Weekend Plans? Keep Georgia’s On Your Mind!
A soulful, mouth-watering brunch experience awaits you at Georgia’s Restaurant! Yes, that Georgia’s, the one at Anaheim Packing House, whose delicious down-home Southern comfort food was recently featured in “Food Hall of Fame” on the Travel Channel.
This casual family-dining establishment, located on the second level of the eclectic Anaheim Packing House, was one of the first restaurants to go in the funky industrial concept food hall in 2014. Now, four years later, people are still lining up for the comforting, appetizing fare. Also comforting is the “face” of Georgia’s Restaurant — the warm and immensely huggable, Gretchen Shoemaker, mother of Nika, who co-owns the restaurant with her husband, Marlon. Currently, the trio is taking some of the restaurant’s tastiest recipes, and offering a yummy Southern-style brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m., featuring many items inspired by Gretchen’s own mother and grandmother.
Let’s embark on a culinary journey and sample some of the restaurant’s new offerings, as well as some of the old favorites that translate well to the brunch experience.
You can’t think brunch and not think Mimosas. Georgia’s offers a bright and bubbly take on the classic, with a delightful balance of champagne and fresh-squeezed orange juice, garnished with a tasty orange wedge. Mimosas aren’t your thing? Not to worry, because Georgia’s also serves up delicious Bloody Mary’s, as well as fresh juice and coffee.
Be sure and try Georgia’s tasty cornbread muffins, too, brought to the table with softened honey butter. These delicious muffins are a delicate balance of sweet and savory, with a beautiful texture, which Nika attributes to a 3-ingredient blend of cornmeal, flour and cornstarch. She also divulged another house secret; always fold the batter, never stir.
A beginning like this can only be followed by more Southern wonderfulness, and its name is Fried Green Tomatoes! Dredged in cornmeal, flavored with Creole seasonings and fried to perfection, these delicacies emerge from the pan with a crusty, robust exterior, followed by a warm, melt-in-your-mouth interior. If you notice a definite Creole influence at Georgia’s, you’re right, as it comes from Marlon’s Creole heritage.
Another must at Georgia’s brunch is their Cheesy Shrimp and Grits. The shrimp is flavorful and bold, with a zesty infusion of Creole spices. Grits, which notoriously can be flavorless and bland, are cooked to textural and taste perfection with the addition of creamy cheese and a delicious mélange of red and green peppers to bump up the flavor.
Of course, what would any Southern comfort food brunch be without Chicken and Waffles? But this is not just any chicken. This is Georgia’s scrumptious and highly touted fried chicken on top of those enticing waffles. If Nika was revealing a few choice recipe secrets before, she laughingly clams up on this one, saying that, “some things have to be kept secret,” and the spices they use on their chicken is one of them! With a little prodding, however, she does reveal why Georgia’s chicken is so tender and flavorful — it’s brined for a full day, and then broiled the next. She lovingly attributes that recipe tip to her husband, Marlon, who used the same technique on the fried chicken he prepared in his restaurant in Brazil.
So what about sides? The perfect accompaniment to any Georgia’s meal is an order of their marvelous Blackened Potatoes. Even if you’re full, these flavor-packed morsels will help you find room, and do a little welcomed dance in your mouth, to boot!
Speaking of room … no brunch is complete without dessert, and Georgia’s offers up two delightful ones. How does Grilled French Toast sound? Georgia’s makes theirs thick and eggy, yet light and delicious with deep grill lines, infusing a smoky, rustic flavor. If waffles are your brunch dessert of choice, opt for Georgia’s delightful Cinnamon-Apple Waffles, topped with the tasty goodness of sweet, gooey, warm baked apples interspersed with the lovely taste of aromatic cinnamon.
All in all, the ambiance of Georgia’s Restaurant is one of love, heart, and, of course, soul. It connects with a beautiful story. The restaurant’s name, Georgia’s, came about from a combination of Gretchen’s beloved late husband, George’s name, who passed away in 1991, and was her biggest encourager in following her passion for food and cooking. The last part of the restaurant’s name is a nod to her three daughters.
So when daughter Nika and husband, Marlon, entertained the idea of starting their own restaurant in Orange County in 2014, they knew without a doubt, that Gretchen, who always wanted to own her own establishment, would be an integral part of it. Today, the venue flourishes due to this labor of love, as well as Gretchen’s warm and enduring presence. The best part of it is that the public gets to benefit from this love fest, which is evident not only in the quality of the food but in the overall ambiance which pervades Georgia’s, making it a much-sought-after destination for some of the best darn Southern comfort soul food around.
Georgia’s Restaurant | 440 S. Anaheim Blvd. #209A | Anaheim, CA 92805 | georgias-restaurant.com