Perry has justly become known as one of the most charming, happening towns in Middle Georgia, and Rustys Downtown Grill and Bar is the neighborhood joint that brings it all together. Its a place where you can go just about any time and find folks you know having a good time.
The racing theme belies its Italian background, but the crowd didnt seem to care. We came pretty late for dinner on a Saturday night and the place was packed. The juke box played hits from the 80s and 90s with some recent country mixed in. Some folks were eating; some just drinking. Our server was busy with a big unexpected group so another server covered for her and got our drink orders.
For appetizers, we got chunky potato skins with bacon and sour cream buried in the middle and some fried green beans served with ranch dressing. Both were satisfying, neither was earth-shattering. The stuffed mushrooms and spinach and artichoke dip also were recommended by our server, but we were already getting full. The Jimmys Salad was an iceberg lettuce salad made original with its slice of beet and full coverage of mozzarella.
While Rustys offers lots of steaks, from chopped steak to prime rib, the Italian dishes on the section called Angelinas Alley sounded much more appealing. This section is named for the recipes brought over by the cook from the former Angelinas Italian restaurant on the other side of the overpass.
Each of the veal, chicken and vegetarian entrees were classic dishes such as parmigiana, Marsala or Alfredo. We chose the Old World lasagna, shrimp and scallops, and stuffed flounder. The meat sauce in the lasagna was thick and hearty, mixed with rich ricotta, al dente noodles and ripe tomatoes. Its made individually so every bit is fresh out of the oven, mozzarella bubbling over the top of the ceramic bakeware.
The shrimp and scallops were served on a heap of pasta with lemon butter sauce, which we chose over Alfredo, but something was lacking. The seafood was competently cooked, but the seasoning was bland. On the other hand, the stuffed flounder contained at least a cup of crab mixture, excellently spiced with onion and sage. The sides were limited almost completely to potatoes.
For dessert, we had the key lime pie and the apple dumpling a la mode. The key lime pie was in a buttery graham cracker crust and was as good as any Ive ever had. The dumpling was a cinnamony flashback to the fair.
Overall, the location is fantastic, the decor is a bit downscale, and the food can be quite good if you know what to order. Skip the appetizers and fill up on the Italian dishes, leaving a good bit of room for dessert.
Rustys Bar and Grill
Address: 807 Carroll St., Perry
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday; 4-10 p.m. Saturday
Payment: Cash, credit
Kids Menu: Yes
Noise Level: Loud
Health Rating: 100
Price range: $7.99-$24.99
Rating: 2.5 stars