National Trust grant to help preserve historical Georgia restaurant

Miller’s Soul Food is the oldest Black-owned eatery in Dublin

One of the best things about traveling is finding the small, mom-and-pop restaurants that serve local dishes made from family recipes.

To their regular diners, these places are national treasures, worthy of preservation and support. The National Trust for Historic Preservation apparently agrees.

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With help from American Express, the National Trust is “again offering the Backing Historic Small Restaurants Grant Program to aid restaurant recovery amid ongoing challenges related to the pandemic.”

This year’s focus for the grants was on independent small restaurants at least 25 years old that are in historic buildings or neighborhoods.

“And thousands of you responded with nominations for cozy cafes, delicious dives, and other beloved restaurants that have stood the test of time and continue to contribute to their neighborhood’s unique history,” the agency wrote in announcing this year’s 25 recipients of the $40,000 grants.

One of those recipients is Miller’s Soul Food in Dublin. Founded in 1955 by Lee and Ardessa Wright Miller, the restaurant is the oldest Black-owned eatery in the city.

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According to Discover Dublin, the restaurant is an “institution in comfort food.”

“Miller’s Soul Food serves up the best fried chicken around, fresh fried fish, and oxtails that are slap your mama good,” the website wrote. “Served piping hot in a savory gravy, these oxtails will have you popping the whole thing in your mouth and chewing off the bone while the gravy soaks into the bed of fluffy white rice.”

The site also praises Miller’s fried chicken and its meat-and-three. “There’s the meats, but no meal is complete without three sides!” it wrote. “Go for the collard greens for deep, dark flavor perfectly salted and Miller’s thick, rich macaroni & cheese with a side of black eye peas. … Take it from a local, and try everything they suggest.”

The National Trust grants are intended to help the recipients “make much-needed updates such as creating outdoor seating, address deferred maintenance of their historic spaces, and fund other general operating and marketing costs.”