Katherine Owen

It’s no secret we are loyal to our food down in the South. Like how our treasured family recipes are kept under lock and key (aka in Mawmaw’s memory), how we argue over the superior mayonnaise, pickle, and fast-food fried chicken, and how, heaven knows, you can’t just grocery shop anywhere. In a pinch, maybe, but it’s only natural to pick favorites. Which can make things tough. You can’t get Publix fried chicken at Harris Teeter, but you can’t get those Piggly Wiggly deviled eggs at Kroger. Here, we make the case for a deep-South favorite: Winn-Dixie.

1. A True Classic. It's hard not to love a brand that also has a classic book titled after it. In Because of Winn-Dixie, the story of a young Florida girl and her adopted stray (named Winn-Dixie) transports readers (and viewers!) to a small Florida town, and the eccentric but heart-felt characters that come with such a place. The quick read takes us back to elementary school days.

2. Local Love. Winn Dixie knows local—they’re located only in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. Clearly we like the idea of shopping the South. This is the kind of small-town neighborhood shop where you just know you’re going to run into someone. Go for the groceries, leave with the gossip.

3. Rewards. Okay, but those rewards though. We know the FuelPerks program just left, but this Plenti card seems equally rewarding. Not only do you earn points at Winn Dixie but also Exxon and Mobil, and then you can turn around and use those same points back the same stores.

WATCH: Southern Living's Favorite Shops in the South

4. The Hot Bar. They say never shop on an empty stomach, right? So you might as well make a quick pit stop at the hot bar, and get a little snack. And of course, when you do, you've gotta get whatever deal they have going on...wouldn’t want to waste any food now would you? You're already here using your rewards, so you’re clearly not the kind to let a bargain slip away.

5. Signature Deli Rotisserie Chicken Salad. As staff writer Michelle Darrisaw pointed out, “Perfect for church socials, this store-made chicken salad is made fresh with weeknight staple rotisserie chicken. Order a couple of pounds for large gatherings, and dinner is set!”