If you love southern cooking or have been dying to try it, make it a point to stop into the famed The Lady and Sons Restaurant. Located at 102 West Congress Street, it is just a short distance away from the trolley stop on Broughton Street. Founded by world-renown celebrity chef and television cooking show host, Paula Deen, The Lady and Sons first opened in 1996 and is owned by Paula and her two sons. Dig into mouth-watering dishes like fried green tomatoes and chicken pot pie or Paula’s original Black Pepper Shrimp.
While you’re vacationing in Savannah, a meal at this world-renowned restaurant is definitely in order. Owned and operated by celebrated chef, author and TV personality Paula Deen, The Lady and Sons is an award-winning restaurant that serves up true southern cooking.
The Beginning of Something Tasty
Although you’d never know it by watching her in action, Paula Deen has had her share of hard times. As a young mother in the late 80s, she was blindsided by the death of her parents and a failed marriage. Raising two young sons on her own and struggling to keep her head above water, she also suffered with agoraphobia. With her boys in their teens, she founded her own catering company out of her kitchen. The Bag Lady was born out of desperation as Paula had less than $200 left to her name and knew she had to care for her children. The Bag Lady featured bag lunches of Paula’s homemade southern dishes and were delivered to local business people by her sons, Jamie and Bobby. Their motto of “Lunch and Love In A Bag” turned out to be her and her family’s saving grace.
Rise of The Bag Lady
It didn’t take long for folks in Savannah to get a taste of Paula Deen’s scrumptious dishes. In 1991, soon after founding her small catering company, Paula expanded the business to become a full-service restaurant at the Best Western Hotel on the south side of Savannah. The Lady would welcome many regular patrons who had grown to love their bag lunches and craved even more of Paula’s downhome cooking. And while her restaurant began to gain more popularity, both from locals and visitors, it was clear that The Lady needed a new, bigger home.
The next move was in January of 1996, and this time the restaurant evolved into The Lady and Sons and was located in the old Sears and Roebuck building in downtown Savannah.
Birth of The Lady and Sons
After eight months of renovations and nearly cleaning out all their bank accounts, Paula, Jamie and Bobby opened the new restaurant to the delight of hungry customers. Soon after, Paula published her first two cookbooks and the fame of her restaurant continued to grow, with lines of enthusiastic patrons spilling out onto the sidewalk. The Lady and Sons began to garner national and international attention.
Several awards later, including being named International Meal of the Year by USA Today in 2002, a newer, even bigger location was sought for the restaurant. In November 2003, the 15,000 square foot establishment celebrated its grand opening, just seven days before Thanksgiving. Located down the block from the Sears and Roebuck building, the three-story building seats 330 diners and is always a full house. It was also during this time that Paula was given her own TV show on Food Network and the restaurant was featured in a multi-page article in Southern Living Magazine.
The Dining Experience
After you make a reservation, be sure to show up hungry for some hearty, flavorful southern eats. Food is the star attraction and the menu includes Paula’s raved-about buffet that includes fried chicken, home-style veggies and a whole bunch of other delicious dishes. They also serve up traditional southern style fare like fried okra, fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, parmesan-crusted catfish, pecan pie and more.
Paula Deen Retail Store
Located next door to the restaurant, this retail store is a Paula Deen fan’s dream come true. Whether you’re looking for one of her cookbooks, cookware, kitchen gadgets or other items, you’ll find it here.
Things to Do Nearby
This special 3-hour tour is dedicated to the Queen of Southern Cuisine and will transport you through Savannah’s historic district while showcasing points of interest that have significance to Paula and her family. You’ll see her original home in Savannah and be treated to VIP seating at The Lady and Sons restaurant, which means no waiting in line for you!
Just a short stroll from The Lady and Sons, City Market is a 4-block venue that is well known for its art galleries, shopping, dining and entertainment. Here, you can enjoy a variety of intriguing art, live music and pick up anything from fine art and hand-crafted jewelry to delicious hand-made candy and a breezy courtyard.
One of the city’s greatest art endeavors, the Telfair Academy is a part of the Telfair Museum of Art, which encompasses three different locations. This one is housed inside Alexander Telfair’s mansion, built in 1818-1819. You’ll enjoy browsing through two 19th century period rooms where you can view American and European pieces including paintings, works on paper, sculpture and decorative arts.
Birthplace to the founder of the Girl Scouts of America, this beautiful Regency-style mansion holds a special place in the hearts of girl scouts everywhere. Here, you can learn all about Juliette Gordon Low’s life, her inspiring spirit and the movement she founded that would go on to empower girls across America and the world. You’ll view period furnishings, artifacts and numerous works of art by Juliette “Daisy” herself. Special tours and events are hosted for girl scouts throughout the year.
Home to the first Black congregation in North America, this historical church dates back to 1773 and was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Guided tours offer you a view into the rich history and extraordinary architecture as well as many of the features that have withstood the test of time and are original to the church. Be sure to see the pews in the balcony that were made by and inscribed by slaves. And make a note to look up, the Nine Patch Quilt design on the ceiling signified that slaves were safe inside the church.