Tag Archives: Georgia Restaurants

Watching the Stories at Maebob’s, Irwinton

When I stopped at Maebob’s Diner in 2017 [the date of this photograph], it was the first time I’d eaten there since my college days, and the food was just as good as it was in the early 1990s. I’m not sure how long the place has been open, but I’m saying it’s at least 30 years. There is nothing pretentious about the place and nothing fancy, but the homestyle Southern food does all the talking. It’s really the only gathering place in tiny Irwinton and much of Wilkinson County passes through here at one time or another. The day I was there, a soap opera was playing on the television, and one of the servers and a couple of the customers were paying attention when they could. It made me think of my grandmothers referring to soap operas as “the stories”. They watched them religiously and you knew not to call them while they were on, which, depending on the shows they watched, was anytime between 12:30 and 4PM.

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Filed under --WILKINSON COUNTY GA--, Irwinton GA

Steffens Restaurant, 1948, Kingsland

Steffens Restaurant has been a Kingsland and Highway 17 landmark since it first opened in 1948. Trellis Crews writes: I owned & operated Steffens Restaurant from August 23, 1989 until December 31, 2007. This is the original location which is about 4 miles from the Florida line. As a note of interest I worked there as a waitress in the late 60’s before the interstate I 95 came through & in the 80’s (a fire shut it down in the 70’s) with the previous owners Darrell & Willie Mae Dyal who purchased it from the Steffens family 23 years earlier. It retains much of the charm of the roadside diners that once thrived along the Coast Highway when it was the main route to Florida on the Eastern Seaboard.

The restaurant is almost always busy, attracting both locals and road trippers.

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Filed under --CAMDEN COUNTY GA--, Kingsland GA

Mr. Fish Fry King, Cordele

This a soul food-seafood restaurant. The murals are nice.

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Filed under --CRISP COUNTY GA--, Cordele GA

General Putnam Restaurant, Eatonton

Since a fire destroyed the General Putnam Motel in 2018, the restaurant is all that remains, and it probably won’t be around much longer. This was a popular location for tourists on US 441 in the pre-interstate days and beyond, but is best known as one of the set locations for the movie My Cousin Vinny. It’s just north of Eatonton, but I believe a recent expansion of the municipal boundary places it within the city limits today. It likely dates to the late 1940s or early 1950s.

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Filed under --PUTNAM COUNTY GA--

Floyd’s Hamburger Shack, Fitzgerald

A friend recently reached out to let me know that I should photograph this Fitzgerald landmark because it’s about to be razed for redevelopment, as are all the other adjacent commercial structures. (Thanks, Sara Padgett). The little brick building at the corner of Merrimac Drive and the Ten Mile Stretch will always be remembered as Floyd’s Hamburger Shack, but its history goes back a bit further.

Francis Marion “Frank” Malcolm II (1874-1954) came to Fitzgerald from Waycross in 1906, and in 1910 he bought the largest single tract of land (11 acres) in the city, to which he moved a home from Alapaha Street (still standing) and built other structures over time. [A house he built across the road from his own, in 1948, is where I spent the first six years of my life]. His grandson, renowned artist David Malcolm, told me that the ‘Floyd’s’ building was built in 1930 as a cannery, which employed young women. He even related that my grandmother, Nettie Pate Brown once worked there before she married my grandfather. After the cannery shut down, it was a Venetian blind shop and later, a grocery store.

The association with Floyd’s came in 1952 when J. W. Floyd moved his popular short-order business from the Five-Story Building (Garbutt-Donovan) to this location, which was closer to the new homes and subdivisions being built on the west side of Fitzgerald.

Later owners were Wade and Myrtice Malcolm and their daughter and son-in-law, Barbara and Varnell Hendley. Walter Owens and C. L. Martin also operated a barber shop in the connected space next door to the restaurant.

Hamburgers topped with grilled onions, a concoction known as Mama’s Stew, and barbecue smoked in the pit out back were required eating by generations of families in Fitzgerald. The barbecued goat was a particular favorite.

Pam Hunter, daughter of Barbara and Varnell Hendley, kindly shared the recipe for Mama’s Stew. [Mama was Pam’s grandmother, Myrtice Malcolm]. She writes: I think great recipes are made to pass down to future generations and share with friends! You will need 2 lbs. Ground pork*, 4 lbs. Ground beef and one diced onion. Brown this up in a large pot and drain off the grease. Cover all this with water and add salt and pepper to taste. Next dice 6 large baking potatoes and add to the mixture. Make sure water still covers all. Cook until potatoes are tender. Now add 2 cans of cream corn, one can of LeSueur English peas(drain), 3 cups of Heinz ketchup, and 3/4 cup Heinz 57 sauce. Do not substitute . It will not taste the same! Go easy when adding salt as the ketchup and 57 are both salty, but those taters need some salt when cooking! I hope your families enjoy this as much as mine does! Don’t forget the crackers and salad! This makes a lot, but you can freeze it and it is still good!

*Ground pork and sausage are not the same thing, if you’re wondering. You can find ground pork in most groceries and specialty meat markets.

An iconic hamburger sign was located on the side of the building and was synonymous with Floyd’s.

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Filed under --BEN HILL COUNTY GA--, Fitzgerald GA

4 Way Lunch, 1931, Cartersville

Fred Garrison began selling made-to-order hamburgers on the corner of Main Street and Gilmer Street in downtown Cartersville in 1931. The business was so successful, in large part due to the boost in traffic from tourists passing through on the Dixie Highway, that Garrison built the no-frills lunch counter you see today. Fred’s son Ernest took over in 1972 and operated it for the rest of his life. It survived a fire in 1993 and remains as popular now as it was in 1931.

You can visit Monday-Saturday from 6AM-3PM, but you have to bring cash, and don’t try calling ahead to place an order. The 4 Way prides itself on the fact that they’ve never had a telephone.

Cartersville Downtown Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --BARTOW COUNTY GA--, Cartersville GA

Tucker’s Barbecue, 1947, Macon

One of Macon’s oldest restaurants, Tucker’s Barbecue was established at this location on Broadway in 1947.

Originally a drive-in, it saw its busiest days when Broadway was the prime industrial area of Macon, supporting several factories. Though this stretch of Broadway is now one of the most desolate areas in town, Tucker’s hangs on and still serves its original recipe of chopped pork marinated in a vinegary sauce. It has its loyal fans and detractors alike, but its very survival says they owners are doing something right.

The old sign is an amazing survivor itself, and is a popular stop for photographers visiting Macon.

 

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Filed under --BIBB COUNTY GA--, Macon GA

Site of the Original Stuckey’s, 1937, Eastman

This structure, located on the site of Williamson S. Stuckey, Sr.’s (1909-1977) original roadside stand, has the familiar teal blue roof that was a beacon to tourists throughout America from the 1940s until the 1970s. I’m  not sure as to the date of this structure, but it’s probably from the 1940s or 1950s. The Stuckey’s Candy Factory, built in 1948, is located on the property, as well.

In 1937, Mr. Stuckey had a bumper crop of pecans and opened a roadside stand to sell them to the many tourists who passed through town on busy US 23. His wife, Ethel Mullis Stuckey (1909-1991), concocted a rolled pecan confection which quickly became Stuckey’s most iconic treat, the Pecan Log Roll (some love them, some not so much, but their impact on the business can’t be understated). While pecans and pecan-based treats were always the focus, Mr. Stuckey realized that travelers wanted more, and soon added other confections, a restaurant, souvenirs, and gasoline service.

By the late 1960s, there were over 350 Stuckey’s franchises throughout the United States, and their teal blue roofs were as iconic then as McDonald’s golden arches are today. The family sold the business to Pet Milk in 1967, but the focus became more corporate and less personal and changing travel patterns saw the rise of other roadside businesses that were quite competitive. From 1967-1977, Williamson (Billy) Stuckey, Jr., served five terms in the U. S. Congress. In 1985, determined to see his family name return to national prominence, Mr. Stuckey and a group of investors bought back the family business from Pet Milk. Though the familiar Stuckey’s locations of yesterday are no longer in operation, the brand remains strong and store-within-store locations are once again found throughout the eastern United States. In 2019, Stephanie Stuckey took over as CEO with plans of expanding even more, insuring the Stuckey’s name will be known well into the 21st century.

 

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Filed under --DODGE COUNTY GA--, Eastman GA

Altman’s Restaurant, Eulonia

Altman’s is one of my favorite restaurants in McIntosh County and whether you’re a local or a first time visitor, you’ll feel equally welcome. Their specialty, of course, is local shrimp, but in addition to other local seafood specialties, they have some of the best fried chicken around.

That tide clock in the background isn’t for decoration; the men who bring in the shrimp eat here. That’s always a good sign.

The daily buffet is small but always has something for everyone. Their shrimp and brown gravy heaped over rice (below) may be an acquired taste for some but it’s a local favorite.

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Filed under --MCINTOSH COUNTY GA--, Eulonia GA

Speed’s Kitchen, Shellman Bluff

Considered by many to be one of the best seafood restaurants in Georgia*, Speed’s Kitchen is an unassuming place, impervious to aesthetics but instead completely focused on the quality of the food they serve.

They have very limited hours and they don’t take credit cards but aficionados will tell you it’s well worth the wait. For the impatient, they note on their menu that they’d rather you come back when you’re not in a rush.

Find them on Facebook or Trip Advisor for menu, location, and hours.

*- Shellman Bluff has another iconic local seafood restaurant, Hunters Cafe. We’ll visit there on our next trip.

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Filed under --MCINTOSH COUNTY GA--, Shellman Bluff GA