In some places, “café” is a place where dogs watch passers-by while their owners sip coffee. Macon’s Cox Café isn’t that. In other places, a “café” is a healthy place next to a gym. Macon’s Cox Café absolutely, certainly, isn’t that.
But inside the cinderblock walls of Macon’s Cox Café is one of the region’s finest meat-and-threes, a full-flavor experience as likely to enliven your taste buds as it is to clog your arteries.
There’s nothing at all highbrow about the restaurant, located at 694 Lower Poplar St. next to a pesticide wholesaler in a decrepit industrial area. But inside is some of the tastiest food and best service you’ll find.
My fried chicken was unparalleled, and co-workers raved about the fried pork chops. Another co-worker was reminded of home, albeit with the kind of service your Aunt Margaret won’t typically provide, complete with a spate of “honey” and “darlin’” as drink refills come by.
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“My lunch wasn’t just like home-cooked,” my co-worker said. “It was better, like the big meal prepared when company comes. My cube steak, slathered in gravy, wasn’t fatty despite its thickness. The mashed potatoes included just enough lumps to prove they were whole potatoes mashed by hand, and the broccoli was overcooked just the way Grandma used to do it.”
The sides varied. I found the creamed corn to be a little bland and washed out. One friend said the cornbread was so greasy it was inedible, but other sides received good marks.
The menu varies by the day. Thursday, for example, includes ham, turkey, pork chops and spaghetti; Friday has catfish, tilapia, fried chicken, chicken and dumplings and hamburger steak. Some of the meats have additional charges.
Sides? On Monday alone, you can choose from rutabagas, green beans, mashed potatoes, okra with tomatoes, squash casserole, fried okra and rice. My only criticism of the sides: Mac and cheese is available only Wednesdays and Fridays.
Desserts are offered, but you’ll have no room -- or regrets.
Address: 694 Lower Poplar St., Macon
Phone: (478) 745-7171
Hours: Breakfast 6-10 a.m. Mondays-Fridays; lunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays-Fridays
Payment: Cash, credit, debit
Kids Menu: No
Noise Level: Moderate
Health Rating: 96
Price range: $6.95 or $7.50 most plates; drinks extra
Rating: 3.5 stars