Brunch Sloppy Joe at Heirloom Cafe in Athens, Georgia
Farm to Table Dining in Georgia
A wide array of Georgia restaurateurs, foodies and other advocates are heeding the call to "eat local." Star chefs continue to build seasonal, local menus to expose guests to the bounty of natural goods available just around the corner.
While the locavore movement may have originally planted roots in the city centers of Atlanta, Athens and Savannah, it quickly swept throughout the Peach State. Towns big and small now treat travelers to a host of farm-to-table restaurants offering delicious local fare.
With so many of them now basing their menus on what's "fresh at the market" on any given day, it's tricky to know exactly what they'll be serving the next time you stop by. Thankfully, most of these tasty tables are active on social media, so be sure to follow their feeds for updated offerings.
Here, we've rounded up some of the hottest locally sourced restaurants in the state, organized by region, to help start your farm-to-table culinary road trip.
In the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, you'll find several farm-to-table favorites, including Jasper's 61 Main. Housed in the historic Jasper Theater building, 61 Main serves up specialties like quail, grouper, rabbit and wild Georgia shrimp. Its Saturday brunch menu features homemade quiches, casseroles and Bloody Marys.
In Ellijay, the Ellijay Coffeehouse is where locals go for their morning jolt, set in a restored 1940s building downtown. It’s the perfect spot to relax with a book or work with free WiFi while sipping on cold brew and snacking on freshly made pastries.
Athens' dining options include the famed Heirloom Cafe & Fresh Market and Five & Ten. Located in a former Amoco service station, Heirloom Café is known for its seasonal lunch, dinner and brunch menus with items like a fresh fig salad and bacon-wrapped meatloaf. At Five & Ten, be sure to try the star-worthy Georgia Blue Catfish, local veggie plate or one of the daily specials.
Atlanta has a near endless locally sourced food scene. Grass-fed beef meets seasonal ingredients at Farm Burger. At Miller Union, menus consistently delight both vegetarians and meat-eaters.
Tasty tip! Make a side trip to any farmers market, including Morningside Farmers Market, open Saturday mornings in Atlanta, and Athens Farmers Market, open Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings. Be extra thoughtful and bring your own bag!
Savannah and Coastal Georgia
Along the state's 100 miles of coastline, you can get your fill of fresh Georgia shrimp, which is the star of the show at both Darien’s Skipper's Fish Camp and St. Simons’ Coastal Kitchen & Raw Bar. The Green Truck Pub in Savannah provides a laid-back atmosphere, a menu stocked with locally sourced finds and the best burgers in town (made from grass-fed, all-natural, hormone-free beef from Hunter Cattle Company in nearby Brooklet). For a more upscale ambiance, head to Local 11 Ten, also in Savannah, where wine is at the ready and chefs dole out seasonal menus featuring the day’s fresh catch, Georgia buffalo tartare and UGA caviar. Looking to splurge? The six-course chef tasting menu is so worth it.