Made with Love by Mrs. Wilkes

I was born and raised in the south, so I can appreciate a good spread of home-cooked grub. Everyone we talked to said that Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room was a must, so we heeded the advice and picked up some coffees before we headed that way. We knew to expect a long line; Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room is only open for lunch and it’s always packed. They stop serving at 2pm and will turn people away from the line when they start getting near quittin’ time.

Part of the experience is waiting in the long line and meeting your neighbors and soon-to-be family style dining table mates. We were lucky and hit the line just before a tour bus let off their eager patrons. We stood in front of a couple who always stops by Mrs. Wilkes when they visit Savannah; the woman tried to convince me the food was terrible so we would leave the line and they could get ahead in the wait! [I didn’t fall for it].

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Our total wait was probably around 45 minutes and totally worth it. By the time we got inside the dining room, we had become best friends with our line mates and felt comfortable enough to help each other heap giant spoonful piles of food on to our plates.

Let’s talk about the food. HOLY OPTIONS! My goal when I sat down at the table was to try some of everything. That’s not an easy challenge. I literally cannot even name everything that was on the table. From what I gathered from my seasoned table mates, the side dishes rotate, so you don’t always end up with the same meal. The meal cost per person was $22 and included all food, sweet tea, dessert, and tax. The payment is cash only, so come prepared.

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This is the face I make when I’m surrounded by delicious smells.

We all seated and each grabbed a dish, piled it on our plates, and passed it along to the next person. I was fortunate to be seated by a bottleneck, so most of the dishes ended up resting around me – easy access for seconds!

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My husband’s 1st plate

So despite my goals, it is literally impossible to try some of everything in one serving. The first plate only holds about 12 items – which gets you around half of the total spread, so a second plate is 100% required and necessary.

If I wrote about everything I ate, I would have to ditch the blog and start a novel, so let me just pick a few of my favorites.

Fried Chicken

This is what the dining room is known for, and it’s delicious. If you don’t like the cut that’s on the table, you can ask the kind servers for more white or dark meat, or a drumstick or thigh; whatever suits your fancy.

Cucumbers

They weren’t quite pickled, but they were tossed in a vinegar dressing and herbs and they were delicious. I feel like I was eating a crunchy cuke fresh out of momma’s garden. Very refreshing and helps to break the heaviness of all the other delicious items on your plate.

Squash

I wish I knew the real name of this dish so I could Google a recipe (if any of you readers out there have any idea, please share!!). This was made from yellow squash, this much I could discern. It was a mushy dish, served warm. It was creamy yet fibrous from the squash; I loved the flavor, it was savory yet a little sweet, too.

Cream of Corn

The corn was my husband’s favorite; I’m not sure how he made room in his stomach, but he had three helpings of the corn. It was just the right consistency and had a well-balanced pairing of sweet and salty. The corn kernels were cooked so they still crunched when you bit into them.

Collard Greens

It’s not southern without a solid side of collards. The bitterness of the greens was tamed by the savory seasoning and hint of pepper and spice.

The Olde Pink House Vault

Hands down the most romantic dinner I have ever had was at The Olde Pink House. Apparently we tried to make reservations a few weeks before we arrived in Savannah but it was too far in advance to reserve our table.

My husband called a day in advance in hopes to get a table for two. He tried the website first on OpenTable, but the first available seating was 9pm. He talked to the hostess who confirmed they were unable to reserve a table prior to 9. He explained that we were on our honeymoon and hoping to get in around 7:30 to accommodate the rest of our plans. We were placed on a brief hold and upon her return, she said she was able to get us the table in a private room where they store the wine. How can you say no to that?

The private room, as it turns out, was originally a vault used to store gold bricks by the bank that purchased the house I believe in the late 1800’s. The room is now home to the wine and lit only by candlelight. Guests are encouraged to explore the house so we had a few visitors and admirers who asked how we were so lucky to get the table. We told them all you had to do was tell them you just got married! 

In true Savannah tradition, the house is apparently haunted by the ghost of the original owner and his wife (the governor,  I think). These ghosts have been captured on camera and can be found on YouTube. If you look closely at some of our pictures, you can see green orbs, which our waiter insisted was the ghost of the governor.

But enough about ghost stories, let’s talk about food.

The menu was full of decadent dishes, including a robust wine selection (to which we had a front row seat).

We first chose our wine: Educated Guess, a full bodied cabernet. I selected the pecan crusted chicken and the husband chose seafood fettuccine. We also decided to split the BLT salad.

BLT Salad

This salad was featured on a TV show, but the show name escapes me. The salad featured fried green tomatoes, thick cut bacon, atop a bed of greens and a creamy mayo dressing sauce. I don’t usually like bacon (I know, I know), but this bacon was delicious. Our server brought us steak knives for our salad because the bacon is so thick it requires cutlery reinforcement. The dressing was a little heavy for my taste, but it held true to a BLT sandwich.

Pecan Crusted Chicken with Sweet Potato and Collards

You’re allowed to substitute any sides in your entree, but I did not and I recommend you don’t on this dish as they pair very well together. The chicken is bone-in and is perfectly crusted with an earthy flavor that is complimented by the salty and savory collards. The sweet potato was baked, skinned, and glazed with a pecan / brown sugar syrup. The flavors are rich and I was only able to finish half but it was worth the midnight snack as leftovers!

Seafood Shrimp and Scallop Fettuccine 

The scallops are huge! The shrimp was just a smidge overdone, but the scallops were cooked to perfection and the pasta was perfectly al dente with a creamy Alfredo sauce he won the clean plate club award for this one!

We were too stuffed for desseet, but our server insisted we have a little treat on the house to help us celebrate. Homemade chocolate ganache with whipped cream and fresh berries. It was the perfect amount and a decadent and thoughtful dessert.

We explored the house after dinner to get the full experience of each room; we even discovered a romantic vintage bulb lit balcony.

Huey’s Brunch

Along River Street is a beautiful row of restaurants. We grabbed brunch at Huey’s after watching several cargo ships stroll by along the river. There was no wait when we arrived around 10:30, and we were seated in a corner table by the window overlooking the river. 

Coffee was a must. We also checked in on Yelp and received a complimentary order of beignets, which were covered in powdered sugar with a side glaze and arrived still warm, soft and melted with each bite. 

The husband ordered a bloody mary which arrived with a full vegetable garden on top. I’m not a drinker, but he said it was wonderful and enjoyed soaking the veggies in the drink to save as a treat for the end.

We asked our server for recommendations and most popular dishes. We decided upon a breakfast plate and a lunch plate: crab cake benedict and red beans & rice. Both were delicious.

Crab Cake Benedict

I’m usually not crazy about eggs benedict because hollandaise sauce and I don’t agree, but the crab cakes sounded amazing and were topped with a fried green tomato (one of my favorites). I didn’t even notice the English muffin as it was overshadowed by the massive crab cake and tomato. The most popular style of grits was apparently the parmesean grits and I have to agree they were very tasty and something you can’t order everywhere.

Red Beans & Rice with Sausage

I can’t believe this either, but somehow my husband has never had red beans and rice before. Thankfully, we remedied this at Huey’s with a flavorful blend of New Orleans style red beans and andoullie sausage. The Cajun spices blended well with the generous bites of sausage and fresh bread. 

A Grand Treylor Park Welcome

Our first stop in Savannah was at a restaurant we heard great things about called Treylor Park. We arrived on a Sunday afternoon shortly after the marathon finished so there was a wait. We put our name on the list and walked out to the back patio bar to wait; the atmosphere was comfortable and cozy, so we decided to eat at the bar. 

The hubby scoped out the menu beforehand and had his eyes on the chicken pancake tacos and PB&J wings. I suggested the fried banana peppers because I’ve really been loving banana peppers recently. We thought that addition might be too much food and decided not to get them until our bar neighbors’ order of fried banana peppers arrived… they looked amazing and we had to order some too.

Fried Banana Pepper Rings

Why is this not on every appetizer menu? If you like fried pickles,  forget everything you know because this is a game changer. They were battered in a seasoned,  salty rich batter and fried to a perfect golden brown.  You could still see and taste the peppers,  which added an extra kick to each bite. They come with a ranch dipping sauce but really don’t need it! Highly recommended. 


PB&J Chicken Wings

In our minds,  we anticipated a grilled chicken wing scooped in thick,  creamy peanut butter and dunked in Smucker’s grape jelly.  What we ate was closer to a Thai peanut glaze with a side of orange/peachy marmalade. For the full effect,  the chicken must be dipped in the sauce for every bite. It was good,  but it wasn’t unforgettable. 


Chicken & Pancake Tacos

So creative! These chicken strips came toasted and wrapped warmly in a pepper-infused pancake and topped with a strawberry relish with onions. It sounds strange but the flavors blend so perfectly. This was our favorite.