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Macon to Savannah: Good Chow?

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Will be driving U.S. 16 from Macon to Savannah. Would appreciate any suggestions especially for BBQ, and regional/local specialties. Thanks

P.S. ditto for Athens to Macon

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  1. That's a tough one. It was until only a few years ago that you could get gas and go to the bathroom between Macon and Savannah.

    I make that trip several times a year since I grew up in Savannah and live in Birmingham.

    My only recommendations are IN Macon and Savannah:

    Papouli's is at exit 171, I think. It's the very first Macon exit. Be careful. I still miss it all the time. If you do, take 169 and just backtrack. Papouli's does a pretty good lamb and beef gyro. The extra $.85 they charge for feta is worth it. I don't care for the fries too much, so I get my gyro and walk over to Five Guys Burgers and Fries for their fries, freshly cut and almost as good cold as they are when piping hot. Their burgers are very good too, if you aren't in a gyro mood.

    There's also a Starbucks, Subway and others. What I just noticed a few weeks ago on my way down was a Publix. There's no highway signage. Another option: their fried chicken is remarkably good. Birmingham voted the Publix chicken the best in the city for several years. That kind of saddens me, because I was hoping somebody in a hair net at a meat and three would win the honor. Anyway, that's fine for a little roadtrip picnic.

    Once in Savannah, the town is your oyster.

    Lady and Sons: I list it first because it is the 800 gorilla in the room. The food is good and I went before she bought the behemoth property. But waiting for two hours is not my idea of an appetizer. I've seen tourists sweltering in the morning humidity as early as 9:45. If you must go, eat at the bar, as the locals do. Or go at an odd hour. A group of 7 friends and I went on a Sunday at 3, long after the church crowd had gone home for a nap.

    Barbara Jean's: Located on Wilmington Island. Very good food. Try their cheddar grits. There's outdoor seating overlooking the marsh, which is a big plus in my book.

    Uncle Bubba's: Paula's brother's seafood joint. I've found the food quite fresh but lacking character. Good, though. However, his is my favorite outdoor dining joint in the area. And once when he had live music the performer was so good I hummed along and put bread in his jar. Again, a lovely view of the vast marsh.

    Breakfast Club: On Tybee Island. The chef was one of the caterers at John F. Kennedy Jr.'s wedding. My sister only gets the Blackhawk Burrito, a house-made ancho chile tortilla filled with black beans, chicken, cheese and other delicious stuff. It could easily serve two, maybe three. The French toast is yummy too. The waitress said something about how difficult it is to make and that the cook "discourages" orders. I'm a French bread French toast fan, but this whole wheat version was quite tasty, well worth incurring the wrath of the cook!

    Johnny Harris Restaurant: I used to go to lunch there sometimes as a student at nearby Savannah State University. Service is terrible, but the Brunswick stew is my favorite. It's billed as the city's oldest restaurant, est. 1924. The place has a round dance floor that I don't think s used anymore and polished cherrywood booths all around. Over the dance floor is a dome with pinholes that suggest starlight. Kinda fun. It's casual.

    International House of Prayer: I go to the spot on Ogeechee Road, but there are others. When folks say Paula Deen, I say IHOP. Soul food at its finest, from fried chicken to collards to ox tails to a heaping plate of fried seafood on Fridays.

    Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House: Another tourist draw. I went years before Mrs. Wilkes died and thought the food was fine. It's a good little Savannah experience; food is served family style on picnic-styled tables, I believe. It's been years since I've gone.

    The Planter's Tavern: It's the basement/bar of the Pink House. Prices are the same, but I love the more intimate atmosphere and the two gigantic fireplaces on either end of the tavern. DO NOT leave Savannah without getting the shrimp and grits appetizer. I often upgrade it to an entree portion. I didn't like grits before trying this dish. Now, I'm a believer.

    The Shrimp Factory: First, let me say that I have never been, to my knowledge. However, a friend and native who has lived in New York for years but owns a home in Savannah goes several times whenever she's in town. It is a big tourist draw, but locals go in droves. The place seems to have many local favorites, like some of the blue crab dishes. I'm going to give it a try next time I'm there.

    Riverstreet Sweets: The pecan-half pralines beat the ones from New Orleans hands down. I've been a praline lover for years. They give free samples! The dark chocolate jumbo peanut butter cups will put you into a bliss coma.

    I hope this helps. Now I'm hungry.

    N