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A Southern Style Food Trip with CurEater Griffin Bufkin

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Image by Wynn Myers for Southern Living Magazine

It’s often the hidden gems off of an old, country road that make our tastebuds cry tears of pure joy. Being from North Carolina, we are pretty familiar with the Southern style food, so we wanted to learn more about the fare of a different state in the Southeast. We chose Georgia, and CurEater Griffin Bufkin, Co-owner of Southern Soul BBQ on St.Simons Island, led the way.

Bufkin spreads the Southern Style Food/BBQ gospel. When it comes to food, Bufkin believes in all things regional and resourceful. “Southeast Coastal Georgia is such an abundant area with exciting things happening from Cumberland Oysters, Sapelo Clams to heirloom red peas and purple ribbon sugarcane,” said Bufkin, “Bison, quail, ducks, heritage pigs and grass-fed cattle are all part of this region and SOUEGA has definitely been experiencing a revival.”

If you are looking for a road trip to explore Southern style food, we highly recommend you plan a trip through Southeast Georgia. based on Bufkin’s “Back Roads” lists. We asked Bufkin to share one of his favorite restaurants from each list and to give us a little detail just to entice you.

Back Roads: Route 341

Sybil’s Family Restaurant in Jesup, Georgia is a one of those increasingly rare Southern style buffets that do it right. No shortcuts like frozen biscuits and #10 cans dumped into steam table pans. Everything is made from scratch  everyday. Friday night the buffet is filled with local seafood.

Back Roads: Route 17

B&J’s Steaks & Seafood in McIntosh County embodies the classic, coastal small town road side seafood joint. Neighborhood crowds eat hyper-local seafood and choice steaks on long tables with banquet chairs and no frills. The shrimp are fresh daily from the Darien River Docks.

Back Roads: Route 16

We discovered A&A Restaurant & Grocery in tiny Allentown, GA while traveling north from St.Simons to Atlanta. One mile off Highway 16 around the Dublin Exit, you’ll find this friendly roadside grocery and grill cooking up to-die-for fried chicken and some of the finest, griddled cheesburgers around. Cheap prices, too.

We love BBQ. We live for BBQ. If the drive calls to take US-82 or anywhere close we’ll hit up our friends up at Gary Lee’s Market. Once a small grocery with a bustling butcher counter, it’s now a full-time meat market/BBQ joint that cooks fresh-cut, smoked brisket, baby back ribs and legit BBQ pork shoulder with vinegar sauce. The 3/4 pound burgers are legendary. It’s open Thursday through Saturday.