The Dillard House is still the epitome of good eating in North Georgia. Sorry, Smith House.
Now in its 97th year of operation the Dillard House is one of the few remaining “family-style” restaurants in Georgia. You sit down and suddenly platters of food appear, so many that there is little room left on the table.
I asked the Dillard House staff to show me a typical dinner service for two and this is what they brought from the kitchen. Clockwise from the top: fried chicken, dressing, gravy, creamed spinach, lima beans, fried okra, glazed carrots, acorn squash soufflé, cabbage casserole, (center) corn on the cob, roast pork. Not shown is rice, cole slaw, calico salad, cornbread, yeast rolls, and strawberry cobbler.
Mind you, this is for TWO people. Seventeen items.
A typical breakfast at the Dillard House includes fresh pork tenderloin, homemade sausage links and patties, country style bacon, country ham, red eye gravy, sausage gravy, grits, pancakes, breakfast potatoes, scrambled eggs, baked cinnamon apples, homemade biscuits, blueberry muffins, cinnamon rolls, doughnuts, and fried fruit pies.
Venerable is a word that is lightly tossed about. In the case of the Dillard House it applies. The Dillard family has owned the land on which the restaurant sits since 1794 when Captain John Dillard was awarded a grant of 1,000 acres after the American Revolution. Carrie and Arthur Dillard established the current business in 1917.
The Dillard House is open seven days a week and all holidays. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Dillard House also provides guest rooms, suites, chalets, convention space, and private dinning.
It is located, where else, in Dillard, Ga., about two miles from the North Carolina state line in the northeast corner of Georgia.
Other suggestions for eating in the mountains of North Georgia
Let’s explore some other interesting dining choices along the top of the Peach State. We’ll start in the far northwest corner in Rossville, Ga., just a few yards from the Chattanooga, Tennessee city limits.
Roy’s Grill, Rossville, Ga.
I’ve never put much value on “breakfast included” offers at chain hotels. For the most part they are an atrocious mixture of cardboard boxes, cellophane wrappers and rubberized foodstuff (square scrambled eggs?). You’re on vacation. Ask a local person where you can get grits. What’s it going to cost, seven or eight bucks? I will run through a drive-through rather than suffer “breakfast included” faux nourishment. I like Hardee’s best.
I recently failed to take my own advice. When I discovered Roy’s Grill just outside Chattanooga in Rossville, Ga., I was experiencing serious gastrointestinal regrets from the extruded products I’d consumed in the hotel. I have to admit that watching the table of French tourists trying to decipher the mysterious offerings was amusing.
Anna Sue Taylor, the friendly waitress at Roy’s, said Roy’s opened in 1934 and has been in the same location since 1949. The building once housed the first Krystal restaurant in Georgia. She gave me a souvenir menu and I learned that for $3.90 I could have enjoyed a normal, irregularly shaped scrambled egg, sausage, bacon or ham, and toast or biscuit. At lunchtime a meat and two is just $7.95.
Anna Sue is from Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee. And that’s about as amusing as the French tourists.
The Big Biscuit Barn, Rossville, Ga.
The brakes on my car automatically force the tires to S-C-R-E-E-E-E-C-H when I pass a sign that says, “Praise the Lord. Eat a Biscuit.” When I enter the place and see the cook elbow high in bags of White Lily Flour my stomach miraculously heals from the hotel gastrointestinal insult.
In Mexico last summer I advised my readers, “When you see the señora shaping fresh tortillas by hand, eat them.” That’s Valerie in the left background in teal calypso pants, and, yep, those are bags of White Lily at her fingertips. Eat the biscuits.
You can get your biscuit(s) with Polish sausage, city ham, country ham, fried chicken, tenderloin, ribeye, bologna, bacon, sausage, sausage gravy, eggs, cheese, or strawberries.
I don’t know where you live but it’s worth the drive.
Village Cafeteria, Chatsworth, Ga.
You’ve heard of Shoney’s Strawberry Pie and New York Cheesecake. Teresa Morrison serves Strawberry Cake and Cream Cheese Pie. She has operated the Village Cafeteria in downtown Chatsworth for 28 years. Teresa says the Strawberry Cake is one of Governor Nathan Deal’s favorite selections, and I have to agree with the Big Dude on this one. Chocolate and coconut cakes are also available.
My lunch at the Village consisted of Swedish meat balls on rice, fried okra, green beans and corn bread. My dinner that evening consisted of a humongous slice of Strawberry Cake.
The Hole in the Wall, Blairsville, Ga.
I didn’t get to eat at the Hole in the Wall in Blairsville, Ga. As you can see the place was closed when I got there. Next time I’m in the area I going to try the joint which advertises that its food is “strictly down-home.”