Historic neon pig still an icon at Vasos


Gone are the foot-long hot dogs smothered with chili, the greasy burgers and the Formica counters that were once a staple at the Dixie Pig on Powhatan Street on the corner of Bashford Lane. The neon pig and Dixie Pig sign are historic landmarks though and although its now Vasos Kitchen, specializing in Greek cuisine, the pig stays, said officials.

The pig is on the roof, and its notoriety comes in handy when owner Vaso Volioti is giving directions to the restaurant. She has even thought about dressing it up in a Greek outfit. When you tell them Dixie Pig, they know, said Volioti.
Before it was Vasos, it was the Dixie Pig for many years. When it closed, Ruffinos Italian restaurant opened, but only for a short time.

Inside, the family atmosphere at Vasos is enhanced with her home cooking and a staff of family members that includes her daughter Lia, son Johnny, sister-in-law Gratsiela, daughter-in-law Jennala, and granddaughter Maria, who is the unofficial hostess at age 4.

She wants to be the host, people love it, Vaso said. In addition, Vasos sister owns Taverna Cretekou on King Street and her uncle owned Andreas Restaurant in the Hybla Valley area of Fairfax County years ago.

Everything she cooks has to be to her own liking or it doesnt make the cut. I will not serve something that I wouldnt like, she said, I love my food because of the homestyle cooking. Every evening she cooks 15 chickens for the Athenian chicken dishes, and if she runs out then so be it. If there is any leftover at the end of the evening, the staff can dig in.

Lunch is a popular event at Vasos. Popular items among the lunch crowd are the pizza ($7.95-$16.95), the gyros ($5.95-$7.95), and the Greek salad ($7.95). There are a few remnants from the Dixie Pig days as well, including pork BBQ ($5.95), pork chops ($8.95) and BBQ spare ribs ($8.95). The tiramisu ($5.95) is a creamy, layered mixture of cake, whipped cream and liquor, and stands about four inches thick. Vaso brought the recipe with her from Mikes Restaurant on Rt. 1, where she worked as a waitress for 26 years, and added a little of her own tender loving care. People would love it, they would go crazy over it, she said. In fact, they go crazy over everything at Vasos Kitchen, including the pig. 

On a typical Friday during the warm weather, every table inside is full and the overflow sits out on the patio, enjoying the quiet neighborhood scenery and an occasional bike rider passing just feet from the tables. Inside, there are 11 tables, seven booths and a bar with six barstools. Each table is decorated with a small vase of flowers, and Greek music plays throughout.

It has a European feel to it. Vaso opened on March 23, 2006, and just got the permit for outside tables from the city on July 16, and the popularity shows on a warm night.

Night time gets packed outside, Vaso said.