Romie’s surprised us, a fine little lunch spot that would be successful pretty much anywhere. Featuring a meal and 3 at lunch and enormous sandwiches, this spot is a perfect stop on the way to Alabama from Memphis, TN.

That’s what we were doing recently, returning from a trip to Dallas by way of the Shreveport area. Rather than heading south through Meridian and Tuscaloosa, we went a little north, through Memphis and then down to Birmingham. After a stop in Memphis, we reached Tupelo around lunchtime. Asking the folks at the local gas station where to eat for lunch, Romie’s was recommended.

Romie's catfish po-boy, marinated cukes and tomatoes.

Romie’s catfish po-boy, marinated cukes and tomatoes.

Grilled chicken on wheatberry bread with fried green tomatoes.

Grilled chicken on wheatberry bread with fried green tomatoes.


I’d say the lunch was a hit at our table. Yes, if we travel this route, we’d be happy to stop here again.

Romie’s Grocery
804 W Jackson Street
Tupelo, MS 38804
(662) 842-8986

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It’s a small restaurant in a small strip mall, on the right on Highway 78 as you’re headed from Atlanta to Athens, and thus easy to miss. “We Got Soul” calls itself a soul food restaurant, but I’m not sure what really distinguishes it from a meal and three restaurant, really. The dishes served are pretty common across restaurants that call themselves “Southern” or “family” in these parts.



Baked chicken, collards, cabbage, all very tasty.

Baked chicken, collards, cabbage, all very tasty.

It is, however, pretty inside, with the most unique salt and pepper holders I’ve seen in any restaurant so far. The foods are rich tasting, dripping with flavor and worth the price this restaurant charges.

Try it. It’s another of these small, respectable eateries that are appearing around the Stone Mountain side of Highway 78.

We Got Soul
5210 Stone Mountain Highway
Stone Mountain, GA 30087
(770) 413-4213

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This place is an original, a Caribbean-Southern fusion buffet with food good enough to talk about. It has bits and pieces of other cuisines as well. They had a General Tso’s chicken that day, and some dishes with Italian roots. It’s the Caribbean and Southern foods, however, that will keep folks coming back.



The curries here – chicken and goat, are respectable. They’re flavorful and relatively mild. They have jerk chicken too, a good looking dish, but it doesn’t hold up to the steam the way the curries do. They have southern style vegetables and dishes. I tried collards, green beans and fried chicken. I liked the fried chicken, liked the collards, felt the green beans to be a little watery and lacking flavor.

Curried chicken, curried goat, fried chicken.

Curried chicken, curried goat, fried chicken.

Still for as much curry as you can eat, for 9 dollars including drinks, for decent Southern vegetables and a bite or two of fried chicken, it should probably attract more attention than it does. It’s a relatively new restaurant and concept, so we’ll see.

Fusion 78
5150 Stone Mountain Highway
Stone Mountain, GA 30087
(678) 344-5497

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The best thing about Baby Jane’s might be their stuffed salmon patties: thick as the tip of my thumb, as round as a quarter, browned and a little toasty. They were breaded salmon goodness, evoking memories of sucking the last little bit of flavor out of a stuffed crab.



Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, chicken fried steak, salmon patties.

Or it might be Baby Jane’s cheesecake, rich and delicious.



Almost everything we tried was good; one exception was the brussels sprouts (overcooked, really impossible to avoid in a buffet). If you stuck to vegetables that can handle steaming over a period of time (greens, cabbage, corn), then the veggies were entirely satisfactory. The meats? There was plenty of fried chicken, but they also had good pork chops, a good fried fish, and the aforementioned salmon patties.

My wife, something of a picky eater, went back three times for plates of food. Drinks here are huge and often refilled. Staff were a pleasure.

Baby Jane’s Home Cooking
2054 Main Street East
Snellville, GA 30078
(678) 502-7055

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O’Shucks is the sister restaurant to Oyster Bay, found just off Highway 78 heading towards Athens. The emphasis is on sustainable seafood, especially oysters and shrimp. It’s a smaller restaurant found in a strip mall named Old Loganville Square, next to a pizzeria. Given the crowds we saw on a Tuesday night, O’Shucks is rather popular.


As we went to Oyster Bay for lunch, we tried O’Shucks for dinner. We started with fried oysters, and a cup of she crab soup. Fried oysters were tender and tasty, the she crab soup delightful and rich.



I had a cedar plank salmon, my wife and daughter had po’ boys. My po’ boy photos are lacking, and as the same po’ boy is served at Oyster Bay, you might check out that review for a better photograph. The salmon had a hint of crustiness, and was a pleasure to eat. Po boys were devoured.


My daughter rates the fries as exceptionally good at O’Shucks. They’re crusted, the way some fast food restaurants do it. Staff were dressed in black, efficient, cute.

Despite some eater reports to the contrary, these restaurants are clearly affordable. There are plenty of seafood and other options in the $7.50 to $11.00 range, good value for this kind of eating.

Yes, we’ll be back, especially as my wife can’t eat meat on Fridays these days. This place, and Oyster Bay, are good enough to be part of the regular rotation of seafood eaters within a reasonable drive of their locations, as an original and casual alternative to Red Lobster and Bonefish Grill.

3939 Atlanta Highway
Loganville, GA 30052
(770) 558-1617

O'Shucks on Urbanspoon

Tip: Oyster special on Wednesdays.

Oyster Bay Cafe is a restaurant found on Lawrenceville Square, whose focus is fresh sustainable seafood with plenty of oyster and shrimp options. Classed as a gastropub on Urban Spoon, I’m not sure I see that. To me, it evokes an Atlantic Ocean seafood shack, perhaps crossed with a little Vortex style kitsch.


The Inside is bigger than it appears from the outside.

The restaurant is long and thin inside, and bigger than it appears from the outside.

We came for lunch, were feeling a little cautious and not hungry enough to push the dinner offerings, so my daughter went with a bacon shrimp po boy and I got a shrimp and fish fried basket, broccoli instead of fries. We had 6 steamed oysters to start with, tender and good.


Later our plates arrived.

Fish and shrimp basket, with slaw.

Fish and shrimp basket, with slaw.

Bacon shrimp po boy, paired with some excellent fries.

Bacon shrimp po boy, paired with some excellent fries.

The fried fish was well cooked, dry, hot, and tasty. The po boy was good. My daughter leaves food she doesn’t care for, but she took what she couldn’t eat home, including the fries. Fries at Oyster Bay have a light crust (I think I’ve tasted similar at Checkers), and she liked that crust a lot.

Staff here are good, homespun and chatty, a fine complement to the food.

Oyster Bay has a sister restaurant in Loganville, O’Shucks. We’ll be reviewing that restaurant in a later post. But for now, know that a good inexpensive seafood option is available in Lawrenceville, and if you’re close, I suggest you go often.

Complementary review: The 285 Foodies thread on this restaurant.

Oyster Bay Cafe
125 West Crogan Street
Lawrenceville, GA 30045
(770) 910-7521

Oyster Bay Seafood on Urbanspoon

Tip: 60 cent oysters on Tuesdays.

The new Watershed is next door to a Uncle Julio’s, a good thing, as Watershed itself isn’t that easy to see, or for that matter, all that easy to get to. We went recently to try their brunch. It’s a solid brunch offering, perhaps not as over the top as some other brunches we’ve had. It’s a little more ordinary, a little more sedate.


Biscuits were excellent, my wife ordered more after receiving her first.


Seafood melange, a mix of seafood in a bowl that otherwise had a brown gravy and grits, was also pretty darned good. No one in the family are grits eaters, but were were eating those.


Perhaps our favorite was the smoked trout salad, with rich smoky flavors in the fish and plenty of tender spinach.



With it being brunch, we really didn’t get to the kinds of dishes that made Watershed’s reputation initially. That said, service was excellent, and the restaurant is beautiful, certainly suitable for a date.

Watershed at Peachtree
1820 Peachtree Road
Atlanta GA 30309
(404) 809 – 3561

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Going to this place was like stepping into my past. I recall a time when I was in grad school in Houston, in the 1980s, where, if someone really wanted to treat you, they would take you to this chain. The one we knew of was in the River Oaks district, near a Chili’s and not that far from the River Oaks theater. It was fantastic. And when we moved later to Orlando FL, the local Black Eyed Pea was one of the hardest restaurants to get into.

Move forward some years and in Atlanta, Black Eyed Peas weren’t all that good. Service was terrible. Food might be good, but who could tolerate the lousy waiters of the time? It wasn’t too long before all of these in the ATL were converted to Folks restaurants.

Evidently there was a bankruptcy in the chain at one point, and staff at this Black Eyed Pea said that there had been some staff loss to Denny’s, that the improvements in the Denny’s you guys have seen came at the expense of BEP. Hey, I can’t confirm it, but merely can report it.

decent fried pickles.

Chicken fried chicken was excellent. Good green beans. Fried okra weren’t crisp at all.

So, was it as good as we rememberd? Well, entrees, yes. Sides ranged from very good to a very ordinary serving of fried okra. Service was excellent, and the chicken fried chicken my wife got was transporting.

Maybe this chain will grow again. We’ll see.

Black Eyed Pea
7979 Belt Line Rd
Dallas, TX 75254
(972) 490-1932

Black Eyed Pea on Urbanspoon

Some of the best Southern food I’ve had since my last meal at the Decatur Watershed came on a recent Sunday at JCT Kitchen. They have a fixed price menu on Sunday. You get a meat, three sides, biscuits, salad, deviled eggs, a dessert. I wish I could have included more pictures, but many didn’t come out.

The entrance to JCT Kitchen is down there, by the tower.

Good biscuits.

Butter and a dipping sauce come with the biscuits.

deviled eggs.

Of the meats, my wife had their fried chicken, my daughter and I had the rabbit. Rabbit was shredded and formed into a round patty and cooked. It was a mild meat, and in my opinion, not quite the flavor bomb the fried chicken was. On a revisit, I’d probably try the brisket or the chicken.

Fried chicken, best of our meats.


Of the sides.. a family shares portions of three sides. We tried the mac and cheese (awesome, says my daughter), the brussels sprouts, and some greens. All three were good. The salad was huge, full of surprises. The quality of service was lush.

In terms of location, it’s in the same building as Star Provisions, but more towards the side and the back. Look for the JCT “Tower” to help find the entrance.

JCT Kitchen
1198 Howell Mill Rd NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
(404) 355-2252

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Southern’s Best is pretty outside and inside, and manages to be cute at the same time. In many ways, it would be a good place for a casual first date. The menu is simple and straightforward. Meats tend towards chicken or turkey. One of a fistful of vegetables are made without meat, and retain plenty of flavor.

Roughly at the corner of Five Forks and Sugarloaf Parkway, across from Fronteras and Athens Cafe, and completely opposite the Publix at this corner.

I enjoyed my cornbread roll, but the spices in the roll might not work for everybody. Please don’t mistake this simple menu for plain spicing, because the people here do know how to draw flavor out of their food.

Southern’s Best Cafe
3315 Sugarloaf Parkway
Lawrenceville, GA 30045
(770) 864-9495

Southern's Best Cafe on Urbanspoon

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