It’s new places like this one that make me think our area is on the cusp of something big -- a renaissance of good taste and big ideas.
Once the home of Shamrock, Twang’s property in Payne City has been cleaned up and gentrified a bit. It still has a rough-hewn charm, but it’s obvious someone has paid attention to details. The servers have either been well trained or they are genuinely some of the nicest people in Macon.
The menu is charming as well. There is a pride of place that shows in the item descriptions: “money can buy anything but true love and homegrown tomatoes” and “praise The Lord and pass the gravy.” Great lengths have been taken to feature the South that so many of us grew up in, filled with deviled eggs, pork chops and pimento cheese.
What other restaurant has a Deviled Egg of the Day? The day we went it was a turkey and gouda, served with two other favors, applewood smoked bacon and cheddar, plus the traditional kind. You can get a plate of three for $4.99 or six for $6.99, mix and match as you please. We had these recently at a catered event and couldn’t eat just one.
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The skillet fried green tomatoes were some of the best I’ve had, with tart tomato integrity and a crunchy cornmeal crust. The pepper jack fried macaroni bites were a little weird for me because of their uniform shape, but the taste was OK and the kids loved them. Other appetizers include Appalachicola oysters, jumbo Cajun shrimp and a collard green and artichoke heart dip.
Our entrees included shrimp and grits and fried chicken and waffles. The waffle dish was one of the prettiest arrangements possible for a brown-on-brown plate. The boneless chicken was substantial and juicy, and the waffles were served with a side of black pepper maple syrup that cut the sweetness in half. The shrimp and grits needed a stir before they came out to get rid of that congealed texture on top, but otherwise we enjoyed them.
We also had grandma’s Brunswick stew and the Southern Trio, a plate combining the egg salad, chicken salad and pimento cheese. The egg salad was nothing extraordinary, the chicken salad was a little heavy on everything not-chicken, but the pimento cheese had an enjoyable kick.
Items I will try next time include the cornmeal-battered catfish, the fish wrapper tacos with spicy slaw, and the Freedom Park pork chop.
Twang was much better than I ever expected it to be, with good food, a great vibe and outstanding service. If the neighborhoods around it will venture to the other side of the railroad track sometimes, Twang will be around for a long time.
Twang Southern Tastes and Sounds
Address: 342 Rose Ave., Payne City
Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday, closed Sunday
Payment: Cash, credit
Kids Menu: Yes
Noise Level: Low
Health Rating: 100
Price range: $9.99-$15.99
Rating: 3 stars