Tag Archives: South Georgia Restaurants

Alapaha Restaurant

alapaha restaurant berrien county ga photogrpah copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2009

I think this has been home to several restaurants over the years.

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Filed under --BERRIEN COUNTY GA--, Alapaha GA

Relocation of the Paradise Restaurant Sign, Cooperville

Paradise Restaurant Sign US 301 Cooperville GA Removal Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

Like many other photographers and travelers on US 301, I’ve shot the iconic Paradise Restaurant sign numerous times over the years. It’s a landmark that most who have ever driven past remember. By researching postcards of the restaurant I’ve discovered that a smaller sign preceded this one and was still in use until at least the early 1960s. I’m not sure when this sign was placed, but my guess would be sometime in the 1960s. A comment from Jerry Levy on a previous post about the sign indicates that the restaurant was open as late as 1982.

Paradise Restaurant Sign US 301 Cooperville GA Removal to New Location Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

I recently got a message from Melissa Birmingham stating that the sign would be removed and relocated to the business that she and her husband Greg operate across the highway, the Cooperville Caboose restaurant. I was sad to hear that it would be removed but less so after talking to Melissa. She invited me to come up and document the removal of the sign.

Paradise Restaurant Sign Removal Cooperville GA Photgraph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

Dollar General bought the property on the corner that includes the historic sign and their plans were to scrap it. Melissa and Greg knew that the loss of the sign would be a blow to the community and saving it isn’t a publicity stunt. It’s where preservation and community involvement come together for good results.  The Sylvania Telephone (newspaper) and Screven County Chamber of Commerce were present to witness the event.

Paradise Restaurant Sign Cooperville GA Across the Highway Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

Greg made getting the sign across US 301 look easy.

Paradise Restaurant Sign Relocation Cooperville GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

It made its way through the trees behind the post office.

Greg Melissa Birmingham Saving the Cooperville GA Paradise Restaurant Sign Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

Melissa & Greg took a break and posed for a photo.

Bringing the Paradise Restaurant Sign Through Fuel America Parking Lot Cooperville GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

One of my favorite shots was seeing it pass through the parking lot of Fuel America.

Paradise Restaurant Sign at New Location Cooperville Caboose Restaurant Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

This is where it will rest until it’s refurbished and raised at the Birmingham’s business, Cooperville Caboose.

Securing the Paradise Restaurant Sign at Cooperville Caboose Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

The sign is hollow and rusty so lowering it was a bit tricky.

Lowering the Paradise Restaurant Sign Cooperville GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

With help from volunteers and well-wishers, the move was successful.

Inspecting the Spinning Top of the Paradise Restaurant Sign Cooperville GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

The spinning star that tops the sign actually turns.

Paradise Restaurant Sign Moving Volunteers Cooperville GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

It looks like the volunteers enjoyed the day, as did I. Melissa sent me packing with great barbecue and slaw. Please stop by and say hello the next time you’re passing through. Check out their Facebook page for hours, menus, and progress on the sign’s restoration.  https://www.facebook.com/Cooperville-Caboose-871869876254111/?fref=ts

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Paradise Restaurant & Sign, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under --SCREVEN COUNTY GA--, Cooperville GA

Lion’s Den Restaurant, Morgan

Morgan GA Lions Den Restaurant Sign Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

I don’t think this is still open, but I liked the colors and the sign.

Morgan GA Calhoun County Lions Den Restaurant Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

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Filed under --CALHOUN COUNTY GA--, Morgan GA

Toby’s Motel & Grill, Alapaha

Alapaha GA Tobys Motel Grill Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Built to lure travelers off busy US Highway 82 (likely in the 1940s), Toby Powell’s Motel & Grill is still relatively intact. The eclectic architecture of the office/restaurant at first appears to be a crumbling facade, but it was built that way! For a time after its original use was supplanted, it served as a grocery store and Virginia’s Beauty Lounge.

Alapaha GA Tobys Motel Grill Abandoned Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Below is a contemporary postcard view.

Tobys Motel Grill Alapaha GA Postcard 1950s Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

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Filed under --BERRIEN COUNTY GA--, Alapaha GA

Johnnie’s Drive In, 1945, Fitzgerald

Johnnies Drive In Parking Lot Fitzgerald GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Upon learning that Johnnie’s Drive In would soon be a memory, I immediately felt the need to take my camera and record some of the energy that makes this place so special. It’s important to many people for many reasons. It’s an anchor of my memory, where I’ve spent many evenings with dear friends who worked and socialized here, and where I’ve always felt at home. But it represents more than sentiment. It’s among the last generation of roadside diners and beer joints that rose to popularity during World War II where kids hung out beside juke boxes and car hops came to you and took your order. The car hops at Johnnie’s were gone by the late 1990s but I remember them well. Many thanks to Phillip Joe Luke for sharing this wonderful history. His words are in italics.

Johnnies Drive In Restaurant Fitzgerald GA Landmark Denise Picking Up an Order Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Johnnie Rochester Wise and Ollie Mae Roberts Luke Wise (Archival Images Courtesy of Phillip Joe Luke, unless otherwise noted). Johnnie and his family moved to Fitzgerald from Columbus in late 1930s.

Johnnie Wise Ollie May Roberts Luke Founders of Johnnies Drive In Photo Courtesy Phillip Joe Luke

The first family restaurant was in the 800 block of North Grant Street and it was called The Silver Moon. (It was opened by Johnnie’s father, John Franklin Wise).  About 1943 or so they opened Johnnie’s Drive In. The Johnnie scrambled hamburger  (better known as the Johnnie Burger) was his creation. The scrambled dog idea came from the Dinglewood Pharmacy in his native home of Columbus (it has a slightly different recipe).

Silver Moon business card from my collection.

Johnnies Drive In Before it was Johnnies The Silver Moon Grant Street Fitzgerald GA Late 1930s Collection of Brian Brown For Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

On the same lot of Johnnie’s Drive In was the old motel and the Princess Club. The Princess Club burned down many years ago and the remains of the motel are still there.

Abandoned Motel Beside Johnnies Drive In Fitzgerald GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

The name of the motel has been long forgotten.

Abandoned Motel Beside Johnnies Drive In Interior Fitzgerald GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Here’s an image of Johnnie’s, in the early 1950s.

Johnnies Drive In Early 1950s Fitzgerald GA Archival Photograph Courtesy Phillip Joe Luke Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Beer was served, along with fried shrimp and fried oysters on the short order menu. The Scramble (not Scrambled, as many call it today) Dog and the Dog Cicle were popular items from the start, but the Dog Cicle, akin to a corn dog, has been gone for many years.

Johnnie died in 1969 and my grandmother carried on the tradition for many years. All of my family members dedicated their lives to Johnnie’s until their health failed and could no longer operate the restaurant. Uncle Coot managed during the day, Uncle Carl at night.

Russel Cooter Luke Johnnie Wise Johnnies Drive In Fitzgerald GA 1950s Photograph Courtesy Phillip Joe Luke Vanishing South Georgia 2015

Russell (Coot) Luke, Jr., with Johnnie Wise (right).

Carl Luke at Johnnies Drive Photograph Courtesy Phillip Joe Luke Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Carl Luke manning the register at Johnnies.

Uncle Flop scrubbed that exhaust hood every Monday until it sparkled. Aunt Betty worked there off and on through the years. Even my mother served as a carhop while I was inside in a play pen. Many of you will remember Mary McElroy as one of the finest cooks in the history of Johnnie’s. Mary left us way too soon. We are so thankful that Jimmy and Carolyn Puckett came along to manage the restaurant in the mid 1980s. Restaurant management is not an easy task and Carolyn succeeded and made it look easy. Thank you so much. And thanks to all of the faithful customers for 70+ years of business in Fitzgerald. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Johnnies Drive In Fitzgerald GA Carolyn Chambers Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Carolyn Chambers has managed Johnnie’s for over 25 years and kept this landmark alive. Customers think of her as family and Johnnie’s a home away from home.

Johnnies Drive In Fitzgerald GA Landmark Estelle Stapleton Cooking Breakfast Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Carolyn’s sister, Estelle Stapleton, has been cooking here for years. People love her as much as they love her food.

Johnnies Drive In Fitzgerald GA Landmark Ruby Chambers Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Ruby Chambers, Carolyn’s sister-in-law, usually knows your order when you walk in the door. Love this lady!

Johnnies Drive In Fitzgerald GA Landmark Restaurant Carolyn Chambers Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Denise Jordan helping Carolyn. I’ve known Denise all my life, too.

I want to thank Carolyn for giving me access for these photographs. I know she doesn’t really like to have her picture taken so it means a lot. I love all of you at Johnnie’s, past and present.

Johnnies Drive In Fitzgerald GA Landmark Soon to Close Patrons Having Breakfast Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Johnnies Drive In Fitzgerald GA Homemade Breakfast Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Johnnies Drive In Fitzgerald GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Johnnies Drive In in 2012 Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Johnnies Drive In Fitzgerald GA Dr Pepper Sign Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

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

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

Suwannee River Cafe, Fargo

Suwannee River Cafe Restaurant Fargo GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

This is a great little restaurant and the employees are some of the friendliest you’ll find. They’re used to people being surprised by Fargo’s isolation and they’re glad to give you advice, directions, and any tips you might need on rambling in the area. It’s worth a stop and if you’re hungry, it’s the only restaurant in town. They also have a nice collection of local relics, as well as some beautiful handmade canes and walking sticks for sale.

Fargo GA Suwannee River Cafe Sign Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

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Filed under --CLINCH COUNTY GA--, Fargo GA