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Atlanta Cooking Finds a Home at Humble Mumble

justin dixon

Though Chef Justin Dixon only started feeding people at his Humble Mumble pop-ups in September 2021, the concept has been on his mind since he was in high school. “I always wanted to open a sandwich shop after I retired,” he said, “It came way earlier than expected.”

That’s because he decided to leave the world of fine dining restaurants this past year. He was tired of giving so much of himself to restaurants “you wouldn’t even know I worked at.”

Dixon started cooking at a young age because his parents worked second shift jobs and were not home when he got out of school. He quickly decided that, for him, cooking wasn’t a chore or a necessity but something he enjoyed. When he realized he could do something he loved and get paid, he enrolled in culinary school and never looked back.

justin dixon cooking

He started cooking in Atlanta in 2007, got his first executive chef position in 2015 and went on to be the executive chef at two more restaurants before leaving to focus on Humble Mumble full time. It was a move he made after helping a friend run pop-ups and seeing that he could easily do them himself. Armed with an Outkast-inspired brand and a love for sandwiches, Dixon hit the ground running.

“It’s actually going really, really well,” Dixon said. “Way better than I assumed it would.” Dixon figured he would take some time off and devote a few weeks to Humble Mumble before finding a job to supplement his income, but the concept took off and demanded his full attention.

Dixon found that many kitchens were open to pop-ups during the past year due to labor shortages or other pandemic concerns. For daytime pop-ups, Humble Mumble’s menu is full of comforting sandwiches with homemade meatloaf, fresh roasted turkey and local charcuterie. The sandwiches take their inspiration from Dixon’s work in fine dining with freshly made sauces and complex flavor combinations that keep diners coming back for more.

italian sandwich

At night, Humble Mumble serves what Dixon describes as “Atlanta Cooking.” “It’s the combination of all the stuff that works in the city,” which he says includes brunch, wings, sandwiches, tacos, Asian food and soul food. “It’s my opportunity to do stuff I think is cool that wouldn’t normally fit in a restaurant box,” he said. That manifests itself as everything from lemongrass wings to lamb meatball Spaghetti-Os.

Besides serving great food, Dixon is committed to figuring out a way to balance compassion for staff members and making profits. He outlines his philosophy and values on his website because he didn’t want to hide his mission in an employee handbook where the public would never see it. He knows he doesn’t have all the answers yet, but Dixon is over the restaurant model where staff give a piece of themselves to a business in return for only a paycheck until they burn out on the industry.

meatloaf sandwich

While he figures out a new model for his business, Dixon has landed a space at the Atlanta food hall The Collective @ Coda where he’s regularly serving up sandwiches as well as prepping for ongoing pop-ups around the city. Dixon called the opportunity exciting but mostly horrifying. “I don’t have a playbook,” he said.

“I am saying yes to whatever feels right and asking questions about everything that feels wrong. That has really been working out for me like you would not believe.”


Sarah Strong

Sarah Strong is a New York City based writer who holds a master’s degree in food studies and is obsessed with television. You can follow her on Instagram at @feedsstrong to see where she eats, what she cooks and what sneakers she’s wearing.


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