She began having several people talk about going to "Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House" while we were there and so we began investigating. It's only open Monday - Friday, only from 11 am - 2pm, and there is limited seating. The line begins early in the mornign, and you either line up early to get a seat, or you are out of luck. Southern cooking at its best, served family style, and several people even said that they liked it better than....gasp....Paula Deen's! (Don't worry Paula - I still am hopelessly devoted to you, but I'm just saying what people said...)
I had heard about this place somewhere along the way....maybe Food Network? But I was initially skeptical. Our only shot to go eat was going to be Friday at lunch. The day before we ran a half marathon. Not really the perfect day to go indulge on a feast quite like that. And I'm not really a poster girl for self-control when it comes to yumminess like that. But as we got closer to the weekend and we both continued having people tell us "Oh, you've just GOT to go eat there" I gave in. We promised each other to slap wrists if we started reaching for fried chicken piece #4 or something, but just didn't want to miss out!!!
We met in the hotel for breakfast that morning - Beth & Anthony had gotten in late the night before. It was great to see them and know that the fun was about to begin! We made our plan and then headed downtown to get in line!! :)
It's the cutest little place - just this little bitty sign out front. Parking is near impossible downtown. Lined up with the crowds. Had plenty of time to start the picture taking! :) Started getting nervous about how windy and cold it was...and begin the first of a LOT of discussions on what we would wear for the race....
It's really quite an amazing thing this place has going. They've been there for about a hundred years. Only open M-F, 11-2 pm. Apparently makes plenty of money and has no need to change what they are doing!! They would open the door, seat about 80 people, close the door again and say we'll seat more in a little while. And so the wait would continue. Then people would come out of the door, make hilarious comments like "man that was good! Totally worth it! Loosen your pants up!", etc - so funny.
Finally it was our turn to go in and man were we excited!! :)
So glad I changed my mind about this place! We totally would have missed out!
This is what the table looked like when we sat down. I think David counted 22 dishes! Everyone had sweet tea at their plate. The waitress came by and asked if anyone wanted unsweet or water (I thought she was going to cut my head off when I asked...ashamedly....for water), and then she said "the food has been blessed - go ahead!!"
Oh my - it was incredible. Fried chicken, mac & cheese, buttered noodles & peas, okra, rutabaga, sweet potatoes, stuffing (with hard cooked eggs in it?), the best collards everyone said they'd ever had, cheesy potatoes, rice & gravy, macaroni salad, baked beans, black eyed peas, biscuits & cornbread, and a ton more I'm sure I"m forgetting. It was amazing. We ate our platefuls and then pushed away from the table! They brought us cherry cobbler or banana pudding (which I unashamedly STILL love Paula's recipe for banana pudding WAY better) and then told us that when we were done, we could carry our cup, silverware, and plates to the dishwasher lady! Seriously! It was the cutest!!
They accept cash or check only. No receipts. The man puts your money in a basket and pulls out your change. Had this great shirt in their little "gift shop" area. The man said that Mrs. Wilkes grandson now runs the shop - he was the one that seated us - and that they are one of only 4 restaurants in GA that are still allowed to serve family style. If they were to sell the restaurant out of the family, they'd have to align with new healthy regularions/codes and switch to buffet. Family style is sort of a fun thing - luckily we were sitting with a cute family of 5 that we met while in line. The mom and dad were both running in the race and they had their 3 kids with them that were super sweet.
So we were SO glad we didn't miss out - totally glad we went - and DIDN'T eat too much! We decided to walk around a little bit and head over to the expo to get our race stuff next!!!