by JACKSON HANDLEY
Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting the Mason Dixon Cafe with some friends of mine, and I have to say it was an enjoyable visit that I will not forget. From my friends making fun of me for ordering pink lemonade, to the delicious chicken and waffles at the restaurant, it was a fantastic experience.
While I have known about Mason Dixon Cafe for a couple of years, I never actually went to eat at the restaurant even despite the good things I had heard about it from family and friends. I honestly thought it was just an overly hyped-up place that only families ate at, and as a result, I never dined there. However, I was happily proven wrong after visiting the restaurant myself.
Mason Dixon cafe is located at 2100 Princess Anne St., which is about a 20-minute walk from the University of Mary Washington campus. However, I would recommend driving or riding a bike if possible. Typically, a 20-minute walk isn’t too far, but after eating a big meal I would not recommend attempting to walk back to campus, especially on a hot summer day.
When I entered Mason Dixon Cafe, the size of the restaurant was more prominent on the inside than I expected. The overall atmosphere of the restaurant was fantastic and cozy. However, one of the things that I first noticed about the restaurant was not the decor or layout, but one of the patrons. The patron in question was a small dog sitting outside, basking happily in the sun. While my friends and I were already planning on eating outside, once we saw the dog we knew we had to dine outside so we could enjoy our meal along with the canine.
Once settled down at our table, we ordered drinks and started looking over the menu. However, before I could even look over the menu and figure out what to order, my “friends” started making fun of me for ordering pink lemonade. According to them, ordering pink lemonade for breakfast at 10 a.m. is unacceptable and I should be mocked for it, but it is acceptable to drink Coke while eating pancakes. Regardless of my friends’ opinions on drink choices, my lemonade was delicious, refreshing and went well with my meal.
When I first looked at the menu, it felt somewhat overwhelming considering how many different options there were to choose from. Eventually, I settled upon the chicken and waffles for my meal. I was torn between this and the western omelet, but after seeing another patron’s order of chicken and waffles, I ultimately decided to order it.
The food came surprisingly quickly, clocking in at around 15 minutes. This was a pleasant surprise seeing as the restaurant was busy that morning, but who am I to complain about fast service? I was given one sizable Belgian-style waffle that served as the base of the dish and was cooked to perfection, having a slight crunch on the outside and a soft, airy consistency on the inside. The cook had placed two pieces of fried chicken directly on top of the waffle, which tasted like the chicken that my grandmother used to cook for us when we visited her in West Virginia. The dish also came with delicious, smooth maple syrup that had pieces of bacon infused in it. While I would usually avoid syrup with any additional flavors added to it, this was a delicious addition to my meal and I am glad I tried it.
It took my friends and me about 20 minutes to eat our meals and, when it came time to pay, I realized that the price of my meal was superb for the quality and portion of food that I received. My bill came to around 15 dollars, and while it was more expensive than a typical breakfast, it was a significantly better overall experience, and it provided me with the opportunity to spend time with friends. If you are looking for a new restaurant to eat at, whether it’s alone, with some friends, or even a random dog, I would strongly recommend checking out Mason Dixon Cafe. With an extensive menu and high-quality food, there is something for everyone, making this eatery a smash hit for any UMW student.