Owning a bakery and restaurant was never in the long-term plan for Ashley and Taylor Ramirez. They just opened their second location of Mason Dixon Bakery and Bistro, however, and they don’t foresee any signs of slowing down.
The husband-and-wife duo opened the first Mason Dixon Bakery and Bistro in Huntsville a few years ago after realizing there was a need for gluten-free, health-based meal options. Ashley discovered she had Celiac disease — an immune reaction to eating gluten — while studying at Elon University. She says that after she and Taylor moved to Huntsville, they were dismayed by the city’s lack of dining options that accommodated her dietary restrictions.
“Mason Dixon started moreso out of necessity than anything else,” she says. “We wanted to provide accessibility to safe choices when it comes to food. Most grocery stores are filled with things we shouldn’t be having, so we wanted to work to eliminate that problem.”
The business began with Taylor and Ashley selling scratch-made, gluten-free baked goods at a local farmers’ market. The response to the pop-up bakery, Ashley says, was so strong that growing the business into a restaurant seemed natural.
Soon after realizing that they found a niche for providing gluten-free food options in Huntsville, the couple converted an old house into a storefront where they could share their bounty with the community.
After that, Ashley says she and Taylor began setting their sights on a second store. It was ultimately between Birmingham, AL, and Franklin, TN, Ashley admits. After visiting Homewood and getting to know the area, however, Ashley says a move to Birmingham seemed like a no-brainer.
“We are about the community, and we are about becoming a part of the community,” Ashley says. “And Homewood fit that.”
Located in what used to be an auto service center, Mason Dixon Bakery and Bistro is nestled off Oxmoor Road in the new development that also houses bartaco and Three15 Studio. The new location, Ashley says, offers an expanded menu and is meant to serve as a community-based restaurant where locals can count on getting healthy food options.
“What we care about is the relationships we can build and the impact we can have on people’s lives,” Ashley says. “And I think that’s something both my husband and I knew we always wanted to do … and would do in one way or another.”
By offering an expanded menu of all gluten-free, paleo-friendly food, Ashley and Taylor hope to provide an outlet for those looking to make intentional decisions about what they put on their plate. From breakfast sandwiches to on-the-go meals, Mason Dixon Bakery and Bistro is a one-stop shop for all things healthy and delicious, Ashley says.
“We do breakfast BLT sandwiches and breakfast scramble bowls that are out of this world,” she says. “And then for lunch we do everything from soups and salads — kind of quick and simple stuff — to the MD Burger, which was voted one of the best burgers in Huntsville.”
And while the restaurant is admittedly a labor of love, Ashley says she and Taylor wouldn’t have changed a thing when looking back on their road to opening Mason Dixon Bakery and Bistro.
“We’re not restaurateurs, but what we are driven to do is help people, and I think this is where we have found that niche,” she says.
Mason Dixon Bakery and Bistro is located at 1017 Oxmoor Road, Birmingham, AL 35209. Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit masondixonbakery.com or call (205) 848-2100.
Thank you to Waitr for the images of Mason Dixon’s beautiful cuisine.
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