How many restaurants can you name that are open only eight hours a week, are locatable only by word of mouth and GPS, but have been around for 50 years? The only one I know of is Owens Boarding House, across from Robins Air Force Base.
In fact, I was talking to a base retiree who had eaten there a few times, when it was across from the main gate, and he didn’t even know the name of it. His buddies just asked, “Want to go eat at that place over there?” and everyone knew where they were talking about.
It’s all you can eat, family style, for $8, but once they run out of something, it’s really gone, so come right at 11 a.m. The line starts building around 10:45 a.m. and space is limited, so plan accordingly or you’ll be standing outside until another group leaves.
We got there about 12:30 p.m. so the ham was already gone and the end of the banana pudding was nigh. The daily fried chicken, plus collard greens, potato salad, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn bread and macaroni and cheese, were on the table as soon as we exited the car to go in. There were three of us, so we shared a rectangular table for 14 with two other small groups, with food served on each end.
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Each day features a particular menu, in addition to the daily items. Tuesday means meatloaf, stewed potatoes and peach cobbler for dessert. Wednesday is baked ham with banana pudding; Thursday is pulled pork, liver and onions and peach cobbler; and Friday is pork ribs with banana pudding again.
Don’t be afraid to pig out; they will refill your bowls until you leave or until they run out. Looking at the reviews on Yelp, I’m thinking their score would have been higher if we had come earlier. Thursday tends to be their busiest day, since they have three entrees instead of the usual two, and peach cobbler days are busier than banana pudding ones.
Everything tastes like what you expect. The fried chicken is solid and best when it comes out hot. The rest is fairly typical for homemade food, but in this age of quick and cheap fast food, anything homemade tastes better.
So here’s the perfect plan: bring a group of five or six, all with cash, at 10:40 a.m. on the day of your preferred menu (most people base it first on entree, second on dessert).
With a group of that size, you’re not likely to have to share with another group and you can quickly get refills. You’re guaranteed to get plenty of what you want, and everyone should experience family style dining at least once in their lives.
Owens Boarding House
Address: 106 Young Ave., Warner Robins
Hours: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday-Friday
Kids Menu: No
Noise Level: Low
Health Rating: 100
Price range: $8
Rating: 2.5 stars