A Guide to Georgia’s Homestyle Restaurants

The Dillard House

The Dillard House

For Breakfast

Not all homestyle restaurants in Georgia serve breakfast, but when you’re looking for the combination of the two, you’ll need to visit the Dillard House in Dillard. The Dillard House serves up a bountiful breakfast of meats, eggs, potato hash, fresh fruits, homemade preserves, freshly baked pastries and so much more. My favorites are the proteins, and I always have to have seconds of the pork tenderloin. The Dillard House is one of those “food for the soul” kinds of places, and besides breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so start your day right by feeding your soul well here. Go with high expectations because you’re sure not to be disappointed.

Buckner's

Buckner’s Family Restaurant

For Fried Chicken and Dessert

One common menu item at all homestyle restaurants in the South is fried chicken. I doubt it’s written law that they have to have fried chicken (and lots of it) on the table, but I’m pretty sure it’s understood. Believe me, I’ve eaten a lot of fried chicken at a lot of great restaurants, but the best fried chicken I’ve eaten in Georgia to date is at Buckner’s in Jackson. Buckner’s is just off I-75 exit 201, and they serve up some of the most delicious Southern classics you can find. While normally I’d go for a leg or thigh, you’ll only find breast on the table at Buckner’s. Breast meat tends to be dry, but Buckner’s keeps its white meat juicy, tender and perfectly crispy. There’s a slight sweetness to it that I’ve not found duplicated anywhere else in Georgia. To top it all off, their dessert is fantastic, too. They only serve one dessert, but they do it right. Buckner’s Georgia peach cobbler is the perfect finish to one tasty meal.

Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room

Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room

For Sides

You can expect a wide array of incredible veggies and carbs at the homestyle table, but no one cooks sides as well as Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room in Savannah. Mrs. Wilkes’ showcases all sorts of fresh veggies like green beans, rutabagas, butter beans, peas and more. They’re even getting cornbread dressing right; it’s incredibly moist and super delicious. Mrs. Wilkes’ cabbage was some of the finest I’ve ever eaten. This homestyle restaurant is one of those places where you could definitely fill up on sides alone. Expect to wait in line for up to a couple of hours, but you and your taste buds will be glad you did.

For Extras

Once you’ve had the best breakfast, the best chicken and dessert, and the best sides, what’s left on the table? Well, the Smith House in Dahlonega is taking the table extras to a whole new level. You’re going to consistently get great chicken, great sides and dessert, but you’re also going to get some great extras. One of my favorite accompaniments to Southern fare is relishes and pickles. The Smith house makes and serves up the best pickled squash you’ll find. It perfectly pairs with the savory veggies and offers a slightly tangy, sweet crunch that you just can’t find elsewhere. You’ll want to take some home, too. Look in the gift shop before you leave to make sure you can have this “secret” treasure at your home table.

Head shotLori Hennesy is a self-proclaimed foodie and author of delisghga.com, a Georgia only food blog.  Lori is on a constant search for unique eats, great Georgia products, delicious restaurants and anything food related.  For Lori it’s all about the bottom line, “what’s the next meal going to be?”  

Civil War Wednesday: The Battle of Brown’s Mill

Major General William T. Sherman issued Special Field Orders, No. 42 on July 25, 1864, once again communicating his plans for taking the city of Atlanta. Sherman’s horse soldiers received special mention in the orders, which indicated the troopers’ main mission rested on destroying portions of the rail network lining the city.

Brigadier General Edward McCook.

Brigadier General Edward McCook.

Saddles began filling on the morning of July 28; soon, two brigades under Brigadier General Edward McCook left a dusty trail as they rode toward the Macon and Western Railroad. After destroying large sections of this line, the horsemen turned their sights toward the Atlanta and West Point Railroad. A surprise awaited the riders as they traveled the Ricketyback Road when Southern iron of a different form – the cavalry soldiers with Major General Joe Wheeler – twisted the Federals’ plans, much as they had intended to warp the tracks of the Atlanta and West Point.

Hard fighting, often hand-to-hand, took place along the Ricketyback Road, and when Confederate reinforcements, in the form of the 1st and 9th Tennessee Battalions blocked the intersection onto the Corinth Road, the battle turned into a rout. Wheeler smelled blood, rose in his saddle, and encouraged his soldiers from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas to “Follow me! My brave Men!” McCook, shaken with the sudden onslaught, sat in his saddle, almost as if in a daze, mumbling, “What shall we do? What shall we do?” Colonel James Brownlow, son of Tennessee’s infamous “Parson” Brownlow had the answer. Escape! As Brownlow maneuvered toward the Chattahoochee River, at a position near Franklin, McCook and company rode toward the New River. The brave soldiers of the 8th Iowa fought a strong rearguard holding action, which allowed several Federal troopers to avoid a trip to Andersonville’s Camp Sumter. Local African-Americans served as guides for both fleeing forces, as they attempted to navigate through the unfamiliar territory.

Major General Joe Wheeler.

Major General Joe Wheeler.

Early on the morning of July 31, lead elements of Wheeler’s force caught up with Brownlow’s command and took several prisoners. Crossing the Chattahoochee proved a very slow process, and those boys in blue remaining on the “wrong” side of the river became prisoners. In his after-action report, McCook stated, “At Brown’s Mill…I was surrounded by an overwhelming force.” A fitting summation for a costly defeat, one Sherman echoed in a communication to Washington, “The loss of this cavalry is a serious one to me.”

One bright moment for the Federals did emerge from their suffering at Brown’s Mill, when Private George Healey with the 5th Iowa Cavalry received the Medal of Honor for assisting in the capture of five Confederate soldiers. Federal casualties during the action numbered 1,400 with almost 1,300 taken as prisoners; Wheeler lost around 700 dead, wounded, or missing.

[1] David Evans, Sherman’s Horsemen: Union Cavalry Operations in the Atlanta Campaign (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996), 261.

[1] Ibid., 264.

Images courtesy Library of Congress.

mikeMichael K. Shaffer is the Assistant Director and Lecturer for Kennesaw State University’s Civil War Center. He is a Civil War historian, author, and newspaper columnist, and a member of the Society of Civil War Historians. He serves on the boards of the Civil War Round Table of Cobb County and the River Line Historic Area, and assists the Friends of Camp McDonald as a Civil War consultant.

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Girls Day in Alpharetta

Alpharetta Farmers MarketAlpharetta, Ga., known for its year-round family-friendly events, welcoming community, delectable foodie experiences and exceptional shopping, is the perfect place to plan an adventurous weekend getaway with the girls. I had been trying to get my friends together for awhile for a girls’ day, but with our busy social and travel schedules, it is hard to find a day when everyone is free. Thankfully, the girls were free on an action-packed weekend in Alpharetta, so we decided to take advantage of the beautiful Georgia summer day to explore. We started off the day piling in my Camry in Buckhead around 7:30 a.m. and driving up to Alpharetta, a mere 22 miles north of Atlanta.

Our first stop was the Alpharetta Farmers Market, which was already bustling with couples on leisurely morning strolls and families planning their meals for the week. The vendors had that great Georgia hospitality and were eager to strike up conversations and to let us sample their specialties. We were blown away with the variety of goodies available, including everything from fresh fruits and veggies to homemade Bloody Mary mix.

Exploring Alpharetta Art in the Park in downtown AlpharettaAfter browsing the market and making a few unexpected (and very tasty) purchases, we made our way over to Milton Avenue just around the corner to browse the pieces at Alpharetta Art in the Park. The event happens the last full weekend of every month from April to October. Each piece of art on display was created by local artists, some of whom were creating art as we were strolling through.

The streets of Alpharetta were filled with people, and the doors of the downtown shops were propped open and ready for business. We dropped into Sis and Moon’s to browse the eclectic artwork, Gallery 35 to see pieces from local artists, and the Cotton House Antiques and Consignments to get some decorating ideas. Each store was filled with shoppers looking for great deals.

Having a fun time at Bucca di BeppoNext, we were off to lunch at Bucca di Beppo. The staff was exquisite; they led us on a tour of the kitchen (where the highly coveted “Kitchen Table” sits) and to the back room where we had our own private vintage setting to dine in. We all shared a bowl of apple gorgonzola salad and chicken saltimbocca topped with sage, prosciutto, artichoke hearts, lemon and capers. Authentic Italian fare was just what we needed to refuel for the rest of the day.

After filling up, it was time for the spa! We were greeted with warm smiles at the Youthopia Medical Spa, a world-class skin rejuvenation and total body wellness facility. We checked in easily with an iPad as we sipped coconut water and talked excitedly about what procedure we were having done. Each of the girls had a different service, including a pedicure, massage, teeth whitening and facial. We were beyond pleased with the staff’s service and have all vowed to return on our own for another spa day.

Then, we were off to Vino 100’s weekly wine tasting party, which takes place every Saturday. (They also offer complimentary wine tasting daily.) After sampling an excellent array of wines, we ventured to Alpine Bakery and Trattoria for dinner, where we were immediately greeted with friendly hosts who seated us in a quiet table toward the back of the restaurant. The lighting and soft music created the perfect ambiance. Our appetizer was a combination of a caprese salad stacked with mozzarella – my taste buds literally jumped with excitement! We continued our delectable meal with the grilled sea scallops and the lobster, alpine rustica (penne baked with shrimp, chicken, prosciutto, and gratinata sauce), lobster ravioli and baked fussili bolognese. Everything was delicious, and we were “forced” to end the meal with a slice of one of Alpine Bakery’s famous cheesecakes, which was enough to feed all four of us for a week.

Enjoying great company at Matilda'sIt was time to cap off the night at Matilda’s. There is something special about Matilda’s – maybe it’s the hospitable environment and the diverse crowd nestled around funky tables enjoying the company of friends as they share bottles of wine and goodies from picnic baskets. Or maybe it is looking up and seeing that you are comfortably settled under perfectly placed pine trees that make you feel like you are in your own little world as you sit back and sway to the funky tunes of the performing artists. Alpharetta is well known for its Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, but the smaller music venues are starting to set themselves apart and help pinpoint Alpharetta as a music lover’s destination. Matilda’s was the perfect spot to end our day. As we walked back to my car to head back to Atlanta, the planning was already in full force for the next girls outing in “awesome Alpharetta.”

See a video of our Girls Day in Alpharetta here.

Caitlyn BlizzardFlorida native turned Georgian, Caitlyn Blizzard graduated from the University of West Florida with a degree in Communication Arts.  She is the communications manager with the Alpharetta Convention and Visitors Bureau and loves advocating all the fun and unique things to do in awesome Alpharetta. She enjoys exploring metro Atlanta attractions and restaurants and spending time with her miniature schnauzer, Winstyn.

 

Georgia Grown: Eagle Creek Brewing Company

1072161_692982684062218_1200291403_oName: Eagle Creek Brewing Company

Where: Statesboro, Georgia

Story: Owners Daniel Long and Franklin Dismuke are new 70-441 to the Brewery business. Just a couple years ago, Long was given a home brew kit for Christmas and started tinkering with his own brew.  After much success at brewing five gallon batches, Long invited his friend, Franklin Dismuke to go tour a brewery in Athens.  Long describes the experience as basically the moment the idea of their brewery, Eagle Creek, was born.  The two looked at each other and said “we could do this.”  Today, Eagle Creek is doing it!  They have their facility just off of the downtown square open and fermenting hops.  They credit their young brewer Cole Brown, perhaps the youngest in the country at just 22 years old, as following through with their vision and tastes.  “He was a perfect fit” says Long.  The trio of Long, Dismuke 70-445 and Brown are now touring Statesboro and Savannah to unveil their inaugural brew, the Low Country Pale Ale.  New varieties will be introduced later this year.

EC Low Country Pale AleWhere to Buy: Currently you’ll have to make the drive to Statesboro or Savannah to try the Low Country Pale Ale.  Statesboro is conveniently located off of Interstate 16 and has a lot to offer for foodies and brew lovers.  Try the beer on tap at local restaurants including 40 East Grill, South and Vine, the Millhouse and Gnats Landing.  Want to take some home?  Eagle Creek isn’t brewing yet, but you can get a growler or two at Clyde’s Minit Mart and Tom’s Beverage Center, both in Statesboro.  In the words of the guys at Eagle Creek, “Don’t Fear the Foam!”

 

Fan Photo Friday

Submit your Georgia photos for the chance to be featured:

Helen, Georgia by Audie Craig. Submitted via Facebook.

Helen, Georgia by Audie Craig. Submitted via Facebook.

Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia by @micpcarlisle. Submtited via Instagram.

Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia by @micpcarlisle. Submtited via Instagram.

Gator in the Okeefenokee Swamp by William Merce Photography. Submitted via Flickr.

Gator in the Okeefenokee Swamp by William Merce Photography. Submitted via Flickr.