Legendary | Worth driving from anywhere
Review by: Michael Stern
Five minutes from the interstate between Augusta and Atlanta at a country crossroads where nothing else is going on, Sweet T’s serves cafeteria style southern fare. Remote as it may seem, legions of regular customers regularly make the pilgrimage. They start gathering outside long before the door opens at 11. By 11:30, arriving guests might wait 15 minutes or more before getting to the head of the line.
Country Cooking At Its Best
As you pick up a tray, survey what’s available: beautiful food in a country-comfort way. You’ll find nothing prettied-up or food-stylist-perfected or chef-improved. Imagine a pot luck supper prepared by a covey of southern grandmothers who really know how to cook.
Servers hoist crisp-edged pork cutlets from a pan with savory gravy. They side them with fragrant dressing that has its own chicken gravy, dotted with chopped egg whites. Have your chicken baked (ridiculously tender, vividly spiced) or fried inside a fragile, potently seasoned golden coat. Slices of succulent pork loin glisten with apricot/jalapeno glaze.
Side dishes provoke such appetite that I recently wound up with a tray of meat-and-5 (plus dessert). Among the highlights are rice and gravy, mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese, beautiful pods of fresh okra (boiled), cabbage cooked with enough pork to become as meaty as a vegetable can be, cheese-enriched squash casserole, and sweet potato casserole. Accoutrements to go alongside included biscuits or cracklin’ cornbread, hush puppies, crisp sticks of fried fatback, and pretty little deviled eggs. A piled-high tray is the dictionary definition of cafeteria style southern fare at its finest.
Leave Room For Dessert
If you don’t get more than three or four side dishes, you will have room on the tray for dessert. Banana pudding defines greatness: a perfect swirl of custard, bananas, large pieces of Nila Wafer at an ideal point of tenderness, and meringue that is lighter than air. Other possible sweets from the rotating menu include peach cobbler, pecan pie, individual fried apple pies, apple dumplings, and chocolate layer cake.
A Lovable Restaurant
I cannot imagine not liking Sweet T’s personality. Every member of the staff, from the servers to the cashier to the girl who patrols the dining room refilling ice tea glasses, seems bent on making sure the meal is a happy one. As my plate was filling up with vegetables, the woman serving them fretted that it wasn’t pretty enough. She did her best to array everything just-so. When I didn’t finish all the food on my tray, take-away containers appeared so I wouldn’t leave anything behind.
Décor features a curious mix of slogans, some devotional, some cute (“God created man… then he had a better idea”) and photos and posters of Elvis in his prime. On one occasion, the dining room was serenaded by Elvis tunes playing quietly in the background. I am certain Elvis would have liked this food.
Note that weekday lunch is the only meal served.
|Credit Cards Accepted||Yes|