HOME > Chowhound > Southeast >

Discussion

Paula Deen's restaurant

I'm wondering if her restaurant is worth the drive from Atlanta. Although much less than healthy, her food on the show sure looks mighty good.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I don't know whether that restaurant visit alone is worth the drive by itself ... but, if you are interested in Savannah dining and have other things to do or see, then I would add Lady and Sons to my itinerary ... If I happen to visit Savannah, I always try to hit this place because I like Paula Deen so much!

    1. From what I've read and from my own oppinions on such matters. If you are going there for good food, no it's not worth the drive.
      If you are going there for the experience, then yes, it probably is. Just so long as you don't drive there, eat and turn around. You would need to stay in Savannah for a while. I've never been but it looks beautiful.

      DT

      2 Replies
      1. re: Davwud

        Really don't you think you should reserve your comments for places you have been? I can't beleive you are offering opinions on places you have not been.

        1. re: peabrain1

          Well Peabrain, I was commenting on the "Experience" of eating there. If they were going there simply because it's Paula's then I'd say it was worth it. I'll visit touristy places when I'm visiting to see what all the hub bub is.
          I wasn't offering an opinion on whether the restaurant it's self is worth it.

          DT

      2. Lady and Sons is ok, but not worth a drive. Savannah has lots of other things to offer, so like the reviewer above mentioned, it might be ok if you're already planning a trip. The wait will be very long and they only take reservations for groups (over 6 or 8, I can't remember). When I went to Lady & Sons, we ordered off the menu, rather than the buffet, and it was heavy butter laden southern food - tasty, but because it's full of fat (just like the show!)
        I've heard good things about Bubba's restaurant (her other venture), on the way to Tybee Island, but I wouldn't call either restaurant "destination" dining. Especially from Atlanta. There are much better local southern places nearby.

        1. If you're in Savannah, and a fan of Paula Deen, then go for it. Worth the drive? No. But Savannah is gorgeous, so you could make a day/weekend trip of it.

          1. Definitely not worth the trip only for the restaurant. Food is so-so and nothing like what you see on her show. But, Sanannah is a lovely city and well worth the trip. There are other much better restaurants there.

            1 Reply
            1. re: RonG

              That settles it! When I go to Georgia I am always in the Altanta area. There is plenty and I mean plenty of good food right there in Atlanta. Thanks to all for the info.

            2. I'll add to the chorus. If you're already in Savannah, check it out. But don't drive to Savannah just for Lady & Sons. We had a very nice meal at Sapphire Grill a couple of weeks ago.

              1. It was nothing more than expensive cafeteria food.. a buffet (aka "all you can stand trough"). I was expecting more than the same overdone (figuratively, not literally) fried chicken, mac and cheese, boiled cabbage type food. Worse yet we were seated near the cashier of the "souvenier" counter, so had to tolerate people lined up to buy the kitsch. Tour busses and chubby middle aged ladies abound in that place...I suspect it gets a lot of business because of her celebrity rather than the quality of the food.

                1. No imo the food is tragic and it has become a tourist trap. I would much rather go to Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House.

                  1. I fell in love with The Lady and Sons when it was a hole in the wall and they served mint water from a birdbath... and the wait was minimal so I am very biased, but her vegetables on her buffet are incredible to me.....I agree that Mrs Wilkes Boarding House is better though....

                    1. I was with a group that recently had the experience of eating at Lady and Sons. we were seated in the basement. the main goal seemed to me to get us out before the next group came. A couple of us asked for a beer and we were told we had to go to the 3rd floor and get it ourselves. When we asked for coffee after the meal (we had to ask, it was not offered) we got white mugs.
                      the food was sad. the salad bar consisted of some lettuce, cherry tomatoes and shaved carrots. my wife asked for oil and vinegar and the waiter had to go upstairs to get it and then stood while she used it so he could take it back.
                      I would rate the restaurant as follows;
                      Ambience 0 stars
                      Service 1 star
                      Food 1 Star

                      1. Glad to see that Mrs. Wilkes is still wonderful. When we were there, Mrs. Wilkes was still alive and it was a both great southern food and a great experience.

                        1. that "restaurant" is like a pig troft, sorry. it's NOTHING special. It's normal and nothing "paula dean" like. i wouldn't reccomend it, a waste of time.

                          1. I think the food at Lady & Sons is worth the drive if you appreciate Southern food. I have been to both Lady & Sons and Bubbas and both are excellent. At Bubba's I met one of the managers who is an old friend of Paula's and sat down and told us great stories about Paula!! Great time and great food!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: jennykay

                              If you've never been, absolutely make the drive to Savannah. Great town, tons of history, tons of good food.

                              1. re: jennykay

                                But were you impressed with the food or just the gossip dished with that "old friend of Paula's" ?? Those are two different issues to me. And again I wonder if some people are dazzled by celebrity and give her place more praise than it deserves?
                                I found the food at The Lady and Sons to be ordinary, or worse yet cafeteria level. I even met her son, who comp'd my meal since it was so disappointing. While the food was mediocre her son's manners were excellent.

                              2. Savannah is a wonderful place to go and spend a few days strolling around. We go once a year and have found the time around the Historic Foundations Tour of Homes to be one of the best.

                                Having eaten at The Lady and Sons for the last 10 years, I want to add my voice to those who say stay away. Once upon a time, a quaint little restaurant with an adorable owner morphed into a behemoth of gluttony where it's patrons are herded like pigs in the blazing Georgia sun. I had a serious problem last time (third strike) last time we were there and I took the time to write a letter expressing my displeasure. I got a canned answer that went something like this: "jeez, we're so popular, how come you didn't like it."

                                The food as deteriorated in overall quality since they moved. Locals will steer you away from it and I suggest you take their advise.

                                1. I have a friend who recently went to Paula's and she said the line around the block to get into the restaurant was so long, she and hubby left. She also told me (third handed info now) that the restaurant was a buffet styled.

                                  1. We were in Savannah this past weekend. We asked the locals what they thought of Paula Deens and their comments were as follows:

                                    "Its too tourist-y."
                                    "The wait is FAR too long for a home-cooked southern meal."

                                    We drove by the restaurant twice and the line was out the door and around the corner. They do not accept reservations for parties less than 10. To get your name on the reservation list, you must show up in the early a.m., then wait for hours on end in line. If you miss your reservation, even if a seat is available early, then you lose your spot. Understandably so, since the line is so lengthy.

                                    Instead, we opted to try out her brothers place...Uncle Bubbas. We were largely disappointed (and we adore Paula Deen, too!). The seafood was extremely bland. The atmosphere - loud. If you sit outdoors, there's a novice band. But, the music is so loud you cannot hold a conversation. There are stray cats roaming the deck freely while you're eating. The tables were dirty, food was on the ground etc...and for a place that wasn't too packed - it took a long time to get our drinks refilled.

                                    I don't mean to sound entirely negative...because we did have several good meals...at other places.

                                    Checkout Fiddlers on River Street. AWESOME seafood. The outdoor deck overlooks the water, where the Westin hotel (across the way) shoots off fireworks around 8:30.

                                    Girabaldi's and Elizabeths on 37th are both highly recommended. We didn't get in because we didn't have reservations.

                                    In a nutshell, you can do better than Paula Deen's restaurant and Uncle Bubba's.

                                    1. It would be worth the drive even if you lived in Alaska!! Wonderful food and service at both, The Lady and Sons and Uncle Bubba's. Yes, the line can be long at The Lady and Sons, it's a very popular place. It's well worth the wait. Uncle Bubba was in his restaurant the day we were there. He came by, introduced himself to everyone and even took time for pictures and autographs. If you are a Paula Deen fan, I recommend the Paula Deen Tour while you are in Savannah.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Grannyto2

                                        I put Paula Deen's restaurant up there with Mama Dip's in Chapel Hill. Both used to be wonderful examples of great Southern cooking, but at this point, they're both coasting on reputation. The food at The Lady & Sons really did remind me of what you'd get at your local J&S Cafeteria - bland, ordinary, and utterly disappointing.

                                        1. re: Suzy Q

                                          I recently visited The Lady and Sons and i was disappointed. For a southern girl, i am use to southern cooking. Paula's southern cooking was under seasoned, and the acclaimed mac and cheese was dry and bland. The fried chicken was however wonderful, but it seemed to taste just like Miss. Winner's...ummm? And if you are looking for real "southern" sweet tea...it was served here! So, i guess on a scale of 1 to 10, I would give it a 5. I know Paula is a busy woman, because I love her shows, recipes, and of course her boys...but sometimes we can let the small things slip and can ruin all that we have accomplished. So, paula girl...taste your food and reseason if necessary!

                                      2. I live in Savannah and am frequently asked for dining suggestions and about Lady & Sons & Uncle Bubba's.

                                        Everything you've heard about Savannah is true. The Historic District is a miracle and a National Treasure: Picturesque, romantic, tons of stuff to do, places to eat, things to see.

                                        Paula Deens? Well all I can say is that if I wanted to stand in line for a mass feeding,steam table, meal I'd have stayed in the Army. And actually Army chow was better - at least at Fort Riley.

                                        Now having said that, let me send you to a couple of local places that aren't advertised anywhere and you have to be local to know about. Either one is better (by a lot) than Pauila Deen's.

                                        Geneva's:

                                        It's on Bee Road just off Victory Drive across from Historic Grayson Stadium (the baseball field). After being closed for about 10 years, Geneva has re-opened very recently. The best crab cakes I've ever had anywhere (and I've had them everywhere). The fried chicken was fabulous. This is real Southern cooking. And Geneva is almost always there with a smile that just lights up a room. And to top it off we got out of there for $25.00 bucks.

                                        Dewey's Dockside

                                        To get to Bubba's you take 80 out toward Tybee Island. Drive right by and go another six or seven miles (easy driving). You'll come to a big high bridge and if you look down to your right you'll see a Marina with shrimp boats. At the bottom of the bridge is a sign that says welcome to Tybee. Just in front of that sign is a road - Lazaretto Creek Road, Turn right and drive to the end. Dewey's will be on your right. You can eat outside over the water. It's not fancy, but oh my the food.

                                        The Georgia Baby Shrimp appetizer is to die for (best in March & April). So's the stuffed flounder and nobody does better fish & chips.

                                        Incidently the bridge is the Lazaretto Creek Bridge mentioned prominently in Midight in the Garden of Good & Evil.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: caeliband

                                          I remember eating at The Lady and Son's back before she was discovered by the Food Network. It was a sad, sad day (for food that is) when she opened the new building. I love her to death, but I won't eat there any longer. It seems designed to feed as many folks as possible in order to maximize profits. The food isn't what it was but the attitude sure has grown.

                                          I won't stand in line like cattle waiting for some pimply faced kid to scream out my last name while tour busses spew exhaust in my face.

                                          I'm glad to hear about Geneva's. Time for another road trip up to the South!

                                        2. Iwas in Savannah this summer with my husband for a vacation. He got up early and stood in line so we could have a luncheon reservation at noon. It was worth it. Our cholesterol soared but our tastebuds were happy. We didn't get to try Bubba's but we plan to return there next summer. Savannah is a beautiful place with great history and we found lots to do.

                                          1. Mrs. Wilkes Boardinghouse is much better. She never had such an offensive personality either.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: Ligros

                                              What does personality have to do with the food? Did Paula plop down at your table for lunch and offend you in some way?

                                              Like I said in my post from last year (this is a pretty old thread), the restaurant's gone downhill since Paula "got famous". But The Lady & Sons is far from being the only restaurant where this has ever happened.

                                              1. re: Suzy Q

                                                If someone's personality is offensive, I won't eat there. That's got everything to do with my choice.

                                                1. re: Suzy Q

                                                  It is a tour bus stop! We walked through the restaurant before it was crazy there. Also, before she was "famous". Is it me or does she "cackle" louder these days? I applaud her for being loyal to family and honest about herself, but we can't watch her shows anymore.

                                                  1. re: crazyspice

                                                    If she was actually present *at* the restaurant, I could understand that affecting your dining experience. But otherwise I have to admit that doesn't make much sense to me, unless the wait staff ran around imitating her or something like that - which they don't. Oh well - to each their own.

                                                    1. re: Suzy Q

                                                      Say what you will... her hoecakes are DIVINE!

                                              2. I have never eaten at PD's. I have never heard anything great about it. BUT, Savannah is worth a drive from Atlanta. All of downtown Savannah is a historical district. There are at least a dozen real good restaurants there, and the town it self is beautiful. Go on March 17 th if you are brave. They officially close all of downtown Savannah for the St. Patricks Day Parade. I have heard it is second only to NYC.

                                                While traveling to Savannah go over to Tybee Island for a great beach and eat at the Breakfast Club. Only opened for breakast. http://www.tybeeisland.com/dining/brc....

                                                And if you have time keep going south to Darien, go to Hunters and then go a little further south to St.Simons Island, The Red Barn http://www.benniesredbarn.com/ has been there for at least 50 years.

                                                1. The moral of this thread is an all too common situation when chef meets food network. Celebrity status is what brings customers to this place and unfortunately this place is automatically deemed touristy. this process does not always have to turn out for the worse, but from what i've read from the locals in this thread, it's obvious paula dean has sold her soul, stealing it from her food---where it should be. i can't wait to visit savannah some day and lady and sons will not be on my itenerary because i HATE DISNEYLAND!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: napolean

                                                    I probably wouldn't go there either- I hate crowds whether they be tourists or locals. But I will continue to try recipes from the Paula Deen cookbooks- for whatever it's worth, the lady really can cook- or at least has some really good help developing recipes.

                                                  2. It was sad to read all the reports about the demise of The Lady & Sons Restaurant. I lived in Savannah for five years and the last time I ate there was in 2001 at the original location. That restaurant was small but comfortable and the lines were only 15-25 deep and Paula had just had her first book published. The food was simple, fresh homemade southern cooking with a fair amount of fat (butter & pork), seasoning fat is what gave the food that great southern taste and hoe cakes to die for. I am visiting Savannah next month, but I will not be eating at Lady & Sons, sad.

                                                    1. I paid a visit to The Lady & Sons in Savannah just yesterday. Very mediocre.

                                                      I would not recommend a drive for the restaurant alone. The city is gorgeous and there are a lot of other restaurants that are available with awesome food. Lots of great things to do in Savannah and see. I definitely recommend the trip for that purpose.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: tiffrich2

                                                        No reason to go to Lady & Sons with The Wilkes House just around the corner with certifiably amazing Southern food and no cutting corners. I would make Savannah a destination just for that place, aside from everything else the city has to offer.

                                                        -----
                                                        Lady & Sons
                                                        102 W Congress St, Savannah, GA 31401

                                                        1. re: mikeh

                                                          The Wilkes House IS worth a visit. Head and shoulders above PD's.

                                                      2. My husband and I were in Savannah over Easter and I was so excited to go to Lady and Sons. I was so, so, so disappointed. The food was terrible and the place was dirty. The floor was so greasy, I was sliding. The locals were giving us hints not to go there, I wished we had listened. I would not recommend the place to my worst enemy. Ms. Deen should be ashamed!

                                                        1. I realize this is an old article but just wanted to add my 2 cents, after hearing about how great this place was we decided to drive down from SC with a group of 19 adults and 1 three year old child. Long wait in line, food was 5-6 on a scale of 10 and if you go for the southern hospitality forget about it there is none.!!! I would not even make the trip again from Beaufort, SC for free meal.

                                                          7 Replies
                                                          1. re: handj

                                                            We will be in Savannah for a few days in October. I wouldn't mind going here more out of curiousity than anything. But I also don't want to wait in line one morning to make a reservation where I will again have to wait in line that night.

                                                            Do they have a bar or bar area that you can walk right into without a reservation or wait depending on the crowds? If so, can you eat at the bar?

                                                            Just curious.
                                                            Thanks,
                                                            KathyH

                                                            1. re: KathyH

                                                              No, there is no bar to wait in. It's two floors of tables.
                                                              Not much chance of getting in without a reservation ... as mentioned earlier it's tour bus city.
                                                              We went by there our first night in Savannah last year and decided to take a pass.
                                                              When you're there just take a walk down by the restaurant and you'll see what everyone means. And there are loads of other choices.

                                                              1. re: Samalicious

                                                                Thanks for the reply. The whole idea of waiting in one line in the morning just to make a reservation and then maybe waiting in another line until our reservation is called totally and completely turns me off. If they had a bar that you could walk into, have a drink and maybe get some food at the bar, then I'd consider going. But they don't so I won't.

                                                                We'll only be in Savannah three nights and from all the research I've done that is barely enough time to scratch the surface. Don't want to waste any precious meal or sightseeing time by standing around and waiting or eating mediocre food.

                                                                Thanks,
                                                                KathyH

                                                                  1. re: KathyH

                                                                    I was raised on good Southern Cooking....not to be had at Lady & Sons. I took a large group of clients to Lady & Sons several years ago because they really wanted to eat there. Long wait, no bar and mediocre food. Service was nothing to write home about either. Does not sound like it has improved with age.

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Lady & Sons
                                                                    102 W Congress St, Savannah, GA 31401

                                                                    1. re: ColeScottPhoto

                                                                      Out of curiosity, I googled the address and on Google street view, there's a line outside. Too funny.

                                                                    2. re: KathyH

                                                                      I see this post is old and you've no doubt had your Savannah visit already. you only had 3 days there and bet it was a great visit.
                                                                      wanted to clarify something though about the L&S and the line.
                                                                      I went [as I said below] and I was alone. when I got there, it was a hot very hot, July day. went inside to ask if I could use the restroom and asked how long it'd take for the line. she said at least 3 hours just to put your name in. I thought wow, for one person and she did offer that since I was alone, they'd take me to the bar upstairs if that was ok with me, and I could [and did] eat there. the bar: awful, uncomfortable, huge lip on it so you couldn't bring your food close to you to eat it correctly, the stools were off kilter and uncomfortable too and the service, well, what service. the food awful, again the mission great and accomplished but would I go back for mediocre [at best] food? < HAIL no.............

                                                              2. I could post the letter I wrote about the Lady&Sons and sent to Paula snail mail and email, (just to make sure she got it). I never heard anything back of course.
                                                                A friend asked me about a candy I made for an occasion and brought to work.
                                                                I couldn't remember what I'd made and when she described it I knew it was a PD cookbook
                                                                recipe. Not remembering what it was called I just picked up the phone and called the L&S.
                                                                Just wanted the name so I could look up in my cookbook. Somehow I got the manager Dustin who was very helpful about the candy recipe even reading me the recipe so I could write it. I already found it by the name they called it but didn't want to interrupt Dustin being so kind.
                                                                Long story short he didn't remember receiving email or snail mail and apologized about it for the day I was there.

                                                                BTW: I'd rented a car in Florida just to drive to Savannah.
                                                                the mission of the quest=great
                                                                the opinion of everything else=very minus

                                                                1. I don't think it's worth the drive from Atlanta at all. It's perfectly okay if you find yourself in downtown Savannah, but it's not worth a trip of any kind.