By Tyler Bullen, CNA Media Team
Longtime Concordia resident James Dixon opened Dixon’s Rib Pit Bar-B-Que in May in the parking lot of the former Rose’s Ice Cream.
The new business marks a third newcomer to the block’s restaurant scene in the past 18 months, following Pizza Jerk and Red Sauce, which both opened in 2016.
He was excited to locate on 42nd Avenue, where he’d been eyeing what he considers the right situation for years. James is a dedicated supporter of northeast Portland’s small business scene, having owned multiple businesses – including 30 years serving barbecue.
Born in Madera, California, James arrived in Portland in 1971 after serving two years as a Marine. He viewed Portland as a complete turnaround from California’s Central Valley. “It was hot and dry there, and Portland is green, with fresh air and stuff growing.”
He began work here as a pastor, and still serves at the Broken Church of God in Christ United, as well as the jurisdictional pastor for the church in Washington state.
James bought his first restaurant at Interstate Avenue and Jarrett Street in 1989. He acquired a second location at 9th Avenue and Broadway Street, and ran both with the help of his family.
MAX construction on Interstate in 2004 changed traffic patterns on the street and prompted him to close that location in favor of one on Alberta Street, first in the Rexall Building at 24th Avenue and later in a food cart. He’s always served barbecue – beef brisket, pulled pork, pork ribs and chicken. By sticking to the basics, he aims to keep the quality of the food high.
He considers his life successful, claiming he’s accomplished nearly everything he’s wanted. His aspirations for his business on 42nd, however, aren’t fulfilled yet. James plans to move into a full cart with outdoor seating at some point, but intends to remain outside the adjacent building, which will be occupied soon by Los Pepitos Tacos.
Throughout his time in northeast Portland, James has seen many changes, but still considers Portland the ideal place to be. “You can have it the way you want to have it here, even now. If you know what you want, you can make it happen here.”
After trying lunch or dinner at Dixon’s Rib Pit Bar-B-Que, you might be lucky enough to hear one of his observations on life, like this one, “Everything that is now is a sign of the times. Nothing is going to be as it used to be, but in the end every thing is going to work out.”
Tyler and his family live in east Concordia. He serves on the Concordia Neighborhood Association Board of Directors and is vice chair of its Land Use & Transportation Committee.