Headlined "Milledgeville restaurants: Gone, but not forgotten," Rick Millians' column in the weekend edition was a nostalgic treat to us old-timers who were reminded of personal experiences in many of the eating establishments mentioned. Of particular interest to me was Pat's Place, a popular barbecue restaurant on the Sandersville highway about seven miles east of Milledgeville. It was located at the point that Kings Road meets Hwy. 24.
Pat's Place served a unique Brunswick stew like nothing you can find in barbecue places today. I don't have the recipe, but I can tell you that it was loaded with lean and tasty pulled pork and colored with golden kernels of corn.
Inside the restaurant was a waved mirror that humorously distorted images. If you stood close to it, you looked like a fat dwarf, but if you backed off a bit, you looked like a beanpole. My dad and I never grew tired of making faces in the mirror.
A monkey was tethered outside near a tree. My step-dad, Frederic Arnold, was fond of telling us about once sitting in a swing beneath the tree and how the monkey sat beside him and bit him on the arm. It was just a nip, not a vicious bite, but Frederic understood it meant the swing belonged to the monkey and he didn't want to share it.
I also well remember Grant's Restaurant, better known as Skeetter Grant's. At different times, it was located on both sides of Hancock Street downtown. I best recall it on the north side, near the Campus Theater. Once in the early 1950s, I went to a summer camp somewhere in south Georgia. The camp was OK, but the food was rock-bottom awful. All week I dreamed of Skitter's hamburger steak.
When the week finally ended and I got back to Milledgeville, I quickstepped to Grant's for a hamburger steak, fries and sweet tea. It cost 93 cents.
I look forward to Millians' next column, which he promises will discuss the mystery of the recipe of the famous chili dog served at Dodo's Pool Hall. I always wondered why those hot dogs were so special. Dodo, incidentally, was a classmate of mine at Baldwin High. His real name was Edward Hollis.