Down Home Cooking!
I was walking through the streets of old Savannah GA when I noticed a large group of people standing outside this home. I didn't pay much attention to it so I continued on my walk sight seeing and such. It wasn't until a few hours later that I walked back by this area and thought I would see what the fuss was about. It was a restaurant... Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room to be specific.
I noticed there were only 2 people in line so I walked up and got in line behind them. Just as I did the host asked me how many in my party and I said "Just one. Me" and he says "You're in luck, we have a single seat available". I walked in through the door and the host flipped the sign behind me to indicate they were closed for the day. I found this all odd since I had no clue what I was walking into.
I was led through a couple of rooms filled with people eating lunch and was shown to my single seat. Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room is just that, you're walking into their home, being seated at a large 10 person table and served food family style. How awesome is that!?
I sat down with 10 strangers that by the end of the meal I knew everyone's name and what city they came from. Everyone here was from out of town except the gentleman to my right. He's a restaurant owner here in Savannah and mentions that he comes here once a week for lunch. The family to my left were from France and were spending 8 months in the U.S. traveling in an RV. Great road trip indeed!
The main course for today's lunch was Fried Chicken and Meatloaf. Every side dish imaginable was also laid out on the table ready to be added to my plate as well as a pitcher of southern sweet tea. My favorite! All in all the food was amazing. Everything was home made from scratch and was delicious. Talk about a pleasant surprise being lucky enough to just stumble across this great place. It felt like Thanksgiving Dinner with family....
Everyone asked how I heard about this place and they seem puzzled when I said I just walked by and had never heard of it before. Apparently Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room is quite famous here in Savannah and they're only open for lunch from 11am-2pm, Monday thru Friday. Well that explains why I saw the huge line of people standing outside when I passed by earlier. I also explained I was the last one let through the door before they closed and they remarked how fortunate I was to have made the cut so to speak. Now it's starting to set in...
The restaurant which has been here since the 1940's and as I now realize still packs people in daily. There are eight tables throughout the restaurant that seat 10 people per. They fill in every spot at the table they can so you'll be sitting with other people you may not know. This is not a big deal, in fact I loved it because it gave you a chance to meet and talk to new people while having a great lunch.
At the end of your meal you're asked to take your own dishes to the back dishwasher much like you would at home or when visiting family. It's the polite and considerate thing to do, we are in the south so it's definitely a southern thing to be polite and considerate.
This is definitely a restaurant experience that I will remember and share with my friends from here on out. I know if I hear of anyone planning to visit Savannah GA I will suggest they make it a point to stop and have lunch at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room. They won't be disappointed.