There is something about southern cooking! The best meals I’ve eaten have been in Southern diners! This past January, we set out on a southern road trip. We started in Nashville, headed to Florida. wound our way through Georgia and Alabama then came home.
The first truly notable meal on the trip was at Miller’s Grocery in Christiana, Tennessee. We heard about this wonderful place when antiquing in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Staff at the Hylabrook Antique Mall, named after the popular Robert Frost poem told us about the diner.
Miller’s Grocery was a country store for over 75 years. Christiana was once a busy whistle-stop town with a train depot, three-story hotel, bank, telephone office, pencil factory and blacksmith shop and more. In 1995, the country store became a restaurant named Miller as a tribute to the store owner, Mr. Stanley Miller.
In 2008 it was named on the television show Crossroads as one of the Best Restaurants in Tennessee and it is easy to see why! The decor is certainly a draw, but the restaurant doesn’t just get marks for its cool vibe. My downhome southern food was delicious! I had chicken tenders, squash casserole (oh my goodness!) onion rings and a biscuit. Keith and I then shared a piece of pie.
After eating in Christiana, we had fun antiquing our way through Shelbyville, Indiana. We were especially enamored with The Shops at Main & McGrew which is located in the historic post office.
Merritt Pecan Co & General Store
At the Merritt Pecan Co & General Store, we picked up pecans. We were excited to see pecans with the name Elliott pecans. This is the same last name as our friends Kent, Jane and Beth who we were meeting at the Florida Fly Wheelers in Fort Meade on down the road!
Besides the pecans we got a nice surprise! As antique tractor collectors, there were several John Deere collectibles as well. Speaking with a lady at the counter, she said the collectibles had belonged to the owne’s dad.
On the Georgia Tourism website I read that they also have John Deere tractors in a barn out back that you can see. I wish I read that before we stopped!
From here we ventured on to Sanibel Island, Florida then traveled to Sebring and went to the Florida Flywheelers. Click to read about our adventures there! Then we continued our Southern road trip and headed for Valdosta Georgia for the trip back home.
Bubba Jax Crab Shack
When you see a restaurant and the parking lot is full, you know you hit paydirt for a diner. Bubba Jax Crab Shack in Valdosta,Georgia was chock full the Saturday evening we stopped. They have a map inside that has pins from almost every town on the eastern seaboard. We recognized a good thing when we saw it!
We decided to go with the fried green tomatoes for an appetizer and split the shrimp boil for our dinner. The waitress recommended this and they steered us right. Yum! Advertised as the “small town restaurant with that beachy feel. Where you can always find a good meal and a sense of humor.” I loved the big porch, small dining area and great food.
While this had a beer type atmosphere, families and people of all ages were there so it wasn’t an adult only diner by any means. We had been eating seafood all week long so my craving continued to be satisfied as we drove north along with the southern fried green tomato flair!
The Plaza Restaurant & Oyster Bar
After our stop at the Boston Georgia Presbyterian Church and before our tour at the lovely Pebble Hill Plantation we dined at the amazing Plaza Restaurant & Oyster Bar. Members of the congregation had told us about this great place to eat. This is the oldest restaurant in the state of Georgia! Dining (at least on Sunday morning) is buffet style and the food was wonderful.
The restaurant has been in operation since 1916 and the town of Thomasville is as the history shares, “synonymous with plantations, majestic oaks, beautiful roses and The Plaza Restaurant.”
When first opened they could only host 26 people, but now can seat 500. They have had several owners most with Greek heritage. This dining option was a treat and a perfect way to finish off our Southern road trip!