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Paula Deen Don't Make Fried Green Tomatoes Good As Mama

Updated on February 21, 2014
DonnaCSmith profile image

Donna Campbell Smith is a published author, freelance writer, and photographer. She also specializes in horses.

My daughter is a big Paula Deen fan and when I planned my vacation to come to visit her in Bluffton, South Carolina I told her I wanted to see the sights. The first thing she suggested was, "Let's eat at Paula Deen's restaurant in Savannah." I don't have cable TV, so I'd only seen this witty Southern lady cook on Oprah and a few other daytime programs, but enjoyed her immensely. I figured it would be fun to come home and tell my friends I ate at the famous Lady & Sons in Savannah, Georgia, so I was all for going. This turned out to be much more an experience than just having lunch while we toured that great Southern city.

photo by Donna Campbell Smith
photo by Donna Campbell Smith

Paula Deen's The Lady and Sons


We arrived at 9:25 AM to stand in line for a lunch seating time. The line was already a block and a half long, but they were well organized and the wait wasn't too bad. Our party of six drew 10:45AM. We were instructed to come back a few minutes ahead of time and wait on the opposite side of the street.

That wait seemed longer since we were on the sunny side of the street and it was a warm day in June. Names were called and tickets handed out. Just before letting folks in the restaurant the cook came out with a triangle and rang the dinner bell. "Are you hungry?" she yelled. We all replied yes, but apparently our wait in the sun had weakened our voices, so she asked us again. After a short, entertaining banter she returned presumably to the kitchen to cook our food.

We were seated on the 3rd floor. The capacity is 300, one hundred per floor. Happily, a hostess escorted us to an elevator. She announced there was only one restroom for the whole restaurant, and after some painful groans said, "Just kidding."

The tables carried me back to my school lunchroom days. They were old institution style oak tables and chairs. The chairs scraping on the wood floor further brought back childhood memories.

The service was pure southern hospitality at its finest. Our waitress recommended the Southern buffet and that's what we all had. Our drink orders were taken. Tea was served with lemon and a sprig of mint. We were served complimentary piping hot hoecake and cheesy garlic biscuits. We asked if fried green tomatoes were on the buffet, and since they were not we ordered them as appetizers.

"Are You Ready to Eat?"

photo by Donna Campbell Smith
photo by Donna Campbell Smith

Paula Cooks Fried Green Tomatoes

The Food

Now, if you are from up north you would have probably given the buffet and fried green tomatoes five stars. But, if you grew up in the south with a mama who raised you on good, traditional southern cooking you might find yourself muttering, "Mama cooked better fried green tomatoes than this - or fried chicken, collard greens, etc."

My opinion is that the tomatoes were not acid enough; in fact they were bland. The breading was crispy and not too greasy. Very good, but I like my mama's recipe best. The fired chicken wasn't good as Mama's either, but then my Mama made the best fried chicken in the world. Just ask anybody who ever ate it.

I did think the baked macaroni and cheese was excellent, and the okra. The buffet also had spaghetti and sauce, lima beans, green beans, collard greens, and salad fixings. My favorite was the dessert: a chocolaty brownie that was just scrumptious.

After we finished lunch we went downstairs to the gift shop. Actually, it wasn't a shop, but a booth where once again we stood in a long line and had to give the clerk our orders across a desk. No browsing around inside. Tee-shirts, cookbooks, seasonings, cups and mugs and hoe cake mix in burlap bags were among the items for sale.

All in all, the experience was fun and the six of us can tell folks we ate at Paula Deen's The Lady and Sons Restaurant. Next time I want to eat at the Pirate House, where they claim to have a resident ghost.

The Lady and Sons is located at 102 West Congress Street, Savannah, Ga. For more information visit their website or call 912-233-2600.


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    • DonnaCSmith profile image

      Donna Campbell Smith 3 years ago from Central North Carolina

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I hope you have shared your mama's Fried Green Tomatoes recipe on hubpages. I will have to look for it.

    • profile image

      Darby 5 years ago

      My husband and I went to Savannah this past May. Of course, I insisted on going to The Lady and Sons Restaurant, mainly because my 8 yr old daughter is such a huge fan and I wanted a souvenir for her. We saw the line for lunch and did not stop. Rather we came back for dinner. There was no line. Period. We walked up to the door, they girls standing at the door gave us a ticket and we walked right in and were immediately seated - ground level. We ordered the same thing you did: Fried Green Tomatoes and the buffet. (The tomatoes were pretty good, but the ones I had at the Pirate's House the day before were the best I have ever had.) After dinner we went to the gift shop and there was no one in there but us. I got to wander around and browse a bit. Then the sales clerk told me I should check upstairs for some kid-type things. I bought a cookbook for me and an apron for my daughter. All in all, it was lovely, and I would definitely go back. I read your post to my husband and his question was "Was she at the SAME restaurant we were?! If we'd have had to wait like that we would have left and eaten somewhere else."

    • profile image

      Tiffany Latte 7 years ago

      I enjoy searching for fantastic cooks. I visit New Orleans, to eat; a favorite spot. Now I will visit Savannah, to eat. Traveling and good food work well together. Keep leaving that trail of bread crumbs. Many will follow LOL. By the way, how is her Chocolate Cake?

    • profile image

      Paula Deen Cookware 7 years ago

      My 2 favorite Paula Deen recipes are the hoecakes and the orange coffee cake. Unbelievable!

    • DonnaCSmith profile image

      Donna Campbell Smith 8 years ago from Central North Carolina

      Sounds great, Luna!

    • Luna di Blu profile image

      Luna di Blu 8 years ago

      Great post! My husband and I ate at Lady & Sons in January. My mother-in-law is an outrageously good Southern cook, so I specifically ordered things she doesn't fix so I couldn't compare. LOL Paula's shrimp and oysters are amazing. And I don't know how many of the hoecakes I ate before supper got there either. Yum. The drink of the night was a Southern Belle Martini. It was so pretty and (forgive me ahead of time for this one)...YUMMY Y'ALL! :)

    • DonnaCSmith profile image

      Donna Campbell Smith 8 years ago from Central North Carolina

      MSJUICIEJ, No one can cook like our Mama's!

    • profile image

      MSJUICIEJ 8 years ago


    • DonnaCSmith profile image

      Donna Campbell Smith 9 years ago from Central North Carolina

      Bless your heart! If my one tomato plant bears fruit I'll make some for you;o)

    • JDove-Miller profile image

      JDove-Miller 9 years ago from YOUNGSVILLE

      I grew up on the south, and I've never had fried green tomatoes. Can you believe that?

    • DonnaCSmith profile image

      Donna Campbell Smith 9 years ago from Central North Carolina

      Hi Tom, I guess you can call me your next door neighbor, since I am in NC. My daughter lives in Bluffton and whenever I visit we spend a day in Savannah. It is a beautiful city that is for sure.

    • Tom Chisholm, III profile image

      Tom Chisholm, III 9 years ago

      I'm a native Savannahian and to be totally honest if not for your opening stating that you were visiting Savannah I would say you were a native as well you hit right on target.


    • profile image

      C. C. Riter 9 years ago

      Oh my! My mouth is watering for that food here on a cold winters day. I love fried green tommies! I may be a yankee, but my mama and papa were both Kentuckians and i love good southern food. The mention of fried Okra left me salivating. I'm a pretty good cook too and do it up right. Can't wait for green tomatoes to get here. I gorw my own of course. Okra don't do well up here or grits.LOL Love them too! Got the chicken down pat. mmmmm good!

      Great hub!

    • profile image

      cvaughn570 9 years ago

      I love fried green tomatoes! My mom makes them for me. If I ever get to Georgia, I'll be sure to stop in and have some at The Lady and Sons Restaurant and see if they are as good as my mama's.

    • DonnaCSmith profile image

      Donna Campbell Smith 9 years ago from Central North Carolina

      Yeo, it was a fun time to remember. So, how do you make fried green tomatoes?

    • profile image

      Judy 9 years ago

      Cool, proud to be a member of the party of six.

    • Stephanie C Price profile image

      Stephanie C Price 9 years ago from Williamston, NC

      My sister cooked some for me and Julia Saturday night. They were pretty good. The ones I made at your house were better though. My sister does an egg wash and then rolls them in a flour/cornmeal mixture.

    • DonnaCSmith profile image

      Donna Campbell Smith 9 years ago from Central North Carolina

      Stepahnie did good! She cooked them at my house Friday. She uses a wet batter.

    • profile image

      obxdeborah 9 years ago

      I'm making fried green tomatoes tonight!

    • DonnaCSmith profile image

      Donna Campbell Smith 9 years ago from Central North Carolina

      LOL, Okay - you're on! Next time you're here we are putting you to the test.

    • Stephanie C Price profile image

      Stephanie C Price 9 years ago from Williamston, NC

      Hardly anyone cooks like mama. I have to say I make some of the best fried green tomatoes in the whole south though. Ask Julia.

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      Interesting Hub if ever i visit the USA and Savannah again, I will certainly bear this one in mind.


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