S&S Cafeteria

Cafeteria | Meat-and-Three
Memorable
One of the best
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Culinary adventurers looking for something new may not be thrilled by the S&S Cafeteria, but for me there are few things more thrilling than the beautiful vista of a well-appointed cafeteria line. Nothing is cutting-edge or shocking on the menu of this big, popular eatery just down the street from Augusta’s Medical District. Choices start with a rainbow of Jell-Os, slaws, ambrosias, and composed salads worthy of a pot-luck church supper. Then comes the day’s selection of desserts. These include marvelously yammy sweet potato pie, a crusty baked apple that is like a recomposed cobbler, millionaire pie whose supersweetness is balanced by a vividly savory crust, frothy banana pudding, and at least six different kinds of layer cake. I’ve yet to hit a clinker among the sweets.

Main course? It is a challenge to choose. Roast beef, carved to order, looks swell. So does fried chicken … but S&S’s motherly baked chicken is too good to pass up. It is moist and fork-tender, authoritatively seasoned but without culinary swagger. Then there are roast turkey with all the fixins and sugar-cured ham and meat loaf and spaghetti and baked fish. They all are so handsome! On the other hand, this is a kitchen where you can forgo an entree altogether and make a fully satisfying meal of nothing but vegetables: sharp and custardy mac ‘n’ cheese, tonic turnip greens, bacony creamed corn, broccoli casserole or broccoli O’Brien, stewed okra and tomatoes, sweet potato balls or sweet potato souffle. Ad infinitum.

Even the choice of bread presents a challenge. I love the crackling cornbread with its crunchy skin, but the biscuits and yeast rolls are textbook-right.

S&S is a place that demands multiple repeat visits for full appreciation. Indeed, a lot of folks pushing trays through the line are regulars who know both the menu and the staff. A large percentage of them are senior citizens, including occasional busloads who arrive from nearby assisted living communities. No, this is not a trendy place to eat, God bless it. It is a source of decent food, a genre of eating that Jane and I have championed since we started hunting Roadfood, and a branch of American cuisine that we celebrated as far back as 1984 with our retro-cookbook, Square Meals.

Note that this particular restaurant is one of eight S&S Cafeterias currently in business: five in Georgia, two in South Carolina, and one in Tennessee. If Roadfood is all about unique one-of-a-kind restaurants, it is not, strictly speaking, Roadfood. But with meals this yummy, I have no intention of speaking strictly.

What to Eat
S&S Cafeteria, Baked Chicken
Baked Chicken
Must-Try
A dark-meat baked quarter chicken: moist, fork-tender, and radiant with flavor. It comes with mild-mannered dressing and, at the back of the plate, cranberry sauce. The wonderful pickly-sweet deviled egg is not part of the package, but there was simply no other place on my tray to put it.
S&S Cafeteria, Macaroni ‘n’ Cheese
Macaroni ‘n’ Cheese
Must-Try
Very cheesy with a mouth-watering sharp edge, S&S mac 'n' cheese is dense enough to hold together, but soft enough that it is easy to separate bite-size pieces with the tines of a fork. This portion is a nice balance of crunchy and smooth ... just as I requested when the server dipped mine to order.
S&S Cafeteria, Sweet Potato Pie
Sweet Potato Pie
Must-Try
The egg custard pie is a silky classic. The sweet potato pie on top is different, delivering a unique flavor that is more about the sweetness of the tuber than of added sugar. It also has a flaky-chewy crust where sweet meets savory.
S&S Cafeteria, Millionaire Pie
Millionaire Pie
Must-Try
Reminiscent of ambrosia in a crust, millionaire pie is a sweet swirl of pineapple and pecans in a condensed-milk suspension under a crown of creamy topping. It gets its name not just because it tastes so rich, but because the pieces of pineapple it contains look like nuggets of gold.
S&S Cafeteria, Banana Pudding
Banana Pudding
Must-Try
Arriving with the first wave of customers at 11am, I grabbed a serving of banana pudding that was still slightly warm. What a dreamy dish! It is leavened with meringue and even the banana custard part of it is light and frothy.
S&S Cafeteria, Buttery Coconut Pie
Buttery Coconut Pie
It is shaped like a pie and it is cut like one, but buttery coconut pie eats like cake. It is dense and rich -- not as heavy as pound cake, but every bit as satisfying.
S&S Cafeteria, Creamed Corn
Creamed Corn
Creamed corn is very creamy, and as if it isn't rich enough, it is laced with little porky strips of bacon. Delish!
S&S Cafeteria, Cracklin Cornbread
Cracklin Cornbread
Cracklin cornbread earns its moniker two ways, first because it contains cracklins, adding a porky note to the sweet corn triangle, and second because it is baked in a well-greased tin that makes its surface so crisp that it audibly crackles when bitten.
S&S Cafeteria, Collard Greens
Collard Greens
Collard greens pack potent punch. They're bitter, but in a good vegetable sort of way.
S&S Cafeteria, Baked Apple
Baked Apple
Underneath the dome of crust is a baked-soft apple, wallowing in spice and juice. Once this dish is attacked with a fork, its mix of crust and fruit becomes a virtual cobbler.
S&S Cafeteria, Trout Almandine
Trout Almandine
Trout almandine is moist and sweet inside its crunchy nut envelope.
S&S Cafeteria, Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes sweet enough to be dessert
S&S Cafeteria, Jell-O
Jell-O
The lovely block of red Jell-O is choc-a-block with fruit cocktail and topped with a dab of whipped cream.
S&S Cafeteria, Biscuit
Biscuit
Note the rivulet of butter flowing between the top and center row of oven-warm biscuits.
S&S Cafeteria, Eggplant Casserole
Eggplant Casserole
Eggplant casserole is rich and rib-sticking, crusted with seasoned crumbs.
S&S Cafeteria, Tomatoes & Macaroni
Tomatoes & Macaroni
Macaroni & tomatoes with a bit of celery crunch is fruity, lean, and refreshing.
Directions and Hours
Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner, Dessert
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
No
Outdoor Seating
No
Website

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