I remember as a child coming to visit my grandfather in Macon.
A trip to S&S Cafeteria was almost inevitable. Likely to be argued against, sure to be frowned upon, but basically unstoppable.
I tell you that to tell you this: Kids named Travis don't like cafeteria-style restaurants.
Adults, however, do.
The food is not gourmet.
But it is good, and it is consistent. If you like the turnips this week, you'll like them next week, too. Same goes for the macaroni and cheese, the mashed potatoes, the hamburger steak, the green beans and any of the other seemingly endless Southern-style menu options.
And, to appease the kids, they've got Jello, though these days I prefer the apple pie.
The service is fast and the people are friendly. My grandfather remains a regular, and when we go through the cafeteria line together people greet him like an old family friend.
They'll carry your tray to the table if you like. Need some pepper sauce?
Sweetheart, that ain't no problem.
S&S is a Macon tradition for many people. It's trafficked largely by blue hairs, but it's a fine place for anyone who wants good food, a great selection and friendly service. And it's the only place I know of that serves chow-chow.
It's a spicy relish. You put it in your turnip greens. My grandfather taught me that. Trust him.
These days I'm likely to stop in by myself from time to time, though I prefer to pick up as opposed to dining in. All the same food is available, and they pack it up quick.
There are two cafeterias in Macon, and the first S&S opened in Columbus in 1936, according to the restaurant's Web site, www.sscafeterias.com. But, for me, the cafeteria on Riverside Drive remains the original.
By the way, S&S stands for Smith & Sons. The cafeteria was the idea of J.A. Smith, Jr., aka "Smitty." "Smitty" was a Macon "restaurateur of renown," again according to the Web site, "known for innovative operating methods and quality service."
I will not argue with that.
2626 Riverside Drive and 3724 Bloomfield Village Drive
Phone: (478) 746-9406
Hours: Line: 11 a.m.-2:15 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-2:15 p.m. and 5-8:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday; and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. Sunday.
Take out: 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-8 p.m.. Friday-Saturday; and 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Sunday.
Payment: Cash, check, major credit cards
Smoking policy: No
Latest health code rating: 96