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Known as the heart of south Georgia, it’s no surprise that Valdosta is home to several seriously good barbecue restaurants and local dining establishments specializing in hearty Southern fare. Think biscuits and gravy, meatloaf, fried chicken and 17-ounce juicy steaks – they can all be found and devoured in these eight fantastic restaurants.
Following the ‘eat local, be local’ philosophy, Steel Magnolia’s offers its diners the opportunity to enjoy fresh ingredients that haven’t traveled hundreds of miles to arrive on their plate. Southern fare with a cool urban twist is their speciality and the menu is full of hearty dishes perfect for warming the belly on a cold and rainy day. Tuck into an appetizer of deviled eggs with crispy bacon and chives, before devouring a plate of maple leaf duck breast, duck sausage, yellow squash casserole and wild arugula for main course. The rooftop bar is a great spot for an early evening cocktail or a post-dinner nightcap, offering guests great views over Valdosta as well as a lengthy wine list.
Steel Magnolia’s, 132 N Patterson Street, Valdosta, Georgia, USA, +1 229 259 0010
Serving up delicious homemade Italian food since 1950, Mom and Dad’s is practically an institution in Valdosta. Family-run and a favorite with longterm locals, it’s the type of restaurant that you will want to return to time after time. The food is simple and the atmosphere casual, but the overall experience is truly exceptional. Keep things traditional by ordering the homemade minestrone soup or the insalata caprese for a starter, followed by the eggplant parmigiana or the veal piccata for an entree. Of course, Mom and Dad’s also offers a great variety of pasta dishes, and both the lobster ravioli and the tortellini with a marinara sauce are excellent choices. Mom and Dad’s have a smaller menu for take away options, too.
Mom and Dad’s, 4143 N Valdosta Road, Valdosta, Georgia, USA, +1 229 333 0848
Everything you could want from an American barbecue joint, Smok’n Pig BBQ has that tavern-like feel to it, serving carnivorous meals on red and white checkered paper. Each of the different varieties of meat are barbecued over pecan wood fresh every day and are best enjoyed with a big group of friends or family. The Smok’n Pig Trio is perfect for first time diners; choose three meats from the selection of ribs, beef brisket, smoked chicken or pork and demolish them alongside signature barbecued bread, a choice of trimmings, and a dessert (for those with any room left after all that meat, that is).
Smok’n Pig BBQ, 4228 N Valdosta Road, Valdosta, Georgia, USA, +1 229 245 8227
As the name suggests, Bubba Jax Crab Shack is a seafood restaurant specializing in local shrimp and crab. A great choice for a low-key yet hearty and tasty meals, the menu at Bubba Jax features an abundance of delicious starters such as Bubba Bang shrimp, fried oysters, Louisiana crawfish and gator tail. The entrees are equally tempting, especially the soft shell blue crab served with a choice of two sides and hushpuppies. Tables of four or more are encouraged to order the Bubba Jax combo. A deliciously fresh selection of snow crab legs, boiled shrimp, crawfish, corn, sausage and potatoes – this is the real Bubba Jax experience.
Bubba Jax Crab Shack, 1700 W Hill Avenue, Valdosta, Georgia, USA, +1 229 469 4368
Open for lunch and dinner six days a week, 306 North offers upmarket casual dining perfect for weekly date nights and relaxed lunches with friends. Appetizers on offer include the usual suspects of soup-of-the-day and a cheese plate, as well as some less obvious but incredibly tasty choices including smoked duck and blueberry stilton bruschetta, and crispy buttermilk fried pickles. The main courses are typical of popular bistro fare and having been perfected over time, are always winners with the regular clientele. The 306 Burger is one of the restaurant’s speciality dishes and comes topped with a fried egg, bacon, lettuce, tomato, gouda cheese, onions and pickles. The pork brisket with a side of balsamic mushrooms and another of grilled honey-truffled sweet potatoes is also a delicious combination.
306 North, 306 N Patterson Street, Valdosta, Georgia, USA, +1 229 249 5333
Specializing in steak, seafood and prime rib, Austin’s Cattle Co is the type of restaurant to visit on an extremely empty stomach. The dishes are generous in both size and flavor and the fare on offer is a meat lover’s dream. Austin’s in-house butcher cuts the steaks fresh daily, ensuring that none of their beef is ever frozen. Different cuts on offer include the classic rib-eye, filet mignon and t-bone, as well as the delmonico and filet kabob. Seafood enthusiasts will appreciate the vast selection of fresh catches available each day. These include Cajun grilled shrimp, Gulf grouper, grilled tilapia and farm-raised catfish.
Austin’s Cattle Co, 2102 W Hill Avenue, Valdosta, Georgia, USA, +1 229 259 9333
An old-fashioned diner serving the type of home-cooked food that sends you back to your grandparents’ cooking, King’s Grill is the place to go to sample American classics such as meatloaf or fried chicken. Breakfast is served from 8:00am to 10:30 am and all the traditional American treats are available. Eggs, biscuits, grits, hotcakes, bacon, sausages, hash browns – early morning diners can mix and match items to create the perfect breakfast plate for them. Throughout the rest of the day, hot sandwiches and grilled cheese sandwiches make up the staple dishes on the menu and guests without much of an appetite will enjoy sipping a refillable soda on one of the restaurant’s original bar stools at the counter.
King’s Grill, 200 N Patterson Street, Valdosta, Georgia, USA, +1 229 242 5897
Loved for its crisp empanadas packed full of flavor, Empanadas and More is the perfect stop off for a quick and tasty snack, simple lunch or delicious Saturday brunch. The empanadas on offer include both Caribbean and Colombian variants and come stuffed with a choice of beef and potato, shredded chicken, ham, or cheese. Daily lunchtime specials are also available for diners seeking a healthier, non-fried alternative. Tuesday’s pork chop stew and Friday’s beef meatballs are both particularly good.
Empanadas and More, 402 Northside Drive, Valdosta, Georgia, USA, +1 229 245 5355