We were lucky enough lately to have some mighty fine meals at local eateries.
Last Thursday, we were at Georgia Tech’s Ferst Center to hear Michael Kaiser’s brilliant presentation about how to sustain a healthy arts organization. The presentation is a different blog. Mary Mac’s is my topic in this blog… Mary Mac’s Tea Room, the Flying Biscuit, and Stricklands…
Years ago, before we escaped the big city, we were regulars at Mary Mac’s Tea Room in Midtown on Ponce de Leon, just a few blocks from the Fox Theater. Jimmy Carter was President. Carter’s Custard was a dessert choice at the Tea Room. For whatever reasons, we hadn’t been to Mary Mac’s for years. What a grievous error in judgment!
The restaurant has changed considerably since we were there before… a mural across one of the dining room walls was painted in 1988. Had it been that long since we’d been there?
The tables had cloths on them. The stubby pencils to write out our own orders were replaced by pencils made special for Mary Mac’s. The dining rooms were fancier.
Although we didn’t get their famous cinnamon rolls for lunch that day, we slurped our way through country fried steak and broccoli casserole and fried green tomatoes and lots of the hot-from-the-oven yeast rolls! To make sure all our lunch got where it belonged, we chased it with perfect iced tea. We waddled out stuffed. And oh so happy!
If you haven’t been to Mary Mac’s in a while, get thee hence! As they say in their tagline, it’s “A Revival of Southern Hospitality”.
Saturday, we were back in Metro, looking for a lunch spot in Sandy Springs. We chose the Flying Biscuit on Roswell Rd, directly across from Whole Foods, just north of I-285. When we first walked in, we saw pottery by Atlanta’s Polly Sherrill.
Immediately we fell in love! We have some of Polly’s work that we bought at OCAF’s Perspectives exhibition in Watkinsville last September. And we enjoyed talking about it with our server. She said she’s sold a lot of Polly’s work. Many of her customers are attracted the first time they lay eyes on it.
We decided to split the fried green tomatoes and the turkey meatloaf. Our server assured us we’d made wise choices. She kept our coffee cups full until the tomatoes arrived.
Barbara Juhan, the owner, brought them out. She was bright and sparkling and full of pride. And she should be! The tomatoes were served with a dollop of goat cheese and a dollop of cashew relish, a spicy sweet condiment we’d never had before.
Bill Ronay & I made short order of the appetizer and settled into our turkey meatloaf, mashed potatoes and trulicious biscuit. We were both full, sassy and happy when we’d cleaned our plates.
Barbara told us there are nine Flying Biscuit restaurants now; most are in Atlanta, but a few in Charlotte and one in Gainesville Florida. Again, before we escaped Atlanta, we’d eaten at the first of the chain near Little Five Points. On their website, they say they are “out to reinvent the breakfast category in the US, and plan to do it with great food, attentive service, and a truly unique environment.
With stars on the counters and walls, Polly’s pottery, and bright colors with purple accents everywhere, they’ve succeeded!
Yesterday, Bill Ronay & I finished a meeting in Athens and, oh, too bad, it was lunchtime again! It was a difficult choice since Athens has so many really tasty eateries; but we ended up at Stricklands, out on US 78 along with workers, businesspeople and a sprinkling of visitors who could smell a local hot spot from any distance.
I don’t know whether Stricklands or Mary Macs has the best iced tea. Both are exactly like my grandmother’s was back in the good old days. In keeping with my grandmother’s spirit, I had mashed potatoes and squash and pinto beans. Bill Ronay had green beans, more country fried steak and mashed potatoes. Back to basics. But that’s what they sell… basic southern fare.
You can’t go wrong at any of the restaurants we’ve lunched in lately. A+ to Mary Mac’s, in Midtown Atlanta, the Flying Biscuit/Sandy Springs and Stricklands in Athens!