Sunday, September 16, 2012

Mrs. Wilkes, you had me at hello!

When I travel I always like to research where it is I am going.  I like to find out the must see attractions and the best bars and restaurants. So when my girls and I planned a trip to Tybee Island just a few miles from Savannah, GA I was excited.

You see, I have been wanting to visit Tybee, ever since reading about it in Pearl Cleage's Baby Brother Blues.  Since, I am waiting on my very own Blue Hamilton I knew I had to check out this magical place.  Tybee doesn't disappoint, its beautiful.  We saw dolphins, sting rays and ate amazing seafood.  What makes Tybee truly special though is the sense of peace and serenity of the place with the fun, causal Southern fun of Savannah only 20 miles away.  

View from our rented one-bedroom condo

Savannah is such an interesting city.  It is a virtual ghost town and southern charm exudes out of every corner. But that my curvy friends is not what excited me most about Savannah. No, it was the allure of fried chicken!

An avid Food Network and Travel Channel watcher I'd heard of Mrs. Wilkes.  The place is often mentioned in best places to eat list, all raving about the fried chicken, beef stew, country biscuits and more.  I HAD to go there, h-a-d to. I mean what curvy girl turns down a legendary Southern meal, and on vacation nonetheless.

OMG, Mrs. Wilkes is one of those places you MUST eat at once in your life.  This place is on my food bucket list. (Yes, I'm curvy I have a food bucket list.)  The food here was an experience.  

First, the wait is insane.  But you know that going in.  The thing about the wait, however; you get to meet the people in line and you have an idea about who you'll be eating with, since at Mrs. Wilkes you're eating family style.  

Once you get in the door you are lead in to a home with tables all set up, you pick an empty table and sit down to a full table full of Southern goodness.  One bite, sent me way back in to my childhood.  If I didn't know better my great grandmother, or Mother as we called her, was back there cooking.  They even made sweet potatoes like hers with coconut.  I found out that that style of southern cooking is known as "low country," and the delicious flavors took me back to the recipes and flavors I had grown up eating and learning how to cook.

Was it the best fried chicken I ever ate? Not sure about that one, but it is up there with some of the best I've ever eaten.  My other personal favorites on the menu: 

  • beef stew (they make this simple dish taste like a rock star)
  • sweet potatoes (mashed with butter, coconut, raisins and pecans--like Mother made)
  • black-eyed peas (better than mine, and mine are d*mn good)
  • turnips
  • greens
  • dirty rice/jambalaya
  • mashed potatoes and gravy
  • cabbage
  • BBQ pork (also, in a word ridiculous)
  • creamed corn
  • cornbread

The list above, isn't even HALF of what they bring you out to eat.  With sweet tea or water to drink, its like the Southern Sunday Dinner on acid.  What's more they bring out cobbler or banana pudding for dessert!

Mrs. Wilkes has a winning formula, good service, consistent delicious food and a heritage of low country southern cooking that made the trip to Savannah delicious and I certainly left a bit curvier.

Rent a condo with Tybee Vacation Rentals stay on the north end of the island if you prefer dolphin watching and less traffic and south if you want more local attractions, bars, etc.

Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room
107 West Jones Street
Savannah, GA 31401
Open Monday-Friday
$18, cash only 

(pictured above, the spread POST meal)


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