**** Show Notes ****
The first week of October it was a Florida/Georgia road trip. The following week it was Beckley, West Virginia down to Charlotte, NC. This week it’s a South Florida run. As of October 16th, I’ve spent all of three nights in my own bed this month.
Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. Through Little Free Libraries, millions of books are exchanged each year, profoundly increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds. Here’s a map that lets you search for LFL’s near you. LINK
I was fortunate enough to have been interviewed by Pete for his podcast, The Travel Wins. Pete is a West coast roadwarrior and offers up some great conversation. Check out his feed over at Anchor.fm. LINK
Georgia is the heart of the Southern cuisine and they have the eateries to support it.
The Varsity – Atlanta, GA
What’ll Ya Have!, you’ll hear it the second your feet hit the 1950ish terrazzo floor. The Varsity is an Atlanta landmark. My father attended Georgia Tech and ate more than his share of their offerings. The food is as straightforward as it gets, hot dogs, hamburgers and fries and The Varsity has their own lingo to accompany the food. A P.C. is Plain chocolate milk always served with ice. If you order a Hot Dog plan on a Hot dog with chili and mustard. When my Dad turned 70 I went by and got 70 cups, 70 server hats and 70 napkins for his birthday celebration, yes The Varsity means that much to our family.
Lupita’s Mexican Restaurant – Norcross, GA
Sadly Lupita’s is closed, but it deserves a mention. Lupita’s was a Norcross, GA staple. I dined there for 25 years and for 16 of those years it was less than 4 miles from my office. Most of the staff had been there from the day they opened, they knew us the moment we entered and had our orders memorized. This was legit Mexican food, sizzling fajita platters, rich thick mole’ sauce and an endless supply of warm tortilla chips. Something interesting, Waffle House is based out of Norcross and there are no less than 3 Waffle House locations within 3 miles of Lupita, and more times than not Waffle House executives were enjoying lunch when we arrived. Here’s a tip, never trust a Mexican restaurant that doesn’t offer a Speedy Plate.
The Smith House – Dahlonega, GA
I have dined here since 1974, and it’s still a favorite. Classic Southern cuisine, served family style. Family style you ask, that’s where they seat you and your family at a table full of strangers. For some, it’s completely out of their comfort zone but I can assure you that everyone is friendly. Fried chicken is always on the menu, along with the meat of the day. When it comes to veggies, it’s Fried Okra, Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, Creamed Corn and Collard Greens all as good as your Grandma used to make. If you ever find yourself in Dahlonega GA do your belly a favor and stop in.
Nacoochee Village Tavern & Pizzeria – Helen, GA
For me Helen, GA means a few things, Mountains, Octoberfest and fly fishing. I’ve spent years wading the upper Chattahoochee river and one of my favorite stops is the Nacoochee Village Tavern & Pizzeria. Located on the outskirts of Helen it doesn’t get the pressure that the in-town restaurants do. The subs are huge, so go easy on the calories and order a half. The pizza is out of this world and they have a very diverse beer selection. The best part is that it’s within walking distance of Unicoi Outfitters, the best fly shop in all of Georgia.
Fung Mei – Duluth, GA
Since Lupita’s closed this has become our official lunch hangout. Fung Mei’s location is near and dear to me. This stretch of Pleasant Hill Road was my stomping grounds for 19 years, and over those years I’ve watched the rise and fall of this area, and fortunately, now I’m getting to watch the revitalization of it. The spin on Fung Mei, beside us, making fun of their name is that they offer traditional Bento boxes. For someone that eats all of a particular food item before moving on to the next Bento boxes are my style…. No food touching. My order is always the Orange Chicken bento box, it’s always fried to perfection, lightly browned and crispy, The sauce is this wonderful aromatic mix of green onion, orange rind, and syrup. Perfect for dipping your spring roll & dumplings into. My soup choice, none other than their Hot and Sour.
Bailey’s Bar-B-Cue – Ringgold, GA
Ringgold is a small town just south of the Georgia/Tennessee border. Baileys was a discovered by my wife and me several years ago when we were looking to relocate to Chattanooga, TN. This is a hole in the wall, less than 40 reviews on Yelp, but they serve solid BBQ, which is, of course, was what I had. A tasty BBQ pork sandwich, complete with a warm pressed bun. On our first trip, my wife ordered their Thursday Roast Beef special. I’m not one to stray too far off the menu, for example, it’s rare that I’d order wings at a seafood restaurant. However, my wife swears that to this day that was some of the best Roast Beef she’s ever tasted.
The Soda Fountain Cafe – Cleveland, GA
It doesn’t get more Americana than this. Positioned right of the town square inside the pharmacy, yes Americana. Your window of opportunity is narrow, they’re only open from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM and closed on Sundays. Each visit I’ve had to wait, but it’s worth it. If you’re hungry consider the Cowboy Burger, homemade BBQ sauce, bacon, cheese, and a tasty patty… if you’re still hungry (don’t judge) follow that with a Georgia Burger – peaches, Vidalia onions with a bourbon glaze draped over a fresh beef patty. Don’t pass on the Sweet Potato fries with this wonderful marshmallow cinnamon dipping sauce.
Beyond this list Georgia is a great state for food. There’s the Sun Dial in downtown Atlanta, the Dillard House in Dillard, GA and Ludacris’ Chicken + Beer located on Concourse D at the Atlanta Airport.
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