As I mentioned in the previous chapter, we’re attempting to visit as many of the Georgia restaurants that are featured at Roadfood.com as we can. Coming back I-20 from Madison, we had lunch at a second such restaurant in a day. Madison itself was as fun as ever, although planning to have an early breakfast there and an early lunch in another town doesn’t allow you a lot of opportunities when many of the stores don’t open ’til eleven. Well, we did a little window shopping at least, and enjoyed some of the pretty buildings and houses while taking a nice walk.
Now, it turns out that the roadfood list does have a small error in it. It suggests that Kelly’s BBQ is in Covington, and I don’t believe that’s true at all. It’s actually ten miles north of there in a small crossroads community called Walnut Grove, which is actually closer to Loganville than Covington. And Urbanspoon’s no better; it says the restaurant’s in Covington, too! It’s at the intersection of state highways 81 and 138 and, sensibly, when it first opened in the 1970s, it was a restaurant called Crossroads. The man who rechristened it Kelly’s took over in the mid-80s, and he sold it three years ago to new owners who have kept the menu, the recipes and, where possible, the low prices – Marie and our daughter and I ate for $15 – but have expanded the building to allow more indoor seating. It no longer looks quite the way it appears in the photos at Roadfood.com, so it’s missing a little bit of the quaint, roadside stand feel.
Also missing from Kelly’s these days is a giant pig. The restaurant used to have a really enormous sculpted pig next to the building that weighed several hundred pounds, but a couple of years ago, some fast-moving criminals came by in a truck in the dead of night and spirited it away. The Walton County sheriff’s department would appreciate any information.
A large plate of chopped pork here gives you plenty to share. There’s more than enough pork for one, along with bread, fries, slaw and Brunswick stew. There are three sauces available, mild, hot and sweet, and the pork already comes wet with the house’s mild sauce. I’d recommend you order it dry and sauce it up to your liking. The sauces are all vinegar-tomato blends and guests can buy them by the bottle.
The only disappointment that any of us had was with the slaw. Now me, I like any style, variety or recipe of slaw just fine. Mayo, vinegar, red, mustard, it’s all good to me. But the closer it gets to that really finely-diced, mayo-heavy Chick-fil-A style slaw, the less Marie likes it. She ordered a small cup with her chopped pork sandwich, and I knew as soon as they brought the tray to our table that she wasn’t going to enjoy it. So I gave her most of my stew, which was very good, and tasted heavily and delightfully of corn.
Kelly’s offers a lot more than just barbecue; they have burgers and steaks and plenty of other things which, if they’re as good as the tasty chopped pork, are probably worth a try. On the other hand, ever since I was old enough to understand what the heck one is supposed to order at a barbecue restaurant, I’ve kind of figured that burgers are there in lieu of a kid’s menu. Don’t get me wrong; I like burgers more than most, but chopped pork this wonderful, tender and moist is going to win out every time.