Not to slight the fried chicken and fried shrimp, both of which are excellent, but half the fun of visiting a Wife Saver restaurant is everything else. In this legacy eatery from the mid 20th century, choosing a meal is delectable torment: so many tough decisions to make! First, there’s the basic choice of white or dark meat and how many pieces (not to mention gizzards or livers); or if you are going for shrimp, do you want bite-size or large? (I say large, by the dozen.)
Of course, it’s only right to begin with dense, salty pimento cheese. (For 15 years, Wife Savers pimento cheese was what made sandwiches at the Masters Tournament special.) The cheese is grand schmeared on buttery biscuits, but even if you do eat biscuits, it would be wrong not to also have some of the crunch-coated hushpuppies. If you get the hushpuppies, which are deep-fried, does that preclude fried okra, fried onion rings, and French fries? I love what’s billed as broccoli casserole but is, in fact, cheese casserole with just enough broccoli to qualify as a vegetable. Likewise, mac ‘n’ cheese not only includes an abundance of orange cheese clinging to the macaroni; it comes topped with grated cheese that is melting from the noodles’ heat. Turnip greens are smoky and intense; cinnamon apples are supersweet. And when it’s time to choose dessert, banana pudding is a must. But, then, so is lemon meringue pie.
Wife Saver is not really Roadfood. It is an efficient fast food operation of which there currently are six in the Augusta area. But I don’t hold that against it. When I find myself with a hankering for crisp-crusted fried chicken or summer-vacation fried shrimp or four-star pimento cheese and a plethora of classic southern side dishes served with alacrity at a fair price, a meal here makes me happy.
For addresses of the other Wife Savers, visit www.wifesaverrestaurants.com.