Gary Lee’s Market, Brunswick GA

When Brunswick’s Georgia Pig closed in the spring of 2012, many people agreed that was a shame, particularly since finding good barbecue on that corridor has always been a little tricky. Over at Roadfood.com, a user called Greymo suggested that about four miles inside the highway, away from the coast, much better barbecue could be found at a little place called Gary Lee’s Market. I added it to our to-do list in the region, but a few lines down from the top. In fact, it was so far down the list that, back in January, when we came down US-82 through Tifton and Waycross, we drove right past it and I turned to Marie and said “I think that was that place that I read about on the internet that time.” I am certain that many of you have said much the same thing to your own loved ones.

I feel that our coverage of Brunswick itself is greatly overshadowed by our reports from Saint Simons Island, and I wanted to make sure that on this trip, we visited at least one new restaurant on the mainland. Marie had selected a soul food cafe called GRITS that had an interesting backstory; it was run by FaithWorks ministry and tried to give new jobs to people recently released from prison and needing a new start. Unfortunately, we learned that they closed a few months ago. So I suggested that we could certainly get some barbecue instead. We can always get barbecue.

As the name implies, this is an old fashioned butcher and grocery, and while guests can get sandwiches or plate lunches here, they can also order cuts of beef or sausages by the pound to take home, along with cakes and pies from bakers in the area and a smattering of other groceries, plastic toy guns, and crafts.

The girlchild had decided that she’d rather sleep than go out for lunch, so we left her with Marie’s mother and drove on out. This early July day was the first really, really hot one that we experienced this summer – we’re so glad that 2013 was comparatively milder than the last few years for our area! – and it was baking by the time we crossed I-95 and found the place. The service was really friendly and helpful, and while the toddler woke from his nap too busy to sit and eat, we really enjoyed what we shared. The chopped pork was smoky and full of flavor, neither too dry nor too moist but balanced just right.

We capped the meal with a slice of orange cake that was just amazing, and made our way back to Brunswick very full and very pleased with the experience. Travelers on I-95 will find it west of exit 29 and absolutely worth a stop.


Like barbecue? You can see all the barbecue restaurants that we have visited for our blog on this map, with links back to the original blog posts. It’s terrific for anybody planning a barbecue road trip through the southeast!

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11 thoughts on “Gary Lee’s Market, Brunswick GA

  1. I just read through your Brunswick category, since I enjoy visiting St. Simons and Jekyll Island. I think you hit most of the must-eat restaurants already, but I recommend that you try Barbara Jean’s, and I think that Brogen’s deserves a longer blog post. Those are two of my favorites.

    We’ve never eaten anything on the mainland, always the islands.

    1. To be honest, I’m not sure why we’ve never been to Barbara Jean’s. We need to think about that. And yes, Brogen’s deserves a longer look. Those are some very good burgers. Thanks for writing!

  2. I love places that have take-home meats as well as an eat-in restaurant. If you’re traveling to a rental place, it’s good to have something for the first night — or just to take home for the meal that night. What this place lacks in looks, it may make-up in quality. Thanks for sharing. http://ohtheplaceswesee.com

    1. As we were eating, I reminded Marie how the Georgia Pig had really awful stew, which didn’t make any sense to me for a restaurant in Brunswick to fumble the Brunswick stew, but they did anyway. This was the right stuff, really tomatoey, and with lots of different flavors mixing, simply and subtly. Maybe not top-10 caliber, but at least it didn’t embarrass the town.

  3. I think you should look up the Old School dinner In Townsend ga it is a REALLY great place to eat and one you will not forget about here is the web site for them
    oldschooldiner.com

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