Let taste buds do the touring in Albany, Georgia

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From white linen to meat and three, this Southwest Georgia town promises a menu of flavors for everyone

When it comes to exploring southwest Georgia’s culinary scene, let your taste buds do the talking with a tour around Albany, located about an hour off I-10 and only 30 minutes from I-75, an ideal resting place or stopping point when en route to/from Savannah and Charleston or even Florida.

Home to Stewbo’s Restaurant Group, several standout haunts, each serving up a specialized cuisine in a one-of-a-kind ambiance, tempt even the pickiest palates and will have you craving a return visit.

Pub-style Harvest Moon, is the go-to for a slice of famous Harvest Pie pizza, piled high with pesto, grilled eggplant, Portobello mushrooms, tomatoes, tri-colored bell peppers, spinach, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Here you’ll also find an assortment of more than 50 craft and import beers, with evening musical entertainment served on the side Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Tip: Try the award-winning Chicken Pot Pie – a pizza take on a classic dish.

For fresh seafood flown in from Florida, head to The Catch – you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled upon some secret hideaway where only those in-the-know go, since the restaurant lacks a splashy sign out front and is instead marked by a discreet silver fish. Panko-crusted grouper, crab cakes and shrimp and grits rank as the most popular menu items.

Another option? The elegant Henry Campbell’s Steakhouse – a popular choice for special evenings that is known for its extensive wine list and high quality fare and whose menu favorites include filet, rib-eye steaks and pan-roasted Chilean sea bass.

Apart from the Stewbo’s group, Albany continues to quell hunger pangs with a variety of offerings. No visit is complete without a stop at Pearly’s. Here, meat and threes take the stage with offerings like okra, ham, chicken and dumplings…no one leaves Pearly’s hungry. Breakfast lovers will want to start the day here – but arrive early. Pearly’s is no secret and lines sometimes wrap the building. Service oozes with Southern hospitality and breakfast treats include blueberry pancakes, eggs just about any way you can imagine, cathead biscuits with gravy and coffee done right.

Other options for eating right in Albany include Newman’s Bar and Grill, offering American favorites like the grilled cheese, mile-high burgers and salads for the healthier set. At night Newman’s features live music. Smoke and Fire combines two temptations – bar-be-cue and pizza – and somehow manages to do both exceptionally well. The to-die-for brisket melts in your mouth while wood-fired pizzas demands a second slice with a perfectly charred crust.

For the ultimate family or group-friendly dining experience, the extensive menu at Blackbeard’s Bar-B-Que promises something delicious for everyone. From pulled pork to fresh seafood, seasoned fries to crisp, green salads topped with juicy fruit, grilled shrimp or your choice of bar-be-cue, this is a must on the Albany tasting menu.

In need of an afternoon pick-me-up or prefer to start the day with a jolt, re-energize at Elements, Albany’s local coffee shop serving up breakfast pastries and toasty croissants topped with your choice of ham, egg, cheese, avocado – the list goes on, alongside hot and cold customized coffee drinks running the gamut from traditional espresso to iced white mochas.

Where to stay? Merry Acres Inn was recently named one of Georgia’s Top 10 Southern Hospitality Hotels for 2014 by Convention South Magazine, and is also home of the Manor House Pub. Here visitors and locals alike gather to savor a nightcap and relax on the patio with friends. Or, rock the night away with live music on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Insider tip: While the Pub offers its own menu of tasty bites, you can also order from the other restaurants in the Stewbo’s Group and have fare delivered and served to you at the Pub. Merry Acres offers shuttle service to and from all the Stewbo’s restaurants.