Gene Porter of Dixie’s died

Via Ry.

Gene Porter, the inventor of “The Man” hot sauce used at Dixie’s BBQ, died Sunday.

The Seattle Times article tells a lot of the back story but it only vaguely hints at the Microsoft aspect with:

The restaurant crowd is often standing-room-only, and people have come from all over the world — CEOs from big companies on visits to the Eastside.

“The Eastside” refers to the east side of Lake Washington. The biggest company there is Microsoft. Dixie’s BBQ is so popular with Microsoft people that it is served in some of the cafeterias. The Gun Club at Microsoft put up signs along the order line at the restaurant indicating how much longer you had to wait before you would be able to order and receive your food.

It was nearly a rite of passage for new employees eat at Dixie’s. This morning I received an email from Kris, who I took to Dixie’s shortly after he arrived here from Australia, telling me of Mr. Porter’s death. I took my officemate Chandrika, from India, there. And I took son James there shortly after he went to work at MS.

Ry used to pick up fresh vegetables in Royal City (central Washington) on his way back from Idaho and give them to Mr. Porter.

And there is a story about Mr. Porter, a shotgun, and a ham that Ry or I could tell you sometime too.

He will be missed.


4 thoughts on “Gene Porter of Dixie’s died

  1. The world has lost rich flavor and a colorful character with Gene Porter’s passing.

    When they opened the barbecue restaurant, the back half was still an auto shop. When the restaurant took off, he converted the service bay into more seating. For a while there, one of the tables was a door lying on top of the hydraulic lift.

    There was a wall of fame that recorded the names and dates of record holders for finishing barbecue with ever more spoonfuls of the mind-rippingly hot sauce, The Man. We came in one day and all the records had been painted over. I asked Gene what was up. He just shook his head and muttered something under his breadth. I never learned the full story.

    Dixie’s portions are so generous, and so saucy, that it isn’t really practical to pick up their sandwiches. So I attacked them with knife and fork. The knife was usually my Spyderco Endura. Gene used to teasingly challenge me with, “What you doing with that big knife?”

    I asked him once if he used Habaneros in The Man. He denied doing so. I suspect he included pure capsaicin. If he caught you scraping your portion of The Man off your food, he would scold you for wasting it. He said a pot of The Man was expensive to make. IIRC, a couple hundred dollars.

    Rest in peace, Mr. Porter.

  2. Wow. I ate there in the first few days after they opened, and continued to eat there fairly regularly until I moved a year later. They were really good, but had no idea that they had become an institution. I’m so glad to hear that they thrived! I hope that they are able to carry on without him.


  3. I was once at Dixie’s and there was a attractive blonde woman at the table next to me with some of her male friends. Gene, sensing fresh newb, zeros in on her location and asks her if she wanted to “meet the man.”

    She paused for a brief second and said “I’m a lesbian. I have no interest in men.” Gene looked at her with a surprised look and then started cackling. He moved on to find another victim.

    When her male friends explained he was talking about the hot sauce in the pan he was holding, she laughed.

    Good times, good times. God bless, Gene.

  4. This is a great loss. Mr. Porter was quite the character.

    Ry took Son and me to Dixie’s once and the food was so good I’ve been talking about it ever since.

Comments are closed.