With “Mama” Louise watching from her new chair behind the counter, H&H Restaurant, a longtime fixture of the Macon culinary and music scene, reopened Wednesday to long lines.
New and longtime customers gave the food high marks, as did the restaurant’s matriarch and co-founder, Louise Hudson, who watched from a leather and wood arm chair purchased by the Moonhanger Group, the restaurant’s new owners.
“They’re doin’ good,” she said as the lunch rush began to ebb.
The restaurant was shuttered in December but was purchased in March by Moonhanger, which also owns the Rookery and Dovetail in downtown Macon. Co-owner Chad Evans said he is glad to bring back an institution like H&H. Mama Louise has been working with the new owners to make sure the recipes stay the same, even though they’re now cooked in a renovated kitchen.
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“It’s an honor to be able to continue this legacy,” Evans said.
Jamie Weatherford, a regular patron before the closing, took his 2-month-old son Walden to Wednesday’s opening. The restaurant had already sold out of fried okra by the time he ordered.
“That’s a really good sign if you’ve already sold out of something by noon,” he said.
Weatherford is co-owner of Rock Candy Tours, which holds tours of Macon’s musical heritage. The twice-monthly Saturday tours used to end at H&H but have had to double back for the past nine months.
“We’re thrilled that it’s back open,” he said.
Chester resident Eva Parker stopped in after an errand in Macon. It was her third trip, and she was happy with the food as well.
“Oooh, it’s good,” she said.
Mama Louise’s daughter and son-in-law Lucy and Philip O’Neal drove her in for her first shift behind the counter and stopped for lunch. They both said the food was as good as they remembered.
“They’re doing good,” said Philip O’Neal. “It’s a good blend.”
John C. Griffin, a longtime patron and member of the board of trustees of the Big House Museum, said he was enjoying the food, but as Mama Louise joined his table to enjoy a lunch of fried chicken livers and potato salad, he deferred to her.
“If Mama’s happy, I’m happy,” he said. “Are you happy, Mama?”
Her reply: “Yes, darlin’.”
To contact writer Mark Vanderhoek, call 744-4225.