Back in its day, the building that now houses Anderson’s Restaurant on Pio Nono Avenue was full of customers of the Ponderosa Steak House.
Forty years later, an unused, cracked salad bar runs through the middle of an empty dining room.
The food, however, tells a different story. Uniformed servers heap large servings of fried chicken, sausage and peppers, fried fish or pork chops in your styrofoam to-go box.
Many of the other selections require a skill for turning less-desirable cuts of meat into dinner.
A board giving the daily specials gives “Stewed Neckedbones” as Monday’s and Saturday’s feature; meatloaf and beef tips for Tuesday; turkey wings Wednesday through Sunday; pig’s feet for Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; beef liver for Thursday; fish for Friday; and chitterlings and oxtails on Sunday.
Both the fried chicken and baked chicken retained their moistness and were well-seasoned. The spicy sausage and peppers tasted like they had come straight off a backyard grill and I had plenty to enjoy for the next day. I just wasn’t up for neck bones and pig’s feet that day.
Side dishes included in the price are either every day or only on certain days. You can get macaroni and cheese with thick noodles and a comforting amount of cheesiness every day, as well as collard greens, rice and gravy, and cabbage. Also available daily, the boiled okra -- which is the least appealing way to cook okra, in my opinion -- had an odd texture, both slimy and fuzzy, with crunchy seed orbs in the mix.
On many days, you can get yams, field peas, mashed potatoes, fried corn and lima beans. “Buttersquash” is only available Sunday, cornbread dressing is just on Wednesday, and rutabagas are only on Sunday and Thursday. We came on a Thursday and got mushy but tasty black eyed peas, not mentioned anywhere on the board.
Our banana pudding had mixed reviews: the flavor of the pudding was good, the texture was less than firm, the temperature was neither warm out of the oven nor cold out of the refrigerator. Most unfortunately, it was topped with partially burnt marshmallows, which were too sweet and visually unappetizing.
Most entrees are about $10, so our dinner for four with dessert cost about $50 -- kind of steep for chicken and pig’s feet.
Anderson’s Restaurant does a valiant job of turning odd bits into something good, but the price may affect the number of customers who can afford it. My advice: Come for the $7.50 lunch and find out how Southern you really are.
Address: 3700 Pio Nono Ave., Macon
Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Sunday
Payment: Cash, credit
Kids Menu: No
Noise Level: Low
Health Rating: 97
Price range: $7.50-$10
Rating: 2 stars