A week after the Masters Golf Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club, waiters were wearing t-shirts that declared the Boll Weevil Cafe & Sweetery to be a place where “a big slice is a good thing.” The reference is not to the duffer’s banana ball; it is to the cafe’s layer cakes, which are outlandishly tall and portioned out in majestic, icing-laden triangles. Whether simple fresh strawberry cake or Seventh Heaven Chocolate Cake, which includes layers of white chocolate cheesecake and chocolate ganache, these slices are a dessert lover’s dream — the cake fresh and buttery, the icing thick and creamy. Strangely, whipped cream that decorates plates on which slices are served is watery stuff: second rate, not good enough to accompany these fine cakes.
Before tackling the 30-item dessert menu, which includes cheesecakes and pies as well as the lavish layer cakes, customers tuck into meals that range from sandwiches on house-baked bread to such southern icons as shrimp & grits, pimento cheeseburgers, and Cajun gumbo. There are salads galore — healthful as well as hearty, a soup menu that includes hoppin’ john, and several meat-free items for vegetarians. I’ve enjoyed a pimento grilled cheese sandwich with applewood-smoked bacon on toasty slices of house-baked sourdough bread as well as a turkey-spinach dip-provolone sandwich called Curious George. (George Harrison is the guy who opened the restaurant in 1990; his son runs it today.) The Curious George is made on honey-sweetened wheat bread that reminds me of King’s from Hawaii.
Boll Weevil is located along the city’s repurposed riverfront in what began as a warehouse in the heart of Augusta’s cotton row. To set the mood in its comfy-casual dining rooms, a sound system pipes out vintage mid-20th century rhythm & blues tunes from the likes of Ben E. King, Smokey Robinson, Martha and the Vandellas, and Augusta favorite son James Brown. In fact, the brick-paved street on which the restaurant is located, once called 9th Street, has been formally renamed James Brown Boulevard.