Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood?

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Heartbreaksoup
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2010/12/28 10:42:26 (permalink)

Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood?

I hope not to sound too pompous know-it-all when I say this, but... yesterday for lunch, my family and I had an amazing meal at Skippers Fish Camp in Darien.  We stopped here because we've set a goal of visiting all the Georgia restaurants (currently 31) reviewed on this site, and featuring each on our own food blog (that's Marie Let's Eat! if you didn't know).  We've about hit the halfway point, after which, it will get a little tricky - particularly going back and forth through middle Georgia for all the ones between Jackson and Fort Valley.
 
Now Skippers Fish Camp is indeed terrific, and I had some of the best shrimp that I've ever had.  Brunswick stew and gator were also really great.  But, I have to say, this is the *least* roadfood experience of any place that this site has sent us in any state.  It's part of a high-end public-private partnership to revitalize the Darien downtown and small riverfront area, a multi-million dollar project that includes a huge condominium complex.  They sell sea salt scrub by the jar for $25.  Looking at their website and noting their outrageously high prices, my family had a big breakfast on SSI and, for lunch, split one entree, two appetizers and two cups of stew.  The bill was still $51 before tip.  This is very much a high-end, destination restaurant for high rollers.  If you're familiar with Atlanta, it's much more like Ray's or Dantanna's than anything that I was expecting.
 
I understand paying for quality, and if you're looking for a great meal, parked next to the lone Lexus in the posh lot, this is a good possibility.  But on our way back to I-95, we passed by a block house called BJ's Steaks and Seafood with a parking lot absolutely packed.  I have been wondering for the last 23 hours whether we didn't go to the wrong place.
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    wanderingjew
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2010/12/28 10:56:19 (permalink)
    According to some of my roadfood friends your post should be a figment of my imagination because according to them I'm the only one on the entire forum who thinks that there has been a post website concentation of diners/drive ins and dives versus regional food served in any setting.
     
    Based your description on what they serve, the place seem to emulate pure unadulterated roadfood.
     
    ***Edit*****
     
    I took a look at their website which includes photos of the interior
    it looks like a classic roadfood setting to me...
    post edited by wanderingjew - 2010/12/28 11:03:18
    #2
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2010/12/28 11:05:29 (permalink)
    Having never dined at Skipper's Fish Camp before, I can't give you a complete opinion.  But, I wouldn't say a place is not Roadfood, simply based on the price of the meal.  Peter Luger in NYC is most definitely Roadfood as is Joe's Stone Crab in Miami Beach.  It depends on what you order, but both of those places will most likely cost you over $50.00 per person.
     
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    seafarer john
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2010/12/28 11:19:03 (permalink)
    While most of us prize the mom and pop joints we learn about here on Roadfood, there's no reason for us to deny ourselves the delights of high end joints when our pocketbooks allow. Everything that is good to eat and everything that is local and good to eat should be on the plate for us Roadfooders.
     
    Cheers, John  
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    ann peeples
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2010/12/28 11:21:18 (permalink)
    I have to agree with WJ and BB and Seafarer-my first thought after reading the post was that roadfood is not defined by price whatsoever.How many people dined on 51.00? If it was four, thats not bad at 12.50 or so a person.The quality of the food sounds great.What I wouldnt give, and pay for, fresh Georgia caught shrimp!I guess my only advice is to research menus before you go if you are on a limited budget.For my 51.00, I probably would have gone for appetizers to share..and from the prices on the menu, I would have had an abundance of sampling.
    post edited by annpeeples - 2010/12/28 11:23:16
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    Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2010/12/28 11:29:36 (permalink)
    wanderingjew
      I'm the only one on the entire forum who thinks that there has been a post website concentation of diners/drive ins and dives versus regional food served in any setting.

    Correct!
    #6
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2010/12/28 11:36:57 (permalink)
    annpeeples

    I have to agree with WJ and BB and Seafarer-my first thought after reading the post was that roadfood is not defined by price whatsoever.How many people dined on 51.00? If it was four, thats not bad at 12.50 or so a person.The quality of the food sounds great.What I wouldnt give, and pay for, fresh Georgia caught shrimp!I guess my only advice is to research menus before you go if you are on a limited budget.For my 51.00, I probably would have gone for appetizers to share..and from the prices on the menu, I would have had an abundance of sampling.

    Ann
     
    I totally agree, I blew $100 on myself alone at the venerable roadfood establishment Joe's Stone Crab and that was 5 years ago!
    Oh and it appears Bruce wants a debate- but he's not going to get one.  However when foodasaurus thought that Angelo's (the most casual of restaurants on federal hill) in Rhode Island was "too fancy" to be a roadfood restaurant....I rest my case.
     
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    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2010/12/28 11:49:20 (permalink)
    I just looked at their website, and if that's not Roadfood I can't imagine what is.
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    Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2010/12/28 11:52:57 (permalink)
    wanderingjew
    it appears Bruce wants a debate- but he's not going to get one.  However

    That "however" belies your previous statement.  But, no, I wasn't looking to debate.  Just wanted to get my dig in.
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    Heartbreaksoup
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2010/12/28 11:58:43 (permalink)
    Hmmm.  Perhaps I'm not expressing myself well.
     
    Put another way, Skippers wouldn't exist without corporate investors willing to back a big government scheme to revitalize a flagging economy, and get back a better than 100% return on their investment - there's a 2000-2006 annual report next to the server's station.  There is no "Skipper" who's put his life into this place, but many "skippers" who saw an opportunity.
     
    Obviously you can't judge a place by the Sysco truck - my one visit to the wonderful Southern Kitchen in New Market VA saw one backed up and unloading - and you can't judge a place by the "buzz you when your table is ready" boxes - hello, Loveless Cafe in Nashville - and you can't judge a place by the price alone - Blue Willow Inn in Social Circle does all right...
     
    ...but this is not a place that, while certainly offering very good local, fresh shrimp, feels in any way like it defines the local character, whatever that's supposed to be in Darien.  It feels like the investment opportunity that it clearly is.
     
    While I don't feel like arguing the point too much - I would, however, love to hear from people who have been there - I do have to take issue with WJ and Michael Hoffman's judgement-by-website photos... the interior is quite precisely designed to evoke a certain look, in much the same way that Cracker Barrel stores in Maine are designed to look like old country stores from Lebanon TN.
     
    Maybe that explains it better.  While the public-private partnership that resulted in this place getting kickstarted probably required a certain set of stimuli to result in this particular bit of lightning in the bottle, the same gang of investors could open one in every state and you'd wonder why Red Lobster couldn't taste this good.
    post edited by Heartbreaksoup - 2010/12/28 11:59:55
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    Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2010/12/28 12:13:34 (permalink)
    Heartbreaksoup, I think the reason Michael Stern wrote up Skipper's is he liked the food, and the food is specific to the region.  The parameters that define Roadfood on this site tend to be somewhat broader than those that define Roadfood in the books.  All that corporate/government stuff surely doesn't work in its favor, but Michael probably felt on balance Skipper's is worth recommending (and he may not have even been aware of much of that backstory, not that it would have necessarily mattered).
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    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2010/12/28 12:13:43 (permalink)
    When I said I'd looked at their website, I didn't mean that I just looked at the pictures. I checked out their menus, too. And if that food isn't regional and Roadfoodish I don't know what is.
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    Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2010/12/28 12:20:55 (permalink)
    Michael, you're probably right, but Roadfood means different things to different people.  It has to be inexpensive - the food has to be regional - it has to be mom-and-pop owned... the rules go on and on.  In reality there are no rules, of course, just tendencies.  It's all taken into account, and in the end, if it feels like Roadfood to the person writing the review (in this case, Michael Stern), then it is, even if it violates some of those "rules."
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    ann peeples
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2010/12/28 12:31:20 (permalink)
    I understand that we all may be looking for Mom and Pops that have invested their lives in a place that serves good food, but unfortunately, those establishments seem to be dying as evidenced by the many roadfood forums on places such as those that have closed.So in going with what is out there, we may run into places that are backed by corporate investors but are a one of a kind unique place that serves good food. In my opinion, those reviews and recommendations belong here, and I , for one, trust the reviewers because they are the ones that have been to the Mom and Pops for years;they  know good food 99% of the time-i.e. Jane and Michael Stern, Buffetbuster, Wanderingjew, The Mayor-the list goes on and on.If it turns into a chain and goes downhill, then that is another story. But I wont worry about that right now-" I am afraid of tornadoes, but I dont live in my basement". I am sorry you are disappointed in the background of the place as opposed to just having had a fine meal.
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    wanderingjew
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2010/12/28 12:35:40 (permalink)
    Heartbreaksoup

      I do have to take issue with WJ and Michael Hoffman's judgement-by-website photos... the interior is quite precisely designed to evoke a certain look, in much the same way that Cracker Barrel stores in Maine are designed to look like old country stores from Lebanon TN.

     
    Not sure why, perhaps I'm missing something, Is this place a chain? Based on the website,
    there is only one location. Most restaurant owners I know whether their restaurants are backed by corporate sponsors or not  design their restaurants to evoke a certain look.
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    Foodbme
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2010/12/28 14:10:21 (permalink)
    I find this to be a very interesting, intelligent and eloquent conversation. Carry on!
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    seafarer john
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2010/12/28 14:31:51 (permalink)
    Gail and I ate at Skippers about 4 years ago on a chilly January night. The place looked brand new - I don't think it had been opened very long at that time. We were well satisfied with the food (although we were sorry we chose the big dining room over the oyster bar because the bar seemed more lively than the big room we were in which was nearly empty). We had oysters (don't know where they came from), fried shrimp (presumably local) and a broiled flounder filet. I don't remember what we had to drink - maybe coffee it being such a chilly night. The service was good - why wouldn't it be with so few customers. We'd be happy to go back again, and ,in fact, just might do so on our way south in January.
     
    If you are looking for a fish camp such as you will find along the St Johns and Indian  Rivers in Florida, you'll find Skippers much too fancy - but we liked it and we also like the rustic joints in Florida.
     
    BTW: I'd never order gator or cooter again - once was enough at a Florida fish camp, not bad, but there's way too many great things to eat on the menu to waste my time on those two items.   
     
    Cheers, John 
    post edited by seafarer john - 2010/12/28 14:37:14
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    Curbside Grill
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2010/12/31 14:10:16 (permalink)
    Heartbreaksoup 

      But on our way back to I-95, we passed by a block house called BJ's Steaks and Seafood with a parking lot absolutely packed.  I have been wondering for the last 23 hours whether we didn't go to the wrong place.
     
     
    You have missed one of the best seafood and steak places in GA. Been there a many a times. Party's of 3 -38.  Everyone raves.
    Have escort/support people showed me the place years ago they get what they want. Some swear about the seafood others loved the Ribeyes. You cannot go wrong there.
     
    My wife is informing me that I am wrong, one trip we had 43 in tow. Very accommodating. plus us.
    To many tired and hungry people that day. LOL Just wanted to eat and get back to the Motel in Brunswick


    post edited by Curbside Grill - 2010/12/31 14:33:18
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    MellowRoast
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2010/12/31 15:54:15 (permalink)
    Lively discussions are always welcome, and Heartbreaksoup has certainly introduced one.    If Lawry's The Prime Rib (Chicago) can make the Roadfood roster, I don't see a problem with the single-location Skippers Fish Camp.  I hope I'm fortunate enough to visit both, as well as BJ's.  And doggone it, speaking of slightly pricy fare, I wish someone would review Norman's Landing in Cumming, GA.  Friends tell me it's sensational, and if I get there first, I'll review the place.  (I probably won't be able to get the pictures posted, but I'll cross that bridge when I get there.)
    post edited by MellowRoast - 2011/01/01 04:58:01
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    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2011/01/02 11:28:58 (permalink)
    Heartbreaksoup, I totally get what you're talking about.  I too start to get suspicious whenever I see a too-nice-to-be-locally-financed redesign of a place.  The thing is, whenever we trot out the 'what constitutes Roadfood' argument, like we're doing here, it's exactly the exceptions that undo all the rules.  Dale would disagree with me, but I think it's still very much a floating definition.  (Disclaimer: I haven't been to Skippers and so won't talk about it specifically.)
     
    The expensive rule is broken all the time.  Folks from my neck of the woods would balk at the cost of a lobster roll (well, at least before this past season) from a shack in the Northeast and yet that is pretty much the quintessential example of Roadfood.  The corporate-owned-and-operated rule is broken all the time.  Sometimes those tiny just-squeaking-by shacks are serving excellent, quality food, and sometimes they're serving crap or wildly inconsistent food.  Sometimes corporate places are quite good.  It only takes a person to make a corporation.
     
    The real bottom line for me is also subjectivity.  There are Roadfood stalwarts that I've been to and gone 'eh.'  There are places I eat all the time that wouldn't really qualify as Roadfood and might horrify folks on this site.  (see also i95's post under the News section about blasphemy.)  It's like porn; you know it when you see it.  :)
    #20
    beteez
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2011/01/02 19:17:55 (permalink)
    Skipper's is owned by a group from nearby St Simons Is. It is a nice place, but for a true roadfood experience try B&J's around the corner on 17, It is a simple block building with long tables. They offer a  buffet, but for $12 you can get a shrimp basket or $18 a shrimp dinner with over a lb of large fresh shrimp & 2 sides. They are the best shrimp in the area and very reasonable, the owners are also ther if they are open
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    DougS
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2011/01/02 20:53:38 (permalink)
    Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle

    Michael, you're probably right, but Roadfood means different things to different people.  It has to be inexpensive - the food has to be regional - it has to be mom-and-pop owned... the rules go on and on.  In reality there are no rules, of course, just tendencies.  It's all taken into account, and in the end, if it feels like Roadfood to the person writing the review (in this case, Michael Stern), then it is, even if it violates some of those "rules."

    I seem to get what heartbreaksoup is driving at and tend to agree.
    There are tons of excellent eating places from high end to low end out there. Why settle for overpriced food, when just around the corner is a true Mom & Pop eatery offering good food at reasonable prices. Isn't that more what this site is about in all honesty, or is it straying off into the twilight zone. Maybe the Waldorf should rate as road food if the rules are being ignored. Frankly! I would include The Waffle House as road food if rules were ignored. What is probably most important is regional food, good food at reasonable prices.
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    Heartbreaksoup
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2011/01/03 06:32:30 (permalink)
    I did want to stop back by and not appear like I vanished completely after lobbing an incendiary topic into discussion and running away, giggling.  My family's had a fairly awful and distracting weekend, but I doubt I would have had much more to contribute to the discussion beyond stamping my foot, insisting that I'm right, and that if I judged this neat place I saw called Outback based on its website's description and menus, then I'd be sure to enjoy a traditional Australian dish called "shrimp on the barbie."  With the greatest of respect to WJ and Michael, who've been here much longer than me and contributed much more than I have - I'm pretty sure I had not learned to stop eating at McDonald's in 2000 and 2001 when y'all joined - I really just can't agree with that, as surely Skippers *wants* to be perceived as something that it isn't.
     
    Maybe I'm being a n00b know-it-all for suggesting what roadfood is when: (a) Jane and Michael's first use of the term came when I was just a kid, (b) genre discussions are inherently navel-gazing and dumb and (c) some of y'all have been doing this for years and have concluded, rightly, that there is no definition.  I'll just say that while Skippers was dang good - that shouldn't be overlooked, and my comment when we left was "That was amazing, but what the heck was it doing on the roadfood site?" - it doesn't fit my own preconceived notions, and that those notions haven't been swayed by the experience or, in this case, the very valuable and interesting discussion.
     
    Reasonable arguments on the internet?  Are we all grown-ups or something?
     
    As for BJs, I am glad to see it fondly reviewed by Curbside and beteez.  Sometimes you look at a place and you just know.  There are so many excellent food experiences down there in south Georgia and so many places that I want to revisit - heck, I went to SSI twice in 2010 and didn't get one of those fabulous burgers at Brogen's even once!! - that I don't want to spend time at any investment group's cash cow, no matter how good the shrimp is.  With limited time, Sunday closings, and some of our meals taken up by my mother-in-law's wonderful traditional Dutch suppers and her absurdly big breakfasts with a half-dozen jams and spreads, we don't eat at as many places as I'd like anyway. 
    #23
    ann peeples
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2011/01/03 06:40:03 (permalink)
    Good point, my friend. I meant no offense to you and was only offering my opinion.I do, and will, continue to seek out what you and I consider real roadfood. I got what you were saying, after careful consideration, but just dont want to discount said places.Thats all. Happy New Year to you and yours!
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    mhaugen
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2011/01/03 23:43:19 (permalink)
    I'm inclined to say that "Roadfood" places should tend towards the more off the beaten path restaurants. One of my favorite all time places - found through Roadfood.com - is Henry's, in West Jefferson, Ohio. Part of the fun, in addition to the spectacular pie, was that my friends and I couldn't even find the place despite driving past it. While there are a *few* upper crust restaurants (Dooky Chase in New Orleans is an example) that could qualify as Roadfood places because they are very uniquely regional, for the most part I believe that they should be on the cheaper and more "rustic" (i.e. beat up) than most places. Dive bars and mom and pop joints are perfect examples.
    #25
    Curbside Grill
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2011/01/04 00:08:27 (permalink)
    Looking thru your Blog, do you need a place for next year?  Third generation running it today. Hot Dog place since 1921

    post edited by Curbside Grill - 2011/01/04 04:37:53
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    schindlr
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2011/01/04 06:44:20 (permalink)
    I agree with mhaugen and others.  Ideally, a roadfood place should be cheap, but as was pointed out by buffetbuster and seafarer john, most of us are more interested in good food than low prices.  I appreciate that information on both are available here.  As a native New Orleanian, I wouldn't make a trip back to the Crescent City without dinner at Galatoire's, but I hit plenty of true roadfood establishments on those trips as well.
    #27
    jackr8
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2011/01/04 10:02:47 (permalink)
    I agree with including restaurants that may carry a bigger price. Just identify it up front as a little more costly. 
    #28
    sky
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2011/01/04 11:45:54 (permalink)
    I think it's Justice Potter I'm paraphrasing--he couldn't define it, but he knew it when he saw it.  Trust Jane and Michael to know what Roadfood is; that we're looking for wonderful food--especially regional food--at an everyday price.  But once in awhile we all like to spurge; to try a place that really represents the best of a region and if we know that up going in....
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    Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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    Re:Skippers Fish Camp in Darien GA... this is roadfood? 2011/01/04 12:03:26 (permalink)
    sky is right, trust Jane and Michael's judgment when it comes to Roadfood, because they seem to have perfect pitch about the subject.  But don't be afraid to modify their approach to suit yourself.  You want to drop cafeterias and burger joints from your own Roadfood concept, go right ahead.  You think Roadfood should embrace that great Thai place in Dubuque and the little South Indian joint in Athens, GA? Nothing wrong with that.  Just remember that other folks will have different ideas about Roadfood.
    #30
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