Hole-in-the-wall restaurants are by far some of the best kept secrets and hidden jewels in all of the South. Well, they aren't really secrets to true Southerners, but they are to the rest of the world. We are those strange Southerners who drive hours out of the way just to stop by a local food dive. Or, better yet, we plan our trips around restaurants. I have many many that top my list and not all are necessarily small, but I'll try to keep this short. The Blue Willow Inn www.bluewillowinn.com 294 N. Cherokee Rd. (Ga. Highway 11) Social Circle, GA 30025 (770) 464-2131 Toll Free 1-800-552-8813 If you have never been here before you don't even know what you are missing!! It's convenient to I-20 east of Atlanta and it had the best southern food buffet you could ever imagine. Their fried green tomatoes are the best around!! It's a classy twist on a buffet and the atmosphere is very Olde South! Reservations are not required, but are recommended. Expect to pay $16.95-around $25 per person. That includes drink, unlimited trips to the salad bar, main buffet, and dessert bar. So glad it's only 40 min. down the road from me :) The Dillard House www.dillardhouse.com 768 Franklin Street Dillard, GA 30537 (706) 746-5393The setting and the views are breathtaking as well! This is another family style dining restaurant. At the Dillard House they bring you a dish of every single thing they have on the menu, and if you eat it all and you want more you just order more. Whatever you don't eat gets boxed up and sent home with you. As you can see there is no shortage of food and everything is delicious! It is around $25-$30 per person, which includes your drink as well. Dupuy's Oyster Shop http://www.dupuysoystershop.com/Home_Page.html Don't be fooled by its name, it is hardly an oyster shop. Just look over their menu and you'll find many decadent dishes. When we were there one of the specials was Crab Au Gratin, let me tell you it was one of the best things I have EVAH put in my mouth!! So rich, creamy and decadent. Oh what I wouldn't give to just have one more bite. This place is totally off the beaten path, but is well worth the drive! Loveless Cafe outside of Nashville, TN www.lovelesscafe.com 8400 Highway 100 Nashville, TN 37221-4012 (615) 646-9700 Expect to wait for a table, but it is worth every second of the wait. It is true family style dining and their biscuits are some of the best around! When we were there one of the veggie specials was creamed spinach. It was love in the mouth fo' sho'! Indian Pass Raw Bar
www.indianpassrawbar.com 8391 CR C30A Port Saint Joe, FL 32456 (850) 227-1670 Totally off the beaten path unless you are vacationing there, but cute atmosphere (if you can get past all the icky Florida Gator stuff hehe) and great seafood. I had crab stuffed shrimp with a pesto sauce and it was divine! Mr. Right had all you can eat crab legs and they were equally delicious!! Tomato Shed Cafe at Stono Market http://www.stonofarmmarket.com/tomatoshedcafe.html 842 Main Road Johns Island, SC 29455 843-559-9999 Only open for lunch and never on Sundays, so make sure you call ahead to see if they are open and what their hours are. The cafe is located within a small market where they sell fresh from the garden veggies and they also sell made Take-and-Bake meals, which are larger versions of what's on their lunch menu for you to take home and feed the family! When I tell you that their food is to die for, I am NOT exaggerating at all. It's divine! Be sure and try their famous tomato pie-you won't regret it! Get dessert, too :) Well, I guess I told a little fib when I said I would try and keep it short. Well, not entirely...I could list dozens of these scrumptious little hole-in-the-walls :) I hope y'all will get to visit some of these places if you haven't already! Now I need to go jog since I may have gained 10 lbs. just reminiscing on all of this yummy goodness! The South has the best food. Period.