Lockett Kuntry Cooking in Culloden isn't the kind of place you see in one of those credit card commercials, where lines of customers rush through the checkout until somebody pulls out cash or a checkbook. Then everything comes to a screeching halt, much to the disgust of the cashier and crowd, until the embarrassed check-writer pulls out the plastic.
For one, Lockett Kuntry Cooking does not take debit or credit cards. (Nowhere else in Culloden does either, which means a five-mile drive to Yatesville to get some cash if, like me, you leave the checkbook at home and forget to stop by the ATM.)
But most importantly, Lockett's is as laid-back as it gets, worlds away from the big-city hustle and bustle on those TV spots. It's a quaint little brick structure on the main street of one of Middle Georgia's sleepiest towns, with a white fence and well-kept flower beds. A kitchen worker sat at a picnic table, peeling potatoes.
Fellow Telegraph staffer Joe Kovac had suggested the restaurant for a review. He went there with sheriff's deputies while reporting on a piece about rural policing, and everybody knows that a good policeman knows where to find good eats, even in the boondocks. I asked Joe to tag along to see if the fried chicken was a good as advertised, plus he knew the way.
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Turns out the restaurant building had been a Gulf station back in the ’30s. We suspected that and tried to figure if we might have been sitting in what once had been a work bay. The dining area was small, with some country-themed art and decor. Joe called it "early Cracker Barrel."
The menu items were listed by hand on brightly colored sheets of poster board. The owner, Fannie Mae Lockett, and other staffers made us feel welcome, kind of like we were family and she was asking us to have a seat while she went into the kitchen and fixed us a plate.
The daily lunch special comes with a meat, two vegetables, bread and a drink for $8. The veggies that day included green beans, potato salad, cabbage, yams and potatoes. Meat options included meat loaf, barbecue and baked chicken, but we had come for the fried stuff.
Our plates arrived with what looked like a half-chicken on each. They were the biggest pieces of fried chicken — a breast and wing in one portion — either of us had ever seen. And they were still hot and cooked to perfection. The skin was crispy, and the meat juicy and tender. I briefly considered asking for a doggie-bag, but once I started eating it I couldn't stop. It was that good.
I took the all-starch route on my vegetables, with yams (good) and cream potatoes with gravy (very good). The cornbread, however, was a little on the dry side.
The menu has several options if you're not in a square-meal mood. Hamburgers, cheeseburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches are a few. The dessert menu isn't lacking, with banana pudding, lemon and key lime pie, coconut and German chocolate cake. I took a piece of lemon pie back to the office, and it still was delicious an hour later.
By the time we finished off our meals, the restaurant was filling up with people bringing cards, gifts and flowers. Family and friends were meeting to honor a local woman, a retired nurse, for her service to the community. Everyone seemed to make themselves at home, which seems to come natural at Lockett Kuntry Cooking, even if you're not home folk.
Lockett Kuntry Cooking
443 Main St.
Phone: (478) 885-2345
Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday
Price range: $1.25-$8
Payment: Cash or check
Kids menu: Yes
Noise level: Quiet
Latest health rating: 89
Wheelchair accessible: Yes