I am categorically in favor of any new eateries with a full liquor license setting up shop in St Johns. Despite that, I have mixed feelings about The Fixin’ To. This highly Portlandized purveyor of Southern-esque food opened a few months ago, and we have been in several times. This is despite the fact that their website doesn’t bother to list their business hours. No, you must delve into their blog or Facebook fan page to find such irrelevant information.
The first time, we left in despair of ever obtaining not just food or drink, but eye contact with anyone who worked at the establishment. This was during their first week of business. They eventually compensated for this hipster habit of ignoring non-hipsters with some signage indicating that one should order at the bar.
Our return visits have gone better. While we lack that ironic panache that would likely get us quicker service at the bar, we have successfully sampled several of the items on the fairly short menu–chicken dumplings (totally decent), Frito pie (vegetarian and meat versions–also decent), Rotel (good, if not like any I ever had in the South) and the weekend biscuits and bacon gravy (nauseatingly awash in butter, in a bad way, and made with bacon that reminds me of the paper-thin slices of a meat-like substance available for breakfast at any Holiday Inn Express.)
A menu with a few more options would probably work in their favor. Perhaps an expansion will happen in time. The food is basically ok, if not really Southern. But it’s a Portland twist on Southern, so it makes sense.
It’s ultimately the hipster vibe that rubs me the wrong way. I have an innate dislike of hipsters anyway, but the Portland variety of hipsters who provide food service are particularly annoying. The total lack of acknowledgment when you arrive is one of the key failing I associate with their ilk. When you couple that with the fact that Travis, Ben, and crowd at Leisure, just a couple blocks away, can remember your name after a couple visits and always at least make eye contact when you show up, no matter how busy they are, The Fixin’ To falls short of the St Johns standard.
Too bad. I was very ready to like the place.