This is a bit of a sad entry to write. The Georgia Mountain Restaurant in Hiawassee, Georgia is no more. OK, the old building hasn’t been demolished but the name has been changed and is now Steve’s Place. I remember the Georgia Mountain Restaurant fondly from my time at nearby Young Harris College in the mid 1980s. It was one of a handful of restaurants that students from the college would visit when we needed a break from the campus dining hall and breakfast was usually when we visit because it was a buffet. During my most recent visit to the Georgia Mountain Restaurant a couple of years ago they still had a breakfast buffet.
I stayed in the area overnight after a Friday afternoon meeting at the college and Saturday morning I found myself looking for breakfast. I had already decided to head east through Hiawassee then south through Helen and Cleveland to go home in order to visit a couple of antique shops on the way. I didn’t particularly want fast food and unfortunately, breakfast options in Hiawassee beyond fast food are still relatively slim. I’d noticed on a billboard sign that Steve’s Place offered breakfast so I decided to stop in and give it a try.
The first thing I noticed was that the interior had been given a fresh coat of paint and had been redecorated…same ‘country’ motif, different ‘country’ stuff. The second thing I noticed was that the old buffet bar that stood in the middle of the room was gone and had been replaced with a long table and individual warming trays. I wasn’t sure if this was a good sign or not.
I gave the buffet line a quick once-over before sitting down at a table. My server took my drink order and told me that I could help myself to the buffet whenever I was ready. I loaded my plate with a biscuit, cheese grits, smoked sausage, sausage patties, and some fried ham. For whatever reason there was no bacon on the buffet so my server offered to bring me some. Naturally, I accepted.
Either the restaurant wasn’t really as good as I remember it being back in the day or time and commercial cooking methodologies have not been good to the restaurant. During my last trip in I remember the food being good but not great, yet not bad enough to say I wouldn’t be back. The past year or two haven’t done the place any big favors.
The biscuits were large and I was hoping for light and fluffy like a good biscuit should be. Nope, how about dense and chewy instead. Someone please answer this question for me, why does every restaurant on the planet that offers biscuits have to paint their tops with butter before putting them in the oven? Every…blasted…one. It just makes them greasy! Butter goes inside a biscuit, not on top! The cheese grits had little to no flavor. I should have gotten plain grits and just added salt and pepper. The smoked sausage and sausage patties…not great. Now truth be told, the restaurant had no real control over the way the sausage tastes. That goes back to the sausage maker. The ham was OK…yeah, just OK and the bacon cool and rubbery…might have been good if it was hot and fresh off the griddle. Did I go back for seconds? Nope.
So how did Steve’s Place fare on the Thumbs Scale. After a bit of deliberation I decided on one thumb down. Although the experience wasn’t horrible, I just couldn’t find enough redeeming qualities to get it on the positive end of the scale. Think I’ll pass on return visits anytime soon.