Are you always looking for a good deal? Can you overlook small problems if it gets you something good for less? Then Edgar's Bistro in the old Sam's Club building on Eisenhower Parkway is your kind of place.
Edgar's Bistro is an applied learning venue for the Polly Long Denton School of Hospitality at Helms College. Both the college and the bistro are named for the founder of Goodwill Industries, for his dedication to helping people through useful education and career development services.
All the meals served at Edgar's are planned, designed, prepared and served by students. After building a dedicated lunch crowd for their daytime students' work, the college has recently added an evening service to allow night students to gain that same experience. So while you might wait a little longer for your dinner while the students learn to handle the problem-solving necessary in a restaurant kitchen, you will be rewarded by a lot of food, beautifully plated, for a very small price.
We started with a blackened barbecue chicken salad, gorgeously served on a rectangular white plate, with smoked chicken in a creamy barbecue sauce on top of local mixed greens, grilled corn, bell peppers, black beans and jalapeño cornbread croutons. And here's the kicker -- it cost $5. There's a larger entree version for $10, but don't limit yourself to one item on this inexpensive smorgasbord.
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Our favorite and most expertly created dish was the grits martini for $8. The creamy chipotle grits with aged cheddar cheese and sautéed garlic shrimp was exactly as it should have been. Our other appetizer, the pesto bruschetta for $6, was a healthy but decadent-looking combination of diced tomatoes, feta, pesto and balsamic reduction served with garlic crisps.
Our next biggest hit was the breakfast burger for $10, a major meal made with half a pound of black Angus beef, applewood-smoked bacon, hot sauce aioli and a fried egg on brioche. It's the same price at lunch, but you could easily take half home for dinner. We also enjoyed our $10 po' boy, loaded with tender fried shrimp and served with beer-battered fries.
The jury is still out on our entrees. Perhaps the large group beside us threw things off in the kitchen, but my chicken cordon bleu was chopped up as if to check for doneness. Still, at $12, this chicken breast stuffed with prosciutto and provolone was a great deal considering how much I enjoyed the generous servings of garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach. The color of the red pepper reduction on the $12 salmon was a little off-putting at first, but the flavor was mild and the fish was cooked well.
While our experience wasn't perfect, we enjoyed our food even more knowing that someone in that kitchen was learning how to be a great chef. They know they are out-of-the-way and thank you with a full heart for coming to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Address: 5171 Eisenhower Parkway, Macon
Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday; 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. Tuesday-Friday
Payment: Cash, credit
Kids Menu: No
Noise Level: Low
Health Rating: 93
Price range: $5-$14
Rating: 2.5 stars