On a recent trip to Savannah I enjoyed lunch at the The Wilkes House for the first time. Now I can’t wait to go back. If you enjoy Southern style food including wonderful fried chicken, cornbread dressing, sweet potato soufflé, black eyed peas, okra gumbo, creamed corn, biscuits and so much more, then you’ll love Mrs. Wilkes dining room.
From their website: “Boardinghouse Ruminations
Most Southern towns used to boast a boardinghouse where you could find a simple, quiet room and a communal dining room that offered at least two hearty meals a day. Boardinghouse food was de rigueur daily fare for locals, among them young, working class laborers, schoolteachers, bankers, washerwomen and middle-class merchants alike.
In 1943, a young Sema Wilkes took over a boardinghouse in historic downtown Savannah. Her goal was modest: to make a living by offering comfortable lodging and homestyle Southern cooking served family style in the downstairs dining room. Mrs. Wilkes picked up where the previous proprietor left off, cultivating relationships with nearby farmers who dug sweet potatoes for her in the fall and shelled whippoorwhill peas in the summer.”
This lunch served as our Thanksgiving dinner, since we were travelling the next day. They don’t take reservations, so we lined up outside around 11:30. It was very cold that day, but we persevered and waited about an hour before we got in. It was fun talking to other tourists waiting in line and, as it turned out, well worth the wait.
Our table was loaded with dishes, at least two dozen bowls. It really was next to impossible to try everything. There was something for everyone. If you don’t like fried chicken (gasp!) there was stew, sausage & rice or pulled pork.
My plate was filled with delicious fried chicken, cabbage, mashed potatoes & gravy, mac & cheese, okra gumbo, cucumbers and collard greens. There was banana pudding and cherry cobbler for dessert.
We’ll be back in Savannah next summer and I plan on being in line for lunch at The Wilkes House. ☺