There are some things in this life that you can pass on and never question whether you should have tried it, but Mrs. Wilkes is not one of them. Mr. Traveler heard about this place through a recommendation and after a bit of research we knew we had to try it out. This is one of those places that you will talk about the rest of your life and go back to every time you return to Savannah. We specifically built this day trip around eating at this old mansion in the heart of downtown Savannah.
The line starts to form around 10am every day and the anxious foodies start to line the block quickly after. Luckily, we got a great spot in line about 10:15am and we were seated at the second table around 11:05am. Keep in mind they are only open Monday through Friday from 11am until 2pm so careful planning is a necessity. Once you’re inside you are seated at a large dining room table with about 10 to 12 other strange, starving individuals. That’s the cool thing about eating this way. Strangers usually have awesome stories and hopefully some of them are locals that can entertain you with their stories dating back to the 50’s when Mrs. Wilkes was still a Miss. We sat with a gentleman that had been eating here since it opened back in the 40’s . He told us he used to eat breakfast for .50 cent and didn’t miss a day eating there. He still shows up daily and makes it to the front of the line each time.
Once the seats are filled the soul food smorgasbord begins. I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my head. Every single bowl of food looked amazing. I felt like I was 8 years old sitting at my grandma’s kitchen table hogging the macaroni bowl and refusing to pass the chicken. There was so much food on the table I couldn’t put it all on my plate. Seconds are mandatory. Come hungry and get full. The fried chicken was perfectly battered. The mashed potatoes were soft and creamy. The greens were fresh and flavorful. The jambalaya rice had spicy sausages. The rutabagas, which I had never tried and Mr. Traveler insisted upon, surprisingly tasted like roasted potatoes. The list goes on and on, fried okra, BBQ, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes, black eyed peas, snap beans, butter beans, yams, beats, biscuits and cornbread. When I say this was one of the best home cooked meals of my life, I pray my mom doesn’t read this review but it topped the charts. And just when you think your stomach is full, these sweet ladies bring a tray around with your choice of banana pudding or apple cobbler. And if you’re a charmer like Mr. Traveler, they will let you try both and get seconds. Any good southern restaurant would be nothing without our staple to wash it down; the folks behind the scenes at Mrs. Wilkes also know the recipe for the perfect sweet tea. Don’t be fooled by the kind ladies that bring the food and fill your cup because once you’ve cleaned your plate they will tell you to take your own dirty plates to the kitchen. We highly recommend paying a visit to the one of a kind, old fashioned boarding house at least once.
I have truly never had a meal like this and can’t imagine that we will find another place that even compares. Mrs. Wilkes has since passed away, but in true southern practice four generations of strong family have kept her dream alive. Hopefully next time we will be sitting with some of you at our table to regale in fine southern tradition and feast on some of the best food the south has to offer.