“Who The Heck Is This Guy?”

Gary and wife Eileen with Triple D’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 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 have appeared in Alabama Coasting magazine and  www.ModMobilian.com . We are proud supporters of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum located in New Orleans, Louisiana (www.southernfood.org). Our latest project is founding and building the exciting new Florida Foodways organization. Be looking out for more info on this group of food writers, chefs, farmers and fishermen.

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 internet 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 what is now known as Learfield IMG College).

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 album. 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 2,000  LPs, and former elephant jockey (retired with an even .500 record). Any questions yet, y’all?

Me & the great Alton Brown of TV’s GOOD EATS (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 almost 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!


Me & our former mascot (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. We are now headquartered in the beautiful college town of Oxford, Mississippi – home of Ole Miss and the Southern Foodways Alliance. You can reach me at gary@dixiedining.com or gary.saunders@learfieldimgcollege.com. Gimme a holler sometime!


shack party

Fun at The Shack Up Inn – Clarksdale, Mississippi

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 Phillips; Corky Carroll; Harry Carey; Burt Bacharach; Orson Welles; Hoagy Carmichael; Ray Charles; Paul “The Modfather” Weller; BB King; Race Bannon; Elvis Presley; Duncan Hines; Joseph Cotten; 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; Gomez Adams; Ronald Reagan; Curly Howard; Cary Grant; Jethro Bodine; Bruce Brown; Sam Phillips; Brian Setzer; Johnny Weismuller; Ralph Cramden; Kirk Douglas; Cosmo Kramer; Tom Jones; Soupy Sales; Tony Bourdain; Miles Finch; Lewis Grizzard;  Troy Landry; Willie Mays; Little Steven Van Zandt; Herb Alpert; 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!




g surf 14

Riding the surf @ Waikiki Beach (Dec. 2012)

22 Responses to ““Who The Heck Is This Guy?””

  1. Emily Coleman August 18, 2008 at 8:55 pm #

    Hey Gary,
    What are your monthly page hits? Also, do you sell ad space on your blog, and if so, how much would the space cost?

  2. dixiedining September 18, 2008 at 6:18 pm #

    Special this month is 6 months at just $25 per month.


  3. Ray Wittenberg October 24, 2008 at 8:32 pm #

    Marc is still founder and editor of The Oxford American

  4. Aron January 6, 2009 at 4:05 pm #

    Saw your post on ELIXIR G – I am one of the principles and would like to send you a sample for proper evaluation. If you could reply with a snail mail address I am happy to ship some product your way.


  5. John Beaube April 6, 2009 at 7:22 pm #


    I just wanted to thank you for your kind remarks about Mook Mills Cheese Straws. They are good aren’t they.

    My company, Green2Grocer.com, is they contracted distributor for Mook Mills and I have to tell you when I first tasted them I knew we had to share them with the world (my world that is…”The South”). At that time, March of 2008, Mook Mills was a local brand mainly sold in the Shoals Area. I am proud to say that they are now carried by Publix, Kroger, Piggly Wiggly, Westerns and other fine stores, caterers, hotels and institutions in Alabama, Tennessee, Florida and Georgia.

    I wish I could take full credit (Well maybe a little credit) but the taste, texture and satisfying experience of a Mook Mills Cheese Straws has spoken for itself.

    It is good to know that this product is well respected and liked by your organization.

    I would like to ship you some samples of some of our newer products in development for you to try along with a few bags of cheese straws to munch on while you are out and about.

    Please feel free to contact me anytime with any questions about our company or any of the products we carry or are developing.


    John Beaube
    Distributor Of Mook Mills Cheese Straws
    72 Argo Park Drive, Ste. 102
    Trussville, AL 35173
    205 467 2130

  6. Bob Carriker August 13, 2009 at 1:02 am #

    Any chance you’ll be able to make it out to the Boudin Cook-Off this October in Lafayette, Louisiana. It’s going to be a great one.

  7. Dixie Caviar August 14, 2009 at 12:07 am #

    Really glad I stumbled across your blog. I’m always on the hunt for good Southern resources. I look forward to keeping up!

  8. Al Malekovic August 20, 2009 at 5:52 pm #

    Hi Gary: My name is Al Malekovic (al@countrybobs.com) and I represent a very, very small company called Country Bob’s, Inc. We are making a great sauce called, “Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce” and we would like to get the word out about our product.
    I know that review blogs are a great way to get information to the general public. I conducted a google search for food blogs and your name came and after looking at your blog, I was wondering if you would be interested in trying my sauce and perhaps reviewing it for me.

    If you send me your name and address via e-mail, I would gladly send you a recipe brochure along with two bottles of Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce in hopes that you would write a review.

    If you would like more information, I would be glad to respond to any questions you might have. In fact, if you are interested in interviewing me after you’ve sampled the product, I would gladly make myself available!

    Thank you for your consideration. http://www.countrybobs.com We also have two two bottle give a ways for your blog.

  9. Margaret Rainey September 17, 2009 at 2:05 pm #

    Thank you so much for the kind words about Olde South Gumbo, we are proud of our product and love to hear good thing.

    If you need more samples let me know.

    Thank you again

    Margaret Rainey

  10. Brad Stewart September 18, 2009 at 5:59 am #

    Not a word about Captain Curt’s you know about the chowder, I hope your doing great please contact me

  11. Joel September 23, 2009 at 9:22 pm #

    Nice blog Gary. Amazing I stumbled on this site because I was looking for a photo of Guy Fieri. Thanks.

  12. Ryan McCarthy April 2, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

    Need to go visit one of the best spots in Alabama, Dreamland BBQ…All you need know is ribs, white bread and paper towels. Check it out.

  13. Susan McCaw July 12, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

    Thanks for your kind words about Street’s and Mel’s. You should also try Mary’s Restuarant for some good home food next time you’re up this way.

  14. Will McKay December 9, 2010 at 4:52 pm #

    Hi Gary,

    Fantastic blog! I work for The History Press–a publisher of local and regional history books, based in Charleston, South Carolina. If you’re interested in writing a work of historic Alabama foodways, or something similar, I’d be delighted to discuss some of our options for publication.

    Keep up the great work with Dixie Dining!

    Best wishes,

  15. Ms. MEM March 25, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    Lookin forward in tryin out the “Honey Fried Chicken” sounds very “yummers” (lol) Awesome site you’ve got!

  16. Jon April 9, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    Suggest you add BB’s Lawnside BBQ in KC, MO to your Blogroll. “Where BBQ Meets the Blues”

  17. kalamitykelli April 26, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

    Hey there! I nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger Award. I adore your blog! Check it out:

  18. Kendra Bailey Morris July 26, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    Love your blog. Looking forward to following you. By the way, my husband grew up in Reston!


    • DixieDining.com July 27, 2012 at 1:57 am #

      What is your husband’s name? Where did he attend school?


  1. Eating out in Boca Grande | Tee View Villa - February 27, 2012

    […] An independent blog about Boca Grande, including a snack at the Loose Caboose – with thanks to Dixie Dining’s Gary Saunders. […]

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