If you’ve eaten at Capo, Fat Baby, Loco, or Lincoln, chances are you’ve eaten Nick Dixon’s food. The local chef, who just became the first culinary director at all four South Boston restaurants in July, is aiming to make #Southie a food destination.
Currently, Dixon’s spending the majority of his time at the group’s latest venture, Fat Baby, developing new dishes for the fall and winter. He’s also starting to revamp Loco’s menu. Dixon designed the original menu, so “I want a second swing at it,” he laughs. He’s also continuing to develop a new pastry program: the same team that makes the bao dumplings at Fat Baby, the pies at Capo, the pints of gelato for sale at Loco, Lincoln, and Capo along with custom cakes at all four restaurants for any occasion.
“We’re hoping our four restaurants between West Broadway and Dorchester Street can be a food destination all on its own for the people who live in South Boston. Residents shouldn’t have to go to the South End or North End to get good Italian or to get an awesome sushi experience,” he says.
Lincoln and Loco have already gotten attention for being some of the best restaurants in Boston, and Fat Baby is generating buzz as a new addition to the Asian fusion scene. Dixon hopes to push all four restaurants’ reputations further.
“Generally I like to take food we’re all familiar with and think of a creative way to make it new again. I’m very passionate about our food. If we’re putting a burger on the menu, it should be the best burger in the city.”
It’s a vision that he’s had since 2012: Dixon was opening executive chef for Lincoln and developed its first menu. His concepts, including the brunch test kitchen, helped make it an upscale comfort food destination. “It’s a really hard thing to create a totally new menu in such a short time frame, especially because Lincoln is so busy, but it’s really rewarding when it works,” he says.
Dixon is invested in the growth of his culinary teams, hoping to pay it forward for all the food mentors he’s had in his career. His father was the chef at Boston Red Coach Bar and Grill, ensuring that the family grew up around good food. Other mentors included Sven Mede at Nobhill in MGM Grand and Michael Mina’s culinary director Anthony Carron, now owner of 800 Degrees Woodfired Kitchen.
But it was in Boston where Dixon got the chance to run his first kitchen at Lucky’s Lounge under the guidance of Eric Aulenback, now partner at Broadway Restaurant Group. “Chef Dixon and I have worked together in 10 restaurants over a 15 year period. He has been instrumental in our growth here in South Boston, and we are thrilled to have him lead the culinary programs for our restaurant group,” says Aulenback.
As culinary director for four restaurants, Dixon had the opportunity to promote talented sous chefs into chef de cuisines (CDC) to lead their culinary teams at each restaurant. He says, “We have a great team of first time CDCs who have really stepped up in their leadership roles. It’s been gratifying to guide this dedicated team of chefs on both the creative and operational sides of running a kitchen.”
But Dixon says his work is far from over. “I enjoy collaborating with the different chefs; with four restaurants, we can get creative and bounce ideas off of one another. I’m excited to help develop new concepts on our block, and continue cooking in Southie—Boston’s best neighborhood.”