After working together in Atlanta, the duo opened their first Milk & Honey in Maryland in 2016; followed up the next year with a Cascade Road location with which they are no longer affiliated; then returned to Georgia in July. Their second local endeavor, which they call the <em>Real</em> Milk & Honey to distinguish it from the still-extant Milk & Honey Restaurant at Cascade, is the third in a lively trio of black-owned restaurants that have sprung up on College Park's Main Street in the past year-and-a-half. (The other two are chef Darius Williams' Soul Crab and Virgil's Gullah Kitchen & Bar, from the husband-and-husband team of Gee and Juan Smalls.)
For now, the only place in Atlanta to get Davis’ heavily embellished yet wallet-friendly biscuits, waffles, burgers, and seafood dishes is College Park, where you may encounter standing-room-only crowds and weekend waitlists.
On Wednesday nights, the Real Milk & Honey serves “breakfast for dinner” until 11 p.m., and the crowds eat it up. CONTRIBUTED BY WENDELL BROCK
After three visits, I may not have all the feels for the Real Milk & Honey like some folks do. I roll my eyes at concoctions like fried shrimp on a Key lime waffle and Cajun seafood avocado toast. Still, I’ve never had a bad meal here, and even on a frantic Wednesday night, my order of fried whitefish fillets and grits came out promptly and was unforgettable in the way good soul food should be. Sure, I would have preferred the whole fried catfish option, but the kitchen had run out. After polishing off the impeccably crisped substitute, it would be petty of me to complain, though.
As a lifelong Southerner, I appreciate this genre of anything-goes, Paula Deen-worthy comfort food (Williams' Greens & Gravy and the beloved Home Grown on Memorial, for example). My doctor probably wishes that weren't the case. That said, I didn't feel inclined to order the cuisine-hopping seafood burger (beef patty, grilled shrimp, cheese sauce, fried green tomatoes, fried egg and "Cajun creole" sauce on a challah bun). Nor a biscuit stuffed with a deep-fried lobster tail, fried egg, cheese sauce and avocado spread.
The shrimp and grits at the Real Milk & Honey has a creamy-spicy sauce. CONTRIBUTED BY WENDELL BROCK
I did enjoy the shrimp and grits, not because of the namesake crustaceans, turkey sausage, hard chunks of fried green tomato or plain cherry tomato garnish. No, it was the ground corn and the chef’s creamy-spicy sauce that rocked my world. Another time, I had my eye on the crab hash (with a Maryland crabcake), but the server steered me toward the deep-fried salmon hash. Alas, the pile of lightly breaded and fried fish on hash browns, with sauteed kale and more cream sauce, was tasty and filling aplenty — but not something I’d order again.
A fat Belgian waffle with jerk chicken and peach compote is a winning sweet-savory dish at the Real Milk & Honey in College Park. CONTRIBUTED BY WENDELL BROCK
On the sweet side, the Crown Royal Peach Cobbler French Toast was another crazy-big, well-buttered portion: three 2-inch-tall pieces of fluffy cinnamon-roll-like challah covered with a streusel-like blend of oats and honey. With the peachy compote, it was totally over the top and kind of wonderful. Dare you to finish it.
One good shareable nosh are those extra-large, extra-tender biscuits drenched in honey butter. Cathead lovers will find them exceptional.
Waffles are served with many things: fried chicken, jerk chicken, fried crab legs. We liked the Caribbean-inflected version, on a fat, plate-size Belgian waffle with a spicy jerk leg-quarter, sweet peaches, a mint leaf and a dusting of powdered sugar. I’m pretty sure it was my favorite dish on the menu. Like nearly everything at this cafe, it was eye-popping and decadent. For better or worse, gilding the lily (well, the waffles, grits, toast and biscuits) is what the Real Milk & Honey does best.
Real Milk & Honey’s Arnold Palmer hits the spot. CONTRIBUTED BY WENDELL BROCK
THE REAL MILK & HONEY
9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays-Tuesdays and Thursdays; 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Wednesdays; 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays. 3719 Main St., College Park. 404-458-5500, milknhoneycafe.com.
Recommended: Honey-butter biscuits. Shrimp and grits. Fried fish and grits. Jerk chicken and waffle. Crown Royal Peach Cobbler French Toast.