The Butt Hutt, Athens GA (take two)

Regular readers may know that I have a lot of interest in great barbecue regions and cities, despite the unfortunately large number of them I’ve yet to visit. I think Memphis deserves just about every word of praise that it’s received; it’s home to two of my ten favorite barbecue restaurants, which are my favorite two in all of Tennessee so far. I’ve spent a lot less time in Lexington NC, but the three joints that I have visited there are each fantastic. Continue reading “The Butt Hutt, Athens GA (take two)”


Heirloom Cafe and Fresh Market, Athens GA

Readers have been telling us for ages that we need to try Heirloom Cafe, a farm-to-table place on Chase Street in Athens. We finally made it over there on our trip to the Classic City before Christmas. I didn’t realize that the restaurant had moved into a long-closed Amoco gas station. They even kept the old “torch and oval” sign! Continue reading “Heirloom Cafe and Fresh Market, Athens GA”

Bill’s Bar-B-Q, Hull GA (take two)

The only really disagreeable part of this hobby is noting when a restaurant that we’ve visited has closed. It’s especially irritating when it’s a place that we never really gave a fair chance. Many years ago (mid-nineties, I guess), I decided that Bill’s Bar-B-Q in Hull, just north of Athens, wasn’t quite as thrilling as Zeb’s, about twenty miles up the road. Over time, this deteriorated in my dingbat head into thinking it wasn’t all that good. We revisited the place in 2011, and I was half-aggravated about how I gave them a shorter shrift than they deserved, and half-thrilled by how good it was. Continue reading “Bill’s Bar-B-Q, Hull GA (take two)”

Chub’s BBQ, Ila GA (CLOSED)

Ila is a tiny little town in Madison County, about twenty minutes north of Athens via GA-106. Curiously, I did not have reason to ever put a tire on this stretch of road in my life before September of last year, when we visited Scott & BJ’s Bar-B-Q, which is located at the southern end of the little corridor. Two trips to the Classic City later, and we found ourselves driving along it for the very first time. It’s a fun little straightaway, full of rolling hills and low visibility with all the dips. This trip was between the two big winter ice storms that hit the area. We noted that this road would be impassible with slippery ice. Continue reading “Chub’s BBQ, Ila GA (CLOSED)”

Banjo’s Barbecue, Commerce GA (CLOSED)

Problems That Only We Have Dept: Whenever we take a road trip, I want to come home with at least one new barbecue joint. That didn’t happen on our Christmas trip to south Georgia, and it looked like it wasn’t going to happen on our January trip to South Carolina, either. Because I did not do the requisite research, we pulled into the place that I wanted to try too late; they close at 4 pm on Saturdays. We didn’t have time to waste; we’d spent a lot longer with our Baby Mercy Break earlier in the afternoon already, so we headed to Anderson for our last South Carolina stop, as mentioned in the previous chapter. Continue reading “Banjo’s Barbecue, Commerce GA (CLOSED)”

Circumnavigating South Carolina – part two

When I plotted my circle around South Carolina, it was natural that I’d use I-85 as my entry point, just for the sake of convenience. Continuing northeast up that interstate, my next stop was in Gaffney, the town that has attracted many a tourist’s eye with its gigantic water tower made to look like a peach. I thought about stopping to take some pictures, but it’s not going anywhere, and I had a lot of road to cover. I made my way over to Willard’s Hash, a popular destination in the area since the late 1960s, and was very surprised to see a familiar sign there. Earlier this year, the last time that Marie and I were in the Palmetto State together, we had a terrific meal at the amazing Midway BBQ in Buffalo, thirty-one miles south down SC-18. Here, on the side of the building, was the familiar red pig with the words “Midway at Willard’s.” Oh, man, was I ever ready for this. Continue reading “Circumnavigating South Carolina – part two”

Midway BBQ, Buffalo SC

Every once in a while, a travel plan comes together quite spectacularly. As I mentioned earlier in the week, Marie and I planned to make the South Carolina trip a little more affordable by cutting off the Rock Hill-Charlotte side of the square, while taking the opportunity to do a little exploring off the interstates. The very best way to get from Spartanburg to Columbia with minimal use of I-26 is by taking US-176 through the Sumter National Forest. This road goes through the town of Union, which appeared to have a couple more interesting places to stop the next time we’re in the area, and it’s right next door to the smaller town of Buffalo, where, seventy-one years ago, Jack O’Dell first started selling beef hash and chopped pork for the Fourth of July. Continue reading “Midway BBQ, Buffalo SC”