In honor of sending our much-anticipated 2018 Taste 50 list off to press, we’re throwing it back to the best of our 2017 list. From great folks to good eats and everything in between, we love to share all that the South has to offer. So make sure to add these gems to your must-go list, and keep an eye out for the 2018 list in our upcoming July/August issue.
1 SIMMONS-WRIGHT GENERAL STORE
Owned by the same family since it opened in 1884 in Kewanee, Mississippi, this general store is a time capsule of Southern culture. Still a working store (they sell hoop cheese, local sorghum, and essential farm tools), they also sell antiques such as vintage cast iron. Do yourself a favor and stop by for lunch or breakfast, then wander the creaking plank floors while you wait for your homestyle Southern cooking. It’s an experience you’ll never forget.
2 SEQUATCHIE COVE FARM & CREAMERY
Less than a half hour drive from Chattanooga, Tennessee, Sequatchie Cove Farm is the perfect Saturday trip for lovers of lush, rolling pastures—and delicious cheese. Get a look at this private working farm, visit the trading post, and taste some of the award-winning cheeses from the Sequatchie Cove Creamery, a handcrafted family operation nestled in the center of this 300-acre farmstead. Fresh cheese and fresh air? Count us in.
3 GREEK-OWNED MEAT-AND-THREES
In Birmingham, Alabama, the immigrant tradition of the last century is alive and well at Johnny’s Restaurant, Niki’s West, and Ted’s Restaurant—three Southern-style meat-and-threes with a definite Greek twist. With menu items such as Keftedes (Greek meatballs) at Johnny’s in Homewood to Greek-style snapper at Niki’s West, descendants of the city’s original Greek immigrants have found the balance between the South’s passion for slow-cooked vegetables and its adventurous palate.
4 CHATTOOGA BELLE FARM
U-pick orchards dot the South, inviting travelers to fill buckets with summer fresh fruit, but few are as enchanting as Chattooga Belle Farm in the South Carolina Upcountry. Ed and Kitty Land transformed a forgotten apple orchard into a place you could spend all day enjoying, from plucking ripe peaches and blackberries to watching barn kittens fraternize with the free-roaming chickens. With its own bistro and whiskey distillery, it’s the perfect place to spend a summer afternoon.
5 BORDEN’S ICE CREAM SHOPPE
Step through the doors of Borden’s Ice Cream Shoppe in Lafayette, Louisiana, and you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time. Claim a stool at the 1950s-style soda fountain counter, and order an old-fashioned frappe or a skyscraper banana split. Originally opened in 1940, it was one of more than 100 Borden shops across the South. Now, it’s the only one left.
6 NORTH CAROLINA PIG PICKIN’
In the 19th century, pigs were the most practical way to feed large groups in hard times. Starting the day with killing the pig and then waiting for it to roast soon became a social event, and the pig pickin’ was born. Today, you can find a pig pickin’ happening somewhere in the South nearly every weekend for any occasion—from graduations to a “just because” potluck.
7 HILLBILLY HOTDOGS
Made up of a 12×16-foot wooden building, two renovated school buses, and even a functioning wedding chapel, Hillbilly Hotdogs in Lesage, West Virginia, is overflowing with personality, courtesy of enthusiastic owners Sonny and Sharie Knight. Whipping up hot dogs of all kinds for the last 17 years, this is one hot dog stand you have to see to believe.
Planning on checking out some of these hotspots? Be sure to tag us for a chance to be featured on our social media accounts. Tune in next week for our next #Taste50TBT.