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The Lady & Sons

Fodorite Reviews

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The Lady & Sons Review

Put some South in your mouth! Expect to take your place in line simply to get reservations for either lunch or dinner because, y'all, this is the place that Paula Deen, high priestess of southern cooking, made famous. Alas, the quality can sometimes suffer because of the volume these days (locals will tell you that in the early days, when Paula was doing her own cooking, it was decidedly better). Nevertheless, everyone patiently waits to attack the buffet, which is stocked for both lunch and dinner with crispy fried chicken, mashed potatoes, collard greens, lima beans, and other Southern favorites. Peach cobbler and banana pudding round off the offerings. Although most fans jump on the buffet when their name is called, you can order off the menu, too. The fried green tomatoes are a great starter, and long-time fans vouch that the crab-cake burger at lunch or chicken potpie or barbecue grouper at dinner are sometimes better than the buffet fixings.

    Restaurant Details

  • Reservations essential.
  • Credit cards accepted.
  • No dinner Sun.
Updated: 11-12-2012

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  
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    The Lady & Sons Review

    For any trip to Savannah, The Lady and Sons definitely must be on your list. You aren't just going to lunch or dinner, but you are participating in a collective obsession with Paula Deen and anything she touches. If you decide to go, make sure you read their website for instructions on how to get a seating time. Don't just walk up and think you'll get into the restaurant at that moment. Like I said, prepare for the event that is Paula. My husband and I both got the lunch buffet. I adore anyone who serves me black-eyed peas and creamed corn. There truly isn't anything better. Paula's fried chicken was moist and not as greasy as others I've tried. The macaroni and cheese had to contain every cheese available at the Piggly Wiggly, and I doubt any butter was left on the shelves. The sweet tea was the perfect level of sweetness. For dessert, I had the chocolate gooey butter cake. I am ruined for desserts as we know them. Our server Brandon, from Lancaster, PA, had been trained to say "ya'll." He said it at least five thousand times, but he didn't say it in a way that hurt my ears. He had been trained well. He was energetic and excited to be there. Good job in hiring Brandon! Overall, I think that the visit to The Lady and Sons was everything I expected. I want to visit again to try some of the other items on the menu.

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    The Lady & Sons Review

    We waited over 30 minutes in the 90 degree Savannah heat for our 5pm "reservation" which had gotten earlier in the day. Food was on par with Golden Corral or Cracker Barrel but 3 times the price, and 20 times the aggravation to get it. Not worth it, would never go back, would never recommend it to anyone.

    by FlossieKnows, 7/22/10
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    The Lady & Sons Review

    Not awful, not great. Try the bread pudding.

    by ivana622, 9/23/09
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    Mass Produced

    Save yourself the money. This is a mass produced, fast food quality restaurant at higher end prices. Very disappointed. I would never go back. I had the "surf and turf" special - shrimp was terrible, carrots were not even good enough to call ordinary, beef was good. Overall, a waste of time and money.

    by p3389p3389, 5/10/09
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    Love those hocakes!

    I gave her a 5 on the atmosphere because I have never waited across a busy street before to be called to dinner by a cowboy triangle! Just really differant! And the hocakes are great.

    by cd, 3/20/09
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    I can stop looking for the best steak

    I have my menu choices picked out before I sat down. Then the waiter offered up the specials. I jumped at their version of surf & turf, a 6 oz fillet and shrimp.
    A lettuce wedge with blue cheese dressing started things out. A really hearty flavor. Really Tasty. The shrimp were a bit ordinary, but it had a lot of competition from the fillet. I cut most of the fillet up with my fork. It just disappeared in my mouth, with an unbelievable savory flavor. Undoubtedly the best steak I will ever find. The steamed vegetable medley was fresh and cooked just beyond crisp. Perfect. There was rice as well. Again I don't know if anything they did with the rice would have competed with the steak. I had an apple cobbler for dessert, that was a treat.
    I was amazed at all the diners jumping on the buffet. Although I've had their fried chicken before at Bubba's and it's pretty darn good.

    by 53emp, 2/24/09
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    Explore more

    I've lived in Savannah for about 3 years now and every time I pass Lady and Sons I feel terrible for the people waiting outside for a buffet style food. It's hot and usually has people who shouldn't be waiting in 90+ weather waiting for hours just to be seated. There are so many more restaurants you can easily sit down and enjoy in this town and the food is going to be more dynamic and truly southern the further you get away from River street (even though there are a few gems on River st).

    Just remember, just because it's on TV doesn't make it amazing. Try talking to a local, they'll know where you'll have a good time.

    by Manxer, 6/28/08
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    Perfect

    I took my mother and teenage son on a road trip from Texas and we ate there. We signed up for a time, then went sight seeing and got back just in time for our reservation. The food was so incredible. My son was smiling so much. I told him that I wished he smiled like that for my cooking. He said, "I wish you cooked like this!" I couldn't be angry - he was right.

    by shevy, 6/17/08
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    Just Hit the Spot!

    While vacationing with my family including my daughter and two grandchildren in Hilton Head, we decided to take the children to The Lady and the Sons Restaurant in Savannah. The children love hearing Paula talk about "Lady Bird" and wanted to see if we could find any of the folks made famous by Paula's food on location at the restaurant. Lo and behold, Jamie and Bobby were both there and you could not find two more down to earth, natural, warm, loving sons anywhere. They tolerated our questions about Lady Bird and the pictures with us and the children. After we were done eating Jamie inquired about our granddaughters's swimmers ear and asked if we were able to get medicine. What a fine job Paula has done with her sons and no wonder she is so proud of them, she should be!
    Now for the food. I understand they serve over 2,000 meals a day and given that, I could not believe how good the food was. Our grandson had never had a hocake and after tasting those gems smothered in syrup, we had to buy some of the mix so they could be made at home. The fried chicken was hot and wonderful, the creamed corn was unlike any I have ever had, the mashed potatoes and gravy were extremely tasty unlike what you typically get on a buffet and the salad bar was excellent. The grandkids thought the mac n cheese was to die for and we thought it was good also. The staff was as friendly as anyone you would ever want to meet. The price for a buffet was really reasonable in light of the fact you also get a dessert. And yes, there is a line for reservations for food but with so many visitors, it seemed to move really quickly. I would imagine in the heat of July and August, tempers could flare so you have to just make up your mind to be patient, visit a while land browse. It is not something you want to do if you were on a tight schedule. We really admire Paula and her Sons for making a bad family situation into the business they have today. They didn't get there by being stupid and it took a lot of work and I admire the stride and efforts that have made them what they are today. No one gave them anything and they have worked for what they have and good for them. So overall, our experience was very positive. We had great food, entertainment with Paula's sons who did not mind signing autographs and picture taking, some sightseeing and I forgot to mention a parking ticket which we took in stride as just part of another day. Paula has definitely put Savannah on the Map with her restaurant, store, visitors and tourists spending money. It was a lot of fun and the kids thought it was great! They just wished they could have visited with "Lady Bird" and of course, Paula.

    by kymawmaw, 6/11/08
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    A Southern Treat!

    Arrive at the restaurant at 9;30 to make your reservation. The line might look long but it goes quickly. We were in line less than 5 mintues. Get your meal time and then head off to enjoy the Savannah historic district or City Market which is in walking distance. We were told to come back at 11:45. We had a 12:00 reservation. BE SURE TO CHECK IN WHEN YOU COME BACK. They send you into the store or waiting area to wait. It gives you time to look around the store or sit in the waiting area with a flat screen TV with the cooking channel on. We were sent to the third floor dining room. I understand they have a banquet room on one floor, dining room and store on one, kitchen on another and bar and dining room on the top floor. (They do have an elevator)

    As soon as we came off the elevator we were greeted and seated immediately. Beverages were served and the best cheese biscuits and ho cakes you have ever had. Warm, right out of the oven. I had the buffet which was limited in selection but more than enough food. I suggest you for go the salad bar. You won't have room. There were four kinds of chicken to choose from, mash potatos, mac and cheese, rice, lima beans, green beans, creamed corn, collard greens and on and on. Let me stop here and say you may have seen these same items on other buffets but I assure you the cook at Lady and Sons knows her seasonings and each and everything I had made me say, wow, this is so good including the lima beans!! With the buffet you also get a choice of three desserts. Be sure to save room. I had the bananna pudding, yummy! My friend ordered the chicken pot pie. Everyone around us was asking what it was when it was served. It had the fluffiest puff pastry on top, looked amazing and tasted the same. My friend said it was the best she had ever had. She choice the pecan pie for dessert. I snuck a taste and it was delicious. During our whole meal the servers were attentive, answered our questions and were willing to take pictures when asked. I was amazed to learn that they serve 2200 meals a day. We stopped back in the store on our way out and bought a few things. All the cookbooks in the store have been signed which was nice. Don't be scared off by the crowds you hear about or see. If you go at 9:30 and make your reservation and follow the directions it is very, very simple and well worth it. Do not just show up and expect to get in. It just will not happen. This is southern hospitality at it's best!

    by caroldsimm, 5/15/08
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    Excellent

    Made a special trip from Florida to Savannah on Thursday 5/8/08 just to eat at The Lady and Sons. The food was oh so good. It was better than expected - None of our party was disappointed. The staff was friendly and funny. We had a great time. Now if I could just get the recipe for those baked sweet potatoes.

    by Beautifulmess, 5/10/08
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    The Worst

    If you want fake southern food prepared and served by people with fake southern accents (like the owners) this is the place. The food is bad the service is awful and the prices are high. Three out of three for a rating of zero. Eund don't walk away.

    by littlefrankie, 2/22/08
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    It Was Great!!!!!

    When we sat down (immediately at 11:30 for lunch), I felt like I was in my Granny's kitchen in NC. The fried chicken and grits tasted the same as Granny's, which brought back wonderful memories of 45 years ago. Anything I had on the buffet was good, except for the mac & cheese, skip that. There must be a hit and miss situation going on for other people to have such a horrible experience, and I hope that can change. I expected "down home" and that's exactly what I got, plain surroundings, but great food, and our third floor view from the window was a plus too.

    by thelilylegs, 12/13/07
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    Such a Sad Change

    We travel to Savannah 2 -3 times a year and have gone to the Lady and Sons for years. It seems to have become a shop window for the owners Fame. To refuse to take reservations, they cause huge lines in the street most of the day. This family has become great at marketing, but the classy, yet 'homey' ambiance that defined the restaurant originally are long gone. The food is wonderful, but the locals will tell you, "Don't bother". It has become a huge disappointment.

    by lucy_1206, 6/29/07
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    nice evening in Savannah

    We had heard about The Lady & Sons and thought to stop by. We had seen the line the day previously, but we were lucky. We were seated immediately by the window for a great view. The waitress was quick and friendly. A variety of dinners: steak, pot pie, chicken, and fish were ordered. I didn't hear any complaints from anyone. One of our party even bought a cook book.
    I would recommend The Lady and Sons to anyone...and save room for dessert.

    by neudawn, 6/25/07
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    Easy for a single

    Even though there is always a crowd, I was able to get a seat at the 3rd floor bar immediately on two separate occassions. First I tried the famous buffet, and the food was excellent. I'm not a big fried chicken fan, but I liked theirs. The sweet potatoes, the greens,the butter beans...it was all good. And the cornbread (ho') cakes were wickedly good. On my second visit I tried the blackened tilapia sandwich for lunch and, once again, I was impressed with the quality of the food. Though the sandwich was a big mess, it was delicious. Sure, the atmosphere could be better, and the hiding host on the sidewalk is weird, but I thought it was very good. I just wish they'd find a better way to run that little shop inside there...standing in line and waiting for one poor lady to collect your selections is really sloooooow. But I loved the food! All I hoped for! And I been hoping to have some good Paula Deen food for a while! Big T says Check'er out!

    by turley, 3/22/07
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    Best meal your Grandma ever made

    Look, those of you looking for roasted duck, or a filet are not at the right place. Go over to The Old Pink House. However, those of us that grew up on good ole southern cooking can appreciate the simple goodness of Paula's. It is the type of meal that you can remember your Grandma cooking on a Sunday afternoon. All your traditional favorites, cooked right.... buttered and greased. I have been twice to The Lady and Sons and both times I have been impressed. The only negative I can say is that we sat in the back by the bar at a booth and the padding on the booth has seen many better days. Other than that the food was great. My Ecuadorian (not raised on southern food) husband came the second time with me to visit the restaurant. He absolutely loved the baked chicken and pot roast. I think the people leaving negative reviews either just had a bad day, or don't appreciate the simple goodness of southern food. It does not have to be fancy to be delicious. Paula... we'll be back many times. You and the boys keep up the good work, and know that you are LOVED. BTW- Unlce Bubba's ain't too shabby either. My husband loved the simple goodness of the frying batter.

    by mindy21, 2/26/07
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    Southern Hospitality?

    When you arrive at a restaurant and there are no customers waiting in line, is it good business to send the customer back outside to get a number?
    This is not Southern Hospitality. It set a tone for our meal that great food would have had a hard time overcoming.
    Needless to say, the food did not impress us either. We had a chicken pot pie that tasted more like a cream of butter and salt soup, with very little chicken, and the chicken that was there had pieces of gristle in it.
    The atmosphere reminded us of TGIF, with an ivy theme to seem more homey.
    For a woman who just screams hospitality and warmth on TV, her restaurant made us feel like she only wanted our money.
    Save your time and your money and just go to a Golden Corral.

    by frenchtowner, 2/23/07
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    A Fun Experience!

    I received my weekend trip to Savannah to go to Lady and Sons from my husband for Christmas. A day or so before flying down, I read several of the reviews and was a wary about going and hoping I wouldn't be disappointed. My husband DID have to wait..........quite a while actually. But the dinner bell being rung, the waiting in line and the whole atmosphere was part of the whole experience. Although several people were disappointed in the food, I thought the food was EXACTLY as advertised. It is Great Low Country Food! This is not a gourmet restaurant. But this food is terrific. Even on her TV show, Paula Deen NEVER sells her food as anything but good country cooking. Once seated for dinner, the staff was very welcoming and attentive. Overall, I would do it again, and again.

    by dsaintknight, 2/22/07
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    AWESOME!!!!

    I have never had such good fried chicken in my life. I was a little disappointed in the atmosphere. I was really amazed at the elevator action. I was very excited by the peach cobbler. I think it would have been better warm and a la mode. Our server was great. I ask her about Paula Deen and she was on a fundraising trip. Good for her. I think this woman has made a great name for herself and would recommend the buffet. It was simply one of the best dining experiences in a very long time. I just watched her Christmas Show on the food network last night and was very happy to see her giving back to the local charities. I wish her and her family all the best and a Happy New Year.

    by maitiathom, 12/10/06
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    Quality Has Declined; Price Has Increased

    I have occassionally frequented the Lady & Sons since the 1990's back when the restaurant was located in a smaller building than it is presently.
    Over the past eight years or so, the quality of the buffet, especially the fried chicken, has dropped off dramatically. It used to be that *all* the food there was excellent, and offered at reasonable prices. Now, the buffet is $16.95, and the buffet is very limited in its selections.
    Give the owner her due, Paula is a marketing genius in building up her reputation. However, as so often happens when locals go from hardworking providers of value - to celebrity, quality declines, and prices go up.
    I was there a few weeks back, and was very dissapointed in her fried chicken. As has happened on more than a few occassions, the chicken wasn't even heated up properly, leaving it to tasted like mediocre left-overs.
    I used to love Lady & Sons, however, now I feel like her recipes fair better when customers purchase her cookbooks and cook at home.

    by Love_Savannah, 11/29/06

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