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Blue Willow Inn

294 N. Cherokee Rd., Social Circle, GA - (770) 464-2131
Posted By Michael Stern on 3/20/2013 6:34:00 AM
A meal at the Blue Willow Inn is an event. A big, big event. Sunday supper to the max, seven days a week.

Located in a grand old mansion in the quiet Dixie town of Social Circle, it is a serve-yourself buffet. Pay one price and eat all of everything you want.

Once you find a seat and get your lemonade, you graze through the buffet room, where the day’s food is set out, arrayed on several tables, including one dedicated only to dessert. The beautiful vista of things to eat fills us not only with insatiable hunger, but also with a certain degree of anxiety. There is no way any one person can even taste everything, let alone eat satisfying portions of all the food that looks so good. There is just too, too much. With at least four meats and a dozen vegetables on display, not to mention biscuits and cornbread and relishes, you either aim for a tiny bite of everything or you find yourself making hard choices: pass up the macaroni and cheese in favor of skillet squash; ignore cornbread dressing so there is room on the plate for sweet corn casserole. If you crave a feast of baked and smothered pork chops, then you likely won’t sample the kitchen’s magnificent streak o’ lean -- thick strips of bacony pork that vary in texture from wickedly crusty to meltaway-lush, blanketed with smooth white gravy. For those of us who travel far to eat at the Blue Willow Inn and can come only rarely, these decisions can be agonizing.

Certain foods are musts: the Fried chicken is classic. Fried green tomatoes are exemplary. Collard greens, long cooked to porky tenderness, are an only-in-the-south joy. Chicken and dumplings, which is served as a soup but is thick as stew, is supremely comforting -- alabaster white, soft, smooth, and aromatic. And, of course, biscuits. Using a recipe from Sema Wilkes’ legendary boarding house in Savannah, the kitchen creates tan-crusted domes with fluffy insides and a compelling fresh-from-the-oven aroma. Their tops are faintly knobby because the dough is patted out rather than rolled.

As for dessert, there are pies, cakes, cookies, and pudding; but the one we recommend (assuming you have an inkling of appetite by the end of the meal) is warm fruit cobbler.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
fried chicken
greens
fried green tomatoes
Peach Cobbler
biscuits
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

My plate after trip number one to the buffet.
"My plate after trip number one to the buffet."
Cliff Strutz





Help yourself to the big bowl of greens, with plenty of ham throughout.
"Help yourself to the big bowl of greens, with plenty of ham throughout."
Cliff Strutz


Among the many dessert options are pecan pie, coconut cake, chocolate cake, carrot cake, brownies and cookies.
"Among the many dessert options are pecan pie, coconut cake, chocolate cake, carrot cake, brownies and cookies."
Cliff Strutz


The reason so many southern-style green vegetables taste so good is that they are flavored with plenty of pig meat, in this case big hunks of ham.
"The reason so many southern-style green vegetables taste so good is that they are flavored with plenty of pig meat, in this case big hunks of ham."
Michael Stern


That is a great looking slice of buttermilk pie, what food wouldn't look good on this china?
"That is a great looking slice of buttermilk pie, what food wouldn't look good on this china?"
Cliff Strutz


No self-respecting buffet table in a deep-South restaurant is without a tray of yams.  These are vanilla scented, soft, and sweet.
"No self-respecting buffet table in a deep-South restaurant is without a tray of yams. These are vanilla scented, soft, and sweet."
Michael Stern


In the buffet room of the Blue Willow Inn, there is always a drawer full of warm corn bread.  Help yourself!
"In the buffet room of the Blue Willow Inn, there is always a drawer full of warm corn bread. Help yourself!"
Michael Stern


One dish that is always on the menu, at lunch and at supper: fried green tomatoes.  Be sure to take some red tomato chutney as their condiment.
"One dish that is always on the menu, at lunch and at supper: fried green tomatoes. Be sure to take some red tomato chutney as their condiment."
Michael Stern


A big pan of Blue Willow Inn's golden-crusted fried chicken is a beautiful sight to lovers of Southern food.
"A big pan of Blue Willow Inn's golden-crusted fried chicken is a beautiful sight to lovers of Southern food."
Cliff Strutz


My vote for best dessert in the house goes to the excellent peach cobbler.
"My vote for best dessert in the house goes to the excellent peach cobbler."
Cliff Strutz


Wanderingjew helps himself to the fried green tomatoes.
"Wanderingjew helps himself to the fried green tomatoes."
Cliff Strutz


Here is where you check in with the hostess.  The buffet is located in the room to the left.
"Here is where you check in with the hostess. The buffet is located in the room to the left."
Cliff Strutz


If you have to wait for a table inside, or if you need to relax a while after eating, the front porch is arraged with rocking chairs for customers' comfort.
"If you have to wait for a table inside, or if you need to relax a while after eating, the front porch is arraged with rocking chairs for customers' comfort."
Michael Stern


Travelers come from miles around to feast in this old Georgia mansion east of Atlanta.
"Travelers come from miles around to feast in this old Georgia mansion east of Atlanta. "
Michael Stern


The grounds of Blue Willow Inn have expanded over the years and now include this lovely side garden.
"The grounds of Blue Willow Inn have expanded over the years and now include this lovely side garden."
Cliff Strutz



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