Listen up, folks in Montgomery, Auburn, or Phenix City AL or those near the middle of the state line between Alabama and Georgia — LaGrange has some wonderful restaurants that are worth the drive. I’ve sampled some of them recently and give these three two thumbs WAY up.
204 Morgan Street
This is comfort food of the most delicious kind in an old Methodist church building built in 1892, no less. Owner Betty Daniel and her daughter Donna Close welcome their hungry guests for lunch every day except Sunday from 11:00 – 2:00. No doubt the lines on Sunday would snake all the way around the building, and everyone needs a day of rest at least once a week.
Diners can actually order a vegetable plate with all 10 of the days’ veggie choices or an entree with 3 veggies, or better yet, an entree, 2 veggies plus their famous pineapple casserole — which was my choice. That pineapple casserole made a mighty tasty dessert, too.
Take a minute to check out the art on display around the walls created by Donna’s husband Steve who taught art at LaGrange High School. The floors in the restaurant are original, and many “church touches” are visible throughout. The lemon-colored walls made me smile.
LaGrange locals flock to Taste of Lemon, and I believe you’ll enjoy it thoroughly.
124 Main Street
First, a little background: I’m sure you’ve heard of Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga. Well, those roots go back to LaGrange. Fuller and Ida Cason Callaway lived in LaGrange (see my post about Hills and Dales here) and had two sons, Fuller Jr. and Cason. Fuller Sr. died in 1928 and Ida died in 1936. At that point, it was decided that Fuller Jr. would stay in LaGrange, and Cason moved to some other family property in nearby Blue Springs, GA and later founded Ida Cason Callaway Gardens in 1952. This entire area of Georgia has reaped tremendous benefits from the generosity of the Fuller E. Callaway Foundation.
Meanwhile, back to this post about restaurants — Mare Sol and its sister restaurant C’sons next door are both owned by Charles Hudson Jr. (who is the grandson of Fuller Callaway) and HIS son, Chase. All minds clear?
Mare Sol has an amazing menu. There were items on it that I have rarely seen elsewhere: BBQ Glazed Hog Wing and Lamb Ribs to name a couple. I chose Crispy Georgia Quail with teriyaki glaze, fried wild rice, kale cabbage and mushrooms. It was wonderful!
My table of friends and I shared some appetizers before our entrees arrived and several desserts afterwards. The Strawberry Swiss Roll and Strawberry Boston Cream Pie were unique and delicious, but my favorite was the over-the-top, 4-layer German Chocolate Cake. Worth every calorie!
129 Main Street
Venucci is a small Italian eatery that will keep you riveted in place the moment you open the door and take in the tantalizing aroma. What could be better than herbs, spices and fresh bread? Venucci is open for lunch Monday through Friday and for dinner Monday through Saturday. Be aware that the dinner portions are LARGE, certainly shareable. I saw many diners leave with carry-out boxes, getting two meals for the price of one.
Take a look at this crisp, fresh salad and some of the entrees enjoyed by those at my table. All received rave reviews.
These are just a few places I sampled, but I heard of others that will make my list during a future visit. The motto of LaGrange’s Chamber of Commerce is “Be Surprised.” I was, and you will be, too.