SAVANNAH, Ga. -- It goes without saying that The Lady and Sons is one of Paula Deen’s favorite places here. It’s the restaurant that propelled her to her first cookbook and to Food Network stardom. It’s also the place where the careers of her sons, Jamie and Bobby, were launched.
The Deens don’t work out of the restaurant any more — well-trained managers and staff take care of that — but you’ll find their food sensibility and Southern hospitality throughout the three-floor facility (http://ladyandsons.com) that serves 8,000 people a week in the heart of Savannah’s Historic District.
You can order off the menu or hit the buffet and try a little bit of everything. A server wanders the restaurant to deliver hoe cakes and cheddar biscuits that are worth the carbs. For a break from the usual comfort food, try the asparagus sandwich ($9.99). If you’d rather take a lesson from the healthier side, try the Salmon en Papillote ($19.99) under the “Not My Mama’s Meals” heading. People with other dietary issues will be happy with the gluten-free flourless chocolate torte or sugar-free cheesecake ($5.99 each).
But her own restaurant isn’t the only thing in Savannah promoted by the queen of the Food Network. Deen is the first to tell you that she loves her adopted hometown, and shopkeepers all over town will rave over their good-hearted favorite customer.
In fact, Visit Savannah officials say they’re not sure how many of the city’s 12 million visitors in the past year came just to be in the city where Deen lives and works, but she’s definitely a popular draw.
“No matter what time of year or day of the week, there’s a line out the door of her restaurant, The Lady and Sons,” said Calli Arnold, public relations assistant at Visit Savannah. “They had a book signing there, and people were lined up around the block.”
Three separate tour groups offer Paula Deen tours that will take visitors to her restaurant and the one she operates with her brother on Tybee Island as well as some other Deen-related stops.
We decided to forget the tour guides and Internet bragging. We went straight to Deen herself for her 10 favorite places in the city where she lives, works and shops. The next time you’re in need of a laid-back East Coast get-away, try this beautiful coastal Georgia city and do it Paula style.
• Globe Shoe Co. It really is true, Stuart Weitzman’s are a girl’s best friend. Smack in the middle of one of the main drags through Savannah’s touristy Historic District, this shoe store is packed to the brim with flats, wedges and pumps by this high-quality shoemaker. You’ll also find cute shoes by Via Spiga, Ugg, Vaneli, Sam Edelman and Gentle Souls, which just might be the most comfortable brand of shoes you’ve never heard of. P.D. rarely heads into the Historic District any more because it’s too filled with people who will stop her for an autograph or photo — and she’s a just girl who can’t say no. You’re more likely to see her assistants in there collecting shoes for her to try on. Ask for Paula’s favorite shoes, and a bevy of clerks will surround you with stacks of boxes and smiling faces.
Find it: 17 E. Broughton St., Savannah; 912-232-8161