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Dillard House Restaurant

I took a short road trip a few weekends ago when the weather was just beautiful to the southern tip of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The purpose: Dillard House. To eat. The city of Dillard is in Rabun County which is less than two hours northeast of Atlanta. Two miles more north and you will find yourself on the state line of North Carolina. The scenic drive is breathtaking and the views of the smoky mountains in the beginning of fall, more so.

Dillard House Restaurant

Dillard House Restaurant

Dillard House Restaurant

Dillard House is deeply rooted in history. It was built in 1917 by Carrie and Arthur Dillard. Modern day Dillards have built on to the restaurant and developed the grounds to accommodate a hotel, cottages, chalet, stables, petting zoo, and business center, plus provide numerous on site activities. But what really attracts people to come in droves is their restaurant.

Dillard House Restaurant

Family owned and operated since 1917, the Dillard House Restaurant serves family-style, all-you-can-eat dining all year round. There are two dining rooms. The main house which is huge and the Dillard Hall. The hall is a small house fitted to accommodate a few dining tables for patrons who come in between meals — say, 30 minutes or less before the next meal is served, or during the one-hour lull between breakfast and lunch. Rather than let people wait for the next service, they are ushered to the adjacent hall where they can already enjoy the next meal to be served. Brilliant, if you ask me. The menu changes but on our visit looked like this:

Dillard House Restaurant

I cannot remember all the meal prices but lunch (which we ate) was $21.95 per person. Each meal includes four to five meats and about a dozen sides. All the meat and veggies are grown in local and surrounding area farms. Every single menu item is made fresh, in-house, using only the freshest ingredients.

Dillard House Restaurant

What they do is bring all the food to the table and they replenish each item as needed or requested. Overall, the food was okay. There were some favorites and not so favorites. The barbecue chicken was very good; tender, moist, flavorful. The fried chicken was good but not fantastic. The country style steak was tasty and much better than the fried chicken. For the sides, I really loved the stewed harvard beets that still had a lot of crunch in them, the cream corn was creamy and had lots of whole kernels, the waldorf salad was refreshingly light, the acorn squash souffle was sweetish and not very mushy, and the yeast rolls were divine. There were also housemade jams and jellies and the blackberry one is superb (had to take home bottles of it). Dessert is a strawberry cobbler that even the non-dessert eater like me, loved it.

Overall, the food is good, although, not in the so-good-let-me-drive-two-hours kind of way. Still, you must experience this place at least once. The grounds are beautiful and peaceful. A nice respite from the hustle and bustle of Atlanta.

Insider tip:
Both the homemade lemonade and sweet tea are fantastic.
The country store right outside the restaurant sells homemade jams, jellies, and the country ham they serve.
Reservations taken for parties of 15 or more.
1-800-541-0671 or 706-746-5348

The scoop:
Dillard House Restaurant
768 Franklin Street
Dillard GA, 30537
Open 7 days a week and all holidays.
Breakfast: 7:00-10:30
Lunch: 11:30-5:00
Dinner: 5:00-8:00

Dillard House Restauranta on Urbanspoon

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bella // Jan 10, 2011 at 3:01 am

    I gotta tell you how terribly dissapointed I was to eat this New Year’s day at this resturant which has been a tradition for many years. The food was slop. I invisioned ours being raked from previous diners into our meager bowls. Food was cold and ridiculously bad. All dark meat chicken and you have to beg for a breast. All foreign people working in the resturant and thruout the whole area…riding around in golfcars…how about employing AMERICANS and cooking the old good food that we once enjoyed. I counted 50 foreigners. What’s up with that? I will NEVER go back. About a mile north up the road headed to Highlands, a new diner is packed. The Dillard House was 10 percent full. NO WONDER! I’m done. I lost my appetite and wondered who in the world owns this place now? Probably a foreigner? This would be a disaster for a tradition of SOUTHERN AMERICAN FOOD! Gads!

  • 2 Janet Bresler // Aug 7, 2011 at 11:41 am

    I so disagree with you. After all the cardboard flat and tasteless food most restarants that the average guy can afford. Dillard House is so fun, so diverse and so tastie!!!!!! We spent Memorial Day weekend there for the Picnic on the Grounds and we are going back Labor Day. The eating is the second best part of Dillard House. Of course beautiful Georgia mountains are the first. We drive over 3 hrs from Charlotte, NC, to get to Dillard. Perhaps one must eat more with the common folk to enjoy the simple taste of country food.

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