Johnny Weismuller; Ralph Cramden; Kirk Douglas; Cosmo Kramer; Tom Jones; Carlos Santana; Soupy Sales; Tony Bourdain; Miles Finch; Lewis Grizzard; Lem Motlow; Troy Landry; Willie Mays; Little Steven Van Zandt; Herb Alpert; Thomas Jefferson; my parents; my son Austin; and first & foremost, Jesus Christ.
Me & my pal Bob Feller, Baseball Hall of Famer & American Hero
So be good to each other — and “Put Some South in Your Mouth” today!
THAT’S ABOUT IT, FOLKS.
ALOHA FOR NOW!!!
Riding the surf @ Waikiki Beach (Dec. 2012)