I’ve got a secret. I want to be like Guy Fieri, the spiky-haired, tattooed host of several shows on the Food Network.
Not look like him. Just eat like him.
My favorite Fieri show is “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” If I’m anywhere near a restaurant Fieri has featured on his show, I want to go there.
I’ve tried some of his “Diners” (Maine Diner in Wells, Maine), “Drive-Ins” (South 21 Drive-In in Charlotte, N.C.) and “Dives” (Thurman Cafe in Columbus, Ohio).
For some reason, Guy hasn’t visited many restaurants in Georgia. Of the restaurants he has showcased, the majority are in Atlanta, and that’s fine. But Guy needs to come back and explore the rest of the state.
I’m here to help.
We’ve still got a couple more weeks in 2019, and I’m not going to quit eating.
So here’s my best of the best from a year of eating in Georgia (excluding the Atlanta area except for The Varsity), so far.
Brunswick stew: No contest. Holcomb’s stew is far superior to any I have eaten in these parts. You can get it in Greensboro, or at the mothership in White Plains. Go to White Plains for the atmosphere. They’ve got sawdust on the floor.
Pork BBQ: This is hard, because I have liked almost every pulled pork sandwich I’ve ever eaten. I’ll go with Fresh Air because of the smoky taste of the meat. Old Clinton has great smoke-flavored pork, too. I like to eat the meat without sauce. There’s a Fresh Air in Macon but take a trip to the original location outside Jackson.
Brisket: Martin’s Bar-B-Q in Warner Robins. Tender, melt-in-your mouth (that’s redundant, but it’s that good) smoky beef brisket. It’s right across from the main gate at Robins Air Force Base. Get there early for lunch because they run out fast.
Ribs: Kroger, right here in Milledgeville, on holiday weekends. They cook them out front, and I dare you to smell the smoke and not buy some. They’re good and a great bargain.
Steak: Town 220 Restaurant in Madison. One of the best streaks I have ever had. The service was great, and the creme brulee for dessert was delightful.
Prime Rib: Lewis Lake Restaurant in Bartow. Who would have thought it? Delicious prime rib at a fish camp out in the sticks of Jefferson County. They’re got plenty of fried seafood, too.
Fried catfish: I’ve got Down South (Sparta Highway) and Thompson’s Cove (Toomsboro) in a tie. You can’t go wrong at either place.
Fried shrimp: Another tie, this time between two restaurants in Macon: Steve’s Steak and Seafood (Arkwright Road) and Jim Shaw’s Seafood Grill (Vineville Avenue). The early bird special at Shaw’s runs from 5-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and is a great deal.
Fried chicken: I change my mind just about every day, but here’s a new entry — Honey From the Rock Cafe in Augusta. Terrific crust. It’s across from Magnolia Lane at the Augusta National Golf Course.
Chili dogs: The Varsity in Athens and Atlanta. I’ve been hooked for 50 years.
Onion rings: See above answer.
Peach ice cream: Got to be Brown’s Farm Market in Montezuma. Ice cream with real chunks of peaches. Lane’s near Fort Valley is more famous, but their peach ice cream is more like frozen peach soup.
Best deal in Milledgeville: Taco Tuesday at Los Magueyes on Highway 441 near the lake.
Best discovery: B & J’s in Darien. Crab legs, fried shrimp and steak. Order off the menu or eat at the buffet. We skipped lunch and got there early for supper to beat the crowd. I have never seen so many people eating so much food at 4 p.m. Huge portions, tasty food. We took home more than we ate.
There you go, Guy Fieri. A sampling of my year in Flavortown, Georgia.
— Rick Millians, a 1970 Baldwin High graduate, was an award-winning sports editor at newspapers in Georgia, Ohio and South Carolina before retiring. Reach him at email@example.com.