So last month we were in Savannah (en route to the beach) and took the opportunity to visit the restaurant of a Food Network star, the great Ms. Paula Deen and her hugely popular eatery The Lady and Sons. It was an experience y'all.
Paula Deen started this place in 1989 with $200, the help of her sons, and an old 1910 structure. In case you live under a rock and don't already know this, Paula has several best-selling cookbooks and also hosts a top-rated cooking show, Paula's Home Cooking, on the Food Network. Her recipes all include at least a stick of butter, and she is know for being the quirky (aka a little bit crazy) Southern lady, y'all.
We all ate her buffet, which can be described as Southern to the bone, including fried chicken, meatloaf, collard greens, beef stew, "creamed" potatoes, or macaroni and cheese. It was a veritable feast of fatty delicious food y'all.
The restaurant is now stupidly popular. Every day of the week, the hostess begins to take names at 9:30 am for lunch and dinner on a first come first served basis in front of the restaurant. You must appear in person to receive a priority seating time. The line literally wrapped around the building. She is popular y'all.
Her fried chicken was amazing. Fried chicken is one of those foods I have never and will NEVER make at home. I also try to avoid the fast food variety. Thus it is a dish I eat very little of, but a food that is so delicious, so decadent, and so finger-lickin' good that I crave it more than I would like to admit. Paula Dean's crispy, salty, lightly breaded breasts and thighs hit the spot. I only wish I had been hungrier for more. Her fried chicken had a delicate batter. It was not too knobby or thick, so with each bite it was possible to get both chicken and fried skin in the same taste. While it was appropriately greasy for fried chicken, it was not laden with oil. Best of all, it had flavor. There is nothing worse than the fried fryness that tastes of nothing but peanut oil. Her chicken was salty and savory flavorful. It was worth the buffet experience y'all.
The restaurant itself is less desirable than the chicken. It is a monolithic, three-floored, southern food factory serving so many guests it makes your head reel. The gift shop looms large through an open doorway between the waiting room and buffet, which is never a good sign of authenticity. The menus are over sized laminates, much like at Chili's, and nothing is cooked up in the kitchen by the lady or her sons. Nonetheless, eating at The Lady and Son's felt like the right thing to do while in Savannah, and I am glad we went y'all.