Chef’s House

Buffet | Soul Food
Memorable
One of the best
Save

There really is a chef at The Chef’s House, an incongruously cute little pink home on a harsh commercial city thoroughfare. George Darko is the man at the stove. The lunch-only restaurant he and his wife, Tammie, opened in 2005 shows off his skills in a short buffet of from-scratch fare that meets high standards of soul food cooking at its finest.

Fried chicken comes encased in a rugged gold crust that really does want to melt in your mouth. About a dozen pieces are brought to the buffet at a time, hot from the fry kettle, virtually greaseless and yet succulent beyond description. Alongside the chicken are always a couple of other entrees: baked tilapia most days, and sensationally good honey-glazed salmon on Thursday (which also is fried pork chop day). I even like Chef Darko’s spaghetti & meatballs, a very non-Italian creation of big soft noodles, chewy little spheres of ground beef, and a simple, sweet tomato sauce that brings the two elements together in happy harmony.

The side-dish selection is minimal: greens are pork-free but hugely flavorful, their vegetable potency given an inviting vinegar twist. There are herb-speckled hunks of boiled potato and traditionally soft green beans. While not hard-line health food, all the veggies, as well as entrees, have the healthful mien of food cooked by a person who cares. I’d call it home cooking, but few homes I know serve meals so expertly prepared.

Cornbread, which is still oven-hot when the restaurant opens at 11am, is tender and just barely sweet — an ideal medium for sponging gravy and drippin’s off one’s plate.

Maximum capacity is 35 diners. Seating is in two snug dining rooms tastefully decorated with images and aphorisms that are culinary, biblical, and homespun. Eating here feels like being at a quiet party in someone’s home.

Gotta love the house motto: Small Place, BIG Taste!

What to Eat
Chef’s House, Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken
Must-Try
The crunch of 4-star fried chicken is ecstatic.
Chef’s House, Greens
Greens
Must-Try
Vinegar tang makes pork-free greens glow.
Chef’s House, Cornbread
Cornbread
Must-Try
Barely sweet cornbread is so right for sopping gravy.
Chef’s House, Spaghetti & Meatballs
Spaghetti & Meatballs
Sweet tomato sauce graces spaghetti & meatballs.
Chef’s House, Peach Cobbler
Peach Cobbler
A Georgia must: peach cobbler
Directions and Hours
Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
No
Outdoor Seating
No

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Frog Hollow Tavern

    Augusta, Georgia

    Local, seasonal, organic: Augusta’s Frog Hollow Tavern does it right. Shrimp & grits is kaleidoscopic; in-season peaches are spectacular; cocktails are clever.

  • Variety Restaurant

    Aiken, South Carolina

    Portions are huge, service is old-style hospitable at the Variety, a favorite of South Carolina square-meals eaters who know good steaks and fresh seafood.

  • Pizza Joint

    Aiken, South Carolina

    The Pizza Joint is a very American pizzeria/tavern where the pies range from traditional plain to outlandish combinations of atypical ingredients.

  • Iron Horse Bar & Grill

    Beech Island, South Carolina

    Bar food reigns at Iron Horse Bar & Grill restaurant, where private club status allows Sunday drinking. Burgers, wings & loaded potatoes all are dandy.

  • Apizza di Napoli

    Aiken, South Carolina

    Apizza di Napoli’s true Neapolitan pizzas are quickly cooked at 900 degrees, emerging with elegant crisp and chewy crust. An Aiken, South Carolina best bet!

  • Betsy’s Around the Corner

    Aiken, South Carolina

    A bustling Aiken restaurant serving sandwiches, salads, burgers, and square meals, Betsy’s also is a layer cake-lover’s dream.