So, it may be apparent by now that I have a slight obsession with the Food Network. It started at a young age when I would go and visit my grandparents in Cocoa Beach, Fla. My Grandma Jimmie was an avid cook with Southern influences from her upbringing in Alabama. She loved food and loved cooking and watching her family eat even more. She always encouraged me to help her in the kitchen, and gave me the confidence at an early age to experiment with food.
Another big part of our time together was our late night TV sessions. Each night she would slice up some tomato, Vidalia onion and jalapeño cheese (it is a Southern thing) and we would climb into her bed and watch the Food Network into the early morning hours.
When Paula Deen made her debut on the channel, my Grandma and I were instant fans. Not only did Paula have a warm personality and infectious laugh, but also she cooked food with heart and soul. So, it came as no surprise to my family when I proclaimed that a friend and I were making a trip to The Lady & Sons in Savannah, Ga.
The restaurant sits right in the heart of Savannah’s Historic District, a quaint and picturesque area where the people have a gentle draw and welcoming hearts. It is a town that has become known for its charm and being the site of movies like “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” as well as being home to raucous St. Patty’s Day celebrations. The Lady & Sons is at the corner of Congress and Whitaker, and is a large red brick building with red and white stripped awnings that just gave it a feeling of Dixie.
Knowing that Paula has amassed quite a following, my friend Sarah and I made sure to get there as soon as it opened. We went on a Sunday when they only serve a lunch buffet, which was nice because we got the opportunity to try a little of everything. As if the massive buffet would not be enough, we started off with some fried green tomatoes. The ultimate Southern treat – they are perfectly crispy on the outside and tender on the insider and dressed with a Vidalia onion relish and roasted red pepper sauce that add the perfect hint of tangy and sweet.
Each patron is served cheesy biscuits and hoecakes, a cornmeal like pancake, which is perfect with a little maple syrup or for sopping up your collard greens. The buffet is chock full of down-home favorites – like fried chicken, fried ribs (yes, you read that right), gooey mac and cheese, creamed corn and green beans. Oh yeah there is a salad bar too, but who is going for that? For dessert, you can choose from banana puddin,’ peach cobbler or gooey butter cakes. The buffet does vary, but a full list of buffet items can be found here.
Perhaps I am biased because I was raised on the cooking of an Alabama woman where meals were built on simple ingredients and big flavors, but for me Paula Deen’s Lady and Sons was a perfect way to spend a day. Its inviting environment and traditional fixins’ make it the ideal place to go if you are looking for an authentic Southern experience. Don’t forget to pick-up a cookbook, which is signed by the Lady herself.
My Grandma Jimmie passed before my adventure to The Lady & Sons. Still somehow watching Paula Deen and cooking my Grandma’s recipes always makes it feel like she is right here.
About The Lady & Sons: