Dairy Lane, Sandersville

The Dairy Lane Restaurant Sandersville GA Landmark Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

This unassuming building is home to one of the most successful restaurants in Georgia. Hudson “Hut” Avant opened Dairy Lane as a summer-only business in 1953, after twice being turned down for a Dairy Queen franchise in Sandersville. It became a year-round business in 1957 and hasn’t slowed down a bit ever since. Though it changed hands in 1995, it never lost site of its mission to be a gathering place for its community. It serves the standard fare: hamburgers, hot dogs, shakes, barbeque and fountain drinks, but that’s where it’s similarity to almost anywhere else in the region ends.

The Dairy Lane Sandersville GA Android Counter Interior Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

To someone who’s never been, it’s almost hard to believe how busy this place can be, especially on weekends. A number of people have commented that it’s a must-stop for people traveling through Sandersville en route to Georgia games from all over South Georgia, and there’s a good bit of football memorabilia displayed throughout the restaurant.  Seeing the lines at the counter when I walked in the door, with people sitting on benches waiting for their orders, I almost thought I was in the Varsity.

The Dairy Lane Sandersville GA Customer Android Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

If you’re in Sandersville, you really don’t want to miss the Dairy Lane. It is what it is and in its lack of pretension and deference to another time, that’s enough to make it legendary.

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15 Comments

Filed under --WASHINGTON COUNTY GA--, Sandersville GA

15 responses to “Dairy Lane, Sandersville

  1. Thank you Brian. Mike and I drive by fairly regularly between Atl and Savannah. We keep meaning to stop. Now I think we will.

  2. Michael Riggins

    We had an Avant’s BBQ establishment in Blackshear Georgia for many years, is that the same man, or any kin of Hudson “Hut” Avant, that started that establishment as well?

  3. Felicia Davis

    Nothing but GREAT THINGS to say about this wonderful establishment!!

  4. Barry Davis

    I was born in Sandersville in 1966. I have seen fast food chains come and go. The Dairylane only cooks it’s food when order so it’s good and hot. You can your burger and hotdogs anyway that you want them and all are awesome as well as thier fries which you can get anyway you want too. But thier milkshake will beat any chain, fresh and how thick do want them. If you are passing through Sandersville then you gotta there or you will be missing out. OH! the bar-b-que chic. & pork kicks butt.

  5. Ben Glover

    Ben Glover
    I do not live in the area any longer but each year during our reunion DairyLane is a meeting place for us all at least one if not several times over the weekend while there. Now this does not count the numerous times the families that live there go in and out daily or the ladies club that may be meeting. It has been a historical place for the Glover’s, Cobb’s, Brown’s, Moseley’s, and many many other families.
    Thank you for making a special place for all of us.

  6. Geoff Jacobs

    My wife’s Aunt, Myra Westbrook, practically lives here!! She LOVES this place!! Her husband was killed in a robbery in a store they owned in Riddleville. His name was Bobby Westbrook, and he was a damn good man!

  7. Martha Donovan (Wife of Sam Donovan)

    My Husband, Sam, saw the photo of the Dairy Lane, and I thought he would begin to cry (he doesn’t do Facebook so I will try to relay some of his comments). “So many memories,” he said. Sam graduated from Washington County High School in 1968.

    He said that the Dairy Lane was the teen center for Washington County. He praised Hut Avant for running the Dairy Lane such that teens, their parents and grand parents all felt good about going there. The best chocolate malted milkshake in the region.

    The Dairy Lane was the social and cultural academy for Washington County teenagers – could have been appended to the school. Hut ensured the teenagers at the Dairy Lane on Friday and Saturday night were well behaved and respectful of any adults that came in.

    Sam would say that Hut would probably agree that one his biggest blessings in life was being turned down by Dairy Queen for a franchise – he created something much better and much more meaningful to people from all over the state.

    Sam and I live in Marietta where we have our landmark, The Big Chicken. Sandersville’s Dairy Lane stands right beside The Big Chicken in Sam’s mind.

    Martha Donovan

    • Jim Shurling

      I remember Sam. Hope he’s well. The DL is an always go to when I go home. When I was growing up, Mr. Hut never minded that we all hung out there.

  8. Tommy Jennings

    Dairy Lane is also a stop for those Dawg fans travelling down to Jacksonville/Brunswick/Jekyll Island/St. Simons for the Georgia-Florida game, or families going on vacation to Florida, and using Ga. Hwy. 15 as the “short-cut”. It’s a landmark we check when we know we’ve driven 100 miles.

  9. Brenda Cobb

    My children grew up going to The Dairylane. It was an ice cream stand then with a big playground with equipment. Hut and JoAnne knew how to attract the young families, and many Birthday parties were held there. We loved watching it grow, and Ben Walters was an excellent caretaker with friendly family appeal. We miss Ben, but I pray his children can Maintain the high standard of the Dairylane.

  10. Deana Blount Dalrymple

    Love Dairy Lane

  11. Karen M. May

    Yes the Dairy Lane has been around for a long time Best ice cream in town too and Mr. Hut always made the best milk shakes- of course they still do today . When my girls were small babies and growing up so fast their first ice cream cone came from the Dairy Lane. I didn’t buy from the store either. We made a trip to The Dairy Lane. Being a single parent, one of my traditions with my girls when they were small was about 2 days before Christmas we would go and look at Christmas lights. Before we went we would always go to The Dairy Lane for supper then off we would go to see the lights, Made memories with them I’ll always cherish. Yes The Dairy Lane is a special place. A good clean family atmosphere.

  12. I’m so happy to see someone highlighting this iconic Sandersville landmark. No restaurant is more worthy for not only its menu which delights all, but also for its history and importance to the town. However, most Sandersville residents would be surprised that they are from South Georgia, as you have indicated.

    The town, my hometown, is located along the fall line, that geographical designation that bisects the middle of Georgia and dividing the state into the coastal plain and the Piedmont. Residents in this area have always referred to the area of Sandersville and its surroundings as Middle Georgia.

    Hut Avant is my cousin, and I have always been proud to recommend The Dairy Lane to all who drive that section of Highway 15. The barbeque is outstanding as are the milkshakes! Thank you so much for featuring the Dairy Lane in your blog. It was wonderful to read and reminisce.

    • Thanks for your kind comments! I agree that the Dairy Lane is something special. I’ve done my best to let the rest of the world know. As to the location of Sandersville, I totally agree that it’s part of “Middle Georgia” but since I do 3 Georgia websites and do all the photography and work myself, I decided to divide the state by the Fall Line. I’ll soon be explaining this again on my sites. Thanks!

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