First opened in 1953 as the Richcliff Restaurant, by Richard Stroup and Cliff Adams, the Okefenokee Restaurant is a familiar landmark to hungry locals and a favorite with many who travel to nearby Jacksonville for the annual Georgia-Florida game.
Just look for the sign with the alligator.
Lots of Restaurants in Folkston closed in the early 1980s when I-95 was completed but this one keeps going. Looking forward to trying this place out sometime.
My wife and I eat there frequently…and we live an hour away in Jacksonville. Saturday morning breakfast is our favorite. Always good and a great atmosphere!
Since you’re interested in the culture that surrounds these places:
My grandpa would refer to this restaurant as “The Okefenok’ ” (Phonetic: OAK-fen-OAK) and much of my family still does, if they don’t just call it “The Restaurant”. The restaurant wasn’t the same after the fire, though.
In the 90s (and probably before that, I just wasn’t around then) they had a communal table where “all the old grandpas” (as my grandpa would tell me) would sit and drink coffee every morning, gathering to talk about the goings on in the town. There’s actually video of the restaurant from this era, and of the “grandpas” table (though I don’t remember what they call it), taken when George Winterling (Jacksonville weatherman) visited Folkston. My grandpa is actually in the video if I remember right, as he liked to sit at the head of the table.
Following the fire, and possibly a change in management, the group had trouble finding a place as good for their early morning coffee. They tried the McDonald’s and the Burger King, but both lacked the atmosphere that The Restaurant used to have, so the gatherings were always much smaller.
The restaurant still the best green beans other than my grandma’s homemade, though. I’ve never been able to find green beans like they have anywhere outside of south Georgia. I’d also recommend the fried okra and chicken & dumplings, when they have them. Their popcorn shrimp was my favorite when I was a kid (and the serving size was a mountain of it piled on a plate), but I’ve grown out of my taste for shrimp, so I don’t like it much any more.
Do they serve frog legs and alligator here, along with standard Southern foods?
Not sure about alligator, but they do serve frog legs and all the standard Southern fare. I would guess they have alligator, though.
Love to eat here!