From barbecue to behind-the-bars brews, an unsuspecting location is flavored with eclectic good eats
Think beyond Atlanta for taste bud tempting eateries like those in Henry County, just 30 minutes south of the big city and the perfect stopping point for those en route to Savannah or Orlando. Henry County is a quaint Southern destination packed with menu options for even the pickiest palate.
Try these top picks for mouthwatering temptations:
1. See where barbecue was born! Well, maybe not exactly but Henry County is home to some of the best barbecue in the state. In fact, it’s where the original Shane’s Rib Shack (2136 Highway 155 North) was founded. Shane Thompson opened the first Shane’s in this little “shack,” and although the franchise has grown to include more than 70 locations, the Original, complete with freestanding outhouse, is still dishing out barbecue, ribs and its famous peach cobbler.
2. Southern favorites like the “meat and three” abound in Henry County, too. Whether you are a Southern cooking devotee or new to the “meat and three,” be prepared to have your taste buds dazzled at Sarah’s Country Cooking (1060 Eagles Landing Parkway, Suite 210). Fresh vegetables, fried chicken and homemade desserts pay tribute to the restaurant’s namesake. The Kelley sisters operate this lunchtime hotspot and serve up delicious food just the way their mother, Sarah, taught them. Hungry for more? Cravings Home Cooking (2180 Highway 20 West) offers Southern-style home cooking made fresh every day, with a wide variety of entrees, fresh veggies, soup, salads and sinful desserts.
3. Beyond the dinner plate, sip suds at JailHouse Brewing Company (8 Cherry Street) where craft brews are the specialty. Brewed in the former city jail of Hampton, Georgia, the hand-crafted beers from JailHouse Brewing Company marry small-batch ingenuity with refreshing palatability. JailHouse’s usual suspects–Slammer Wheat, Misdemeanor Ale and Mugshot IPA–are satisfying, flavorful and designed to enhance Southern cuisine. Look for seasonal beers and 4D IPA throughout the year, and keep your eye out for the orange and black badge tap handles and 12-ounce bottles throughout Henry County. Brewery tours and tastings are available Thursdays from 5:30 to 8 p.m., Fridays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 2 to 6 p.m. Come see how simple ingredients–barley, water, and hops–become something to celebrate.
4. Many restaurants, like the French Market, source ingredients like the pecans for their chicken salad, locally from area farms. Taste what farm-to-table means at the French Market & Tavern where you’ll find a stylish, Southern-chic setting and food with a decidedly New Orleans flair. The menu features locally sourced creations such as the Fenster Farm Pecan Chicken Salad Croissant and a creative array of martini options. Come for dinner and drinks and stay for a little home decor shopping at the adjoining boutique.
5. Eat local with U-pick options at Southern Belle Farm (1658 Turner Church Road). Open seasonally, this 330-acre working farm specializes in homegrown family fun, fresh produce and wholesome memories. You’ll find U-Pick strawberries in the spring and other berries and peaches in the summer, plus lots of fall fun–getting lost in a cornfield maze, cheering at a pig race, taking a hayride and more. Then, experience an old-fashioned Christmas with pre-cut Fraser fir trees. Nearby, end the hunt for the perfect peach at Gardner Farm and Peach Orchard (3192 Highway 42 South) a family orchard where you can hand-pick fresh peaches, blueberries and blackberries. Produce is usually available late May through September and includes peaches, berries, tomatoes and more. For hours and seasonal produce availability, call or visit the website or Facebook page.
If you go
Plan to visit during one of Henry County’s annual spring events:
* Yellow Pollen Street Festival – March
* Hauler Parade in Hampton – March
* Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 NASCAR Race Weekend – March
* Import Alliance National Car Show – March
* USSSA Atlanta Spring Super NIT – March
* The Color Run 5k – April
* Locust Grove Day – April
* Summit Racing Equipment Atlanta Motorama – April
* O’Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags & Show-n-Shine – April – August
* Peach Stand Road Race – May
* The Blacklight Slide 5k – May
* The Dirty Girl Mud Run – May
Visitors can rest easy, choosing from a variety of lodging options including name brand hotels or sleeping under the stars at one of the beautiful campsites in the area. Whether looking for an adventure-packed trip or an easy-going escape, guests will feel as renewed as a spring blossom after visiting Henry County, Georgia.