You don’t have to have a special interest in setters, pointers, and retrievers to enjoy Waynesboro, Georgia, the Bird Dog Capital of the World. All you need is an appetite and an appreciation of southern country-style cooking. Starting at 4:30 am (yes, 4:30) until 9 at night every day but Sunday, Taylor’s Bar-B-Que sets up a cafeteria-line feast.
Despite the name, barbecue is second fiddle in this place. Oh, the pulled pork is satisfying – succulent if minimally smoky – as are meaty, easy-to-eat spare ribs; but what’s outstanding is everything else, especially a grand formation of vegetables to round out a meat-and-three plate. These include extremely creamy creamed corn, pungent turnip greens, buttery mac ‘n’ cheese with just as much crunchy edge as you request from the server, hunks of sweet potato that are uncharacteristically not-too-sweet but in fact deliver earthy satisfaction, butter beans, black-eyed peas, and two kinds of cornbread – baked and served in squares as well as fried and served as a pancake. All these side dishes can be anchored by fried or baked chicken, smothered pork chops, catfish, pot roast, meat loaf, or lengths of rugged beef & pork sausage.
Hamburgers also are available, as are the usual array of breakfast sandwiches (on biscuits of course) in the morning, but it’s plate lunch that will lure me back – lunch and the good vibes that inform a visit here. At the height of mealtime, there’s a virtual crowd of servers all along the line taking care of business, among them four generations of the Taylor family. Open since 1966, this clearly is a town favorite eatery, bustling with happy customers carrying overloaded trays to tables and unupholstered booths in a dining area that used to be a private home. It is now a restaurant, but if the term home cooking ever really fits eating out, it sure does here.