Mrs Wilkes Dining Room

107 West Jones Street, Savannah, 31401, United States

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This is a very unusual place to eat. It started as a boarding house in 1943, and each morning at 11:00 serves a communal meal of traditional southern food. There are eight tables of ten (no bookings), and you take your seats at tables with a selection of dishes laid out. There is no menu, no choice, and you serve yourself.  Waitresses clear empty plates and bring you a glass of water and iced tea, but you even take you own plates back to the kitchen when you are finished.

This has developed quite a reputation, and on the weekday morning when I went not only were all eight tables fully occupied, but there was a long queue for the next sitting when I left. This has the potential to be a tacky tourist trap, but the cooking is authentic enough. I was particularly impressed with spicy brown rice (13/20) and by home-made baked beans, which were tender and had a sweet tomato sauce (13/20). Other dishes were pleasant e.g. creamy grits, sweet potato, fried chicken, cabbage and meatloaf, which were all around the 11/20 level. The corn bread, served hot, was excellent, with a light and fluffy texture (14/20).There was a simple but nicely made cherry cobbler for dessert (12/20).

This is clearly not the place for a formal meal, and you take your chances on who you are seated next to, but the atmosphere is friendly and the cooking genuine. You help yourself to as much as you can eat, and the whole thing costs USD 16.

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  • Mark Thompson

    Andy ... I am glad you enjoyed Mrs Wilkes. We have been a couple of times, as this is a fun spot for lunch. It is important to get in line about 10:45a. Ribs, fresh vegetables, chicken & noodles, corn bread, ice tea, ... it's like going to a picnic at Grammas.