Tag Archives: Georgia Barbeque

Floyd’s Hamburger Shack, Fitzgerald

A friend recently reached out to let me know that I should photograph this Fitzgerald landmark because it’s about to be razed for redevelopment, as are all the other adjacent commercial structures. (Thanks, Sara Padgett). The little brick building at the corner of Merrimac Drive and the Ten Mile Stretch will always be remembered as Floyd’s Hamburger Shack, but its history goes back a bit further.

Francis Marion “Frank” Malcolm II (1874-1954) came to Fitzgerald from Waycross in 1906, and in 1910 he bought the largest single tract of land (11 acres) in the city, to which he moved a home from Alapaha Street (still standing) and built other structures over time. [A house he built across the road from his own, in 1948, is where I spent the first six years of my life]. His grandson, renowned artist David Malcolm, told me that the ‘Floyd’s’ building was built in 1930 as a cannery, which employed young women. He even related that my grandmother, Nettie Pate Brown once worked there before she married my grandfather. After the cannery shut down, it was a Venetian blind shop and later, a grocery store.

The association with Floyd’s came in 1952 when J. W. Floyd moved his popular short-order business from the Five-Story Building (Garbutt-Donovan) to this location, which was closer to the new homes and subdivisions being built on the west side of Fitzgerald.

Later owners were Wade and Myrtice Malcolm and their daughter and son-in-law, Barbara and Varnell Hendley. Walter Owens and C. L. Martin also operated a barber shop in the connected space next door to the restaurant.

Hamburgers topped with grilled onions, a concoction known as Mama’s Stew, and barbecue smoked in the pit out back were required eating by generations of families in Fitzgerald. The barbecued goat was a particular favorite.

Pam Hunter, daughter of Barbara and Varnell Hendley, kindly shared the recipe for Mama’s Stew. [Mama was Pam’s grandmother, Myrtice Malcolm]. She writes: I think great recipes are made to pass down to future generations and share with friends! You will need 2 lbs. Ground pork*, 4 lbs. Ground beef and one diced onion. Brown this up in a large pot and drain off the grease. Cover all this with water and add salt and pepper to taste. Next dice 6 large baking potatoes and add to the mixture. Make sure water still covers all. Cook until potatoes are tender. Now add 2 cans of cream corn, one can of LeSueur English peas(drain), 3 cups of Heinz ketchup, and 3/4 cup Heinz 57 sauce. Do not substitute . It will not taste the same! Go easy when adding salt as the ketchup and 57 are both salty, but those taters need some salt when cooking! I hope your families enjoy this as much as mine does! Don’t forget the crackers and salad! This makes a lot, but you can freeze it and it is still good!

*Ground pork and sausage are not the same thing, if you’re wondering. You can find ground pork in most groceries and specialty meat markets.

An iconic hamburger sign was located on the side of the building and was synonymous with Floyd’s.


Filed under --BEN HILL COUNTY GA--, Fitzgerald GA

Walt’s Bar-B-Q, Weber

I can’t find any history of the Weber community, but considering that it was the home of Walt’s Bar-B-Q (Walt Gaskins) and the old Gaskins Consoldiated School, it seems it should have been called Gaskins. I imagine Walt’s was a landmark but looks like it’s been closed for many years.



Filed under --BERRIEN COUNTY GA--, Weber GA

BJ’s Bar-B-Que, Jesup

As with most good barbeque spots, BJ’s Original Hog Wild Bar-B-Que in Jesup is a bit ragged around the edges, but don’t let the looks fool you.

For nearly 30 years, BJ’s has been doing barbeque right in Jesup. Pulled (they call it chopped) pork with a tangy mustard sauce is the highlight of their menu for me. I personally hate sweet sauce on meat. Their baked beans, which I recommend, are a bit sweet but full of pieces of pork. Brisket, chicken, and Brunswick stew are also available. The only thing I don’t care for here is the slaw, which is just too sweet. But the pork is so tender and the sauce so good, the slaw isn’t that big of a deal for me.

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Filed under --WAYNE COUNTY GA--, Jesup GA

Billy’s Restaurant, Tifton

Several restaurants have been located here over the years. The old Billy’s Restaurant sign appears to date to the 1950s or thereabouts. It was most recently Hawk-Eye Bar-B-Que.

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Filed under --TIFT COUNTY GA--, Tifton GA

Dairy Lane, Sandersville

The Dairy Lane Sandersville GA Android Counter Interior 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 Customer Android 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.

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.


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

Jimbo’s Log Kitchen, Homerville

Jimbos Log Kitchen Homerville GA Landmark Restaurant Closed Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

The Steedley family has operated this landmark, from tavern to restaurant to catering business, since the Great Depression. I don’t believe the restaurant is still open but it was famous far beyond Homerville. Travelers passing through this isolated town on busy US 84 depended on its good food and friendly atmosphere for generations.


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Filed under --CLINCH COUNTY GA--, Homerville GA

Barbeque Shed, Telfair County

Roadside Barbecue BBQ Shed Signs Ham Smoked Sausage Telfair County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

I’ve shot this several times in the past eight or so years.

Roadside Barbecue BBQ Shed Old Indian River Fruit Roadside Signs Telfair County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014


Filed under --TELFAIR COUNTY GA--

Brinson’s Bar-B-Que, Emmalane

brianbrownphotography on Instagram Photograph of Patrons at Brinson's Barbeque Jenkins County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Brinson’s is a well-loved institution in Jenkins County. Located south of Millen on West Old Savannah Road, you’ll know it’s open if there’s a plume of smoke pouring from the pits behind the simple cinder block building and a parking lot full of pickup trucks. Unless you have a big appetite, order the small barbeque plate. I ordered the regular and it was enough food for two people. (They also have a large plate). The sauce is a bit tangier than you’ll find further south in Georgia, but it was very good. And the Brunswick stew was served over rice, not something often seen in restaurants. Three slices of Sunbeam bread, a generous helping of potato salad, and Brinson’s sweet tea complete this classic Southern meal. Brinson’s actual address, in case you need to put it in your GPS: 3924 West Old Savannah Road, Millen, Georgia 30442. Their telephone number is (478) 982-4570.


Filed under --JENKINS COUNTY GA--, Emmalane GA

C. H. Mitchell’s Bar-B-Q, Valdosta


This 70s landmark was once one of the most popular restaurants in Valdosta. Today, just an empty building and this old sign remain. I’ve been told that Burt Reynolds used to pass through Valdosta on occasion and always picked up a pile of barbeque at C. H. Mitchell’s when he was there. Don’t know if that’s true, or just urban legend, but I like it.


Filed under --LOWNDES COUNTY GA--, Valdosta GA

Origins of Vanishing South Georgia

Pioneer Cabin in Winter, Tulip Road, Ben Hill County, 2002 –  © Brian Brown

In preparation for an upcoming documentary, I’ve been reviewing my archive of over 2,000 photographs made on various film cameras before I made the switch to digital in 2007.  I’m sharing some of them here and hope they are of interest. Amazingly, most of these structures are gone now and remind me why I do what I do. The images above, of a wintry landscape adorned with a crude pioneer cabin with a fieldstone chimney, were among my first favorites. I had 8x10s printed and looked at them with a sense of awe at the loss that was accelerating around me. As with many of the places I shoot, I’ve wished many times that I’d returned to this quaint little cabin for more photographs. I’m not quite sure when it was demolished but it was gone before 2010.  Such stories of loss motivate me to photograph nearly everything I can that I believe to be of cultural or historical value and I hope my work inspires others to pick up their cameras and do the same in their neck of the woods.

Hunter’s Bar-B-Que, Irwin County, 2002 – © Brian Brown

Hunter’s was a local favorite and welcome stop for travelers along Highway 32 for years. They even had parking for semi-trucks. Their goat sandwich, with chips & Coca-Cola was my favorite. Though Hunter’s closed not too long after this photo was made, it’s legendary barbeque sauce has been resurrected by the Hutto family, who now operate the location as Hutto’s Barbeque. It’s just as good!

Craftsman Farmhouse, Irwin County, 2001 – © Brian Brown

This house was demolished by 2010.

Pigs in Winter, Starling Road, Ben Hill County, 2001 – © Brian Brown

Loony Layton’s Store, Waterloo, Irwin County, 2002 – © Brian Brown

I can’t count how many times I passed this store traveling between Fitzgerald and Tifton over the years, though I honestly don’t remember it ever being open. It was razed in early 2012. (I’m not sure of the spelling of the owner’s name, but thanks to Dale Bledsoe for the information.)

Thompson Road Farmhouse, Irwin County, 2002 – © Brian Brown

This house was also an early favorite of mine. It was razed in 2007.

Griffin House, Irwin County, 2003 – © Brian Brown

This Folk Victorian, long a landmark in the area, was demolished before 2007. Thanks to a recent (2016) message from Daphne Griffin, I now know a bit more about the place: My father grew up in that house beginning around 1941. His name is Charlie Jesse Griffin, known as C.J. He grew up there with his mother, Osteen Roberts Griffin, his grandfather, Charlie Roberts, and his three brothers, Denzil, Herman, and Therman Griffin. My grandmother Osteen lived there until around 1960. The house was owned by Otto Griner at the time they lived there.

Player Cemetery Road Tobacco Barn, Ben Hill County, 2002 – © Brian Brown

This barn was razed in 2009.

Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, Ben Hill County, 2003 – © Brian Brown

Union Baptist Church, Ben Hill County, 2002 – © Brian Brown

The two churches pictured above are among Ben Hill County’s most historic African-American congregations.

Snow Shower, Dogwood Lane, Fitzgerald, 1989 – © Brian Brown

Wooden Shingle Farmhouse, Ben Hill County, 2001 – © Brian Brown

Burning Beaver Dam, Irwin County, 2002 – © Brian Brown