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 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.
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:
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.
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.
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
Dillard House Restaurant
768 Franklin Street
Dillard GA, 30537
Open 7 days a week and all holidays.