Seafood aficionados may know it well, but if you’re new to the Southern foodie scene, you may want to consider making your way down to The Dillard House for some mouth-watering soul food treats.
The Rabun County restaurant nestled in the North Georgia mountains and home to a population of only 337 in 2016, was recently recognized as the best small-town restaurant in Georgia by food and travel company Thrillist.
Here’s what the experts had to say about The Dillard House, just a two-hour drive north of Atlanta:
“Located on the southern expanse of a sprawling Georgia forest, the Dillard House still does dinners the same way it's been doing it for 101 years: family-style in a farmhouse. And from the looks of the spread, that family is... pretty well fed. Expect massive plates of fried oysters, sizzling catfish, crabcakes, hush puppies, cajun rice, tenderloin, chicken-fried steak, and everything in between. Seriously. Each seating runs about $30 and includes enough Southern-style meat to put John Wayne into a coma. And if that does happen, the place doubles as a resort complete with an inn, chalets, and more, with the option to ski or hike it off in the morning. Or just wake up and hit the breakfast table, where another parade of decadence awaits.”
According to The Dillard House website, the restaurant’s history dates back to 1794, when the first Dillard, Capt. John Dillard, was awarded a land grant of 1,000 acres in the Georgia mountains for his service during the American Revolution.
“Legend says that Captain Dillard made peace with the local Cherokee Indians by trading a muzzle-loading rifle, a jug of apple brandy, one coonskin cap and $3 cash for all the land between the two mountain tops,” the site states.
The Dillard House structure itself was first established in 1917 by Carrie and Arthur Dillard. Since then, the family has kept its doors open to guests and treated them with Southern style home-cooked meals and “authentic Southern hospitality.”