Food & Drink
Readers Recall the Best Grits They’ve Ever Had
Whether eaten at home or away, the good bowls are always remembered
In a recent Talk of the South newsletter, we asked readers, “What’s the best bowl of grits you’ve ever eaten?” Here are a few of the many responses:
The last one. —Jim B.
My wife’s triple-cheese grits made with Anson Mills Coarse Pencil Cob Grits. And I’ve had a lotta grits in 71 years. —Dale S.
Had to be the wonderful bowl of garlic cheese grits fed to me by my then-boyfriend’s Mississippi-raised mom. It was my first bowl of grits, and no grits since have equaled hers. Unfortunately, I never did get her recipe. —Amy F.
Chef Cole Ellis of Delta Meat Market in Cleveland, Mississippi, serves the best grits I have ever had. Pair that with his own cured bacon and you’ll be in heaven. —Katrena E.
Best bowl was sitting at my grandmother’s table when she introduced me to red-eye gravy. I was amazed, as a 6-year-old would be, that someone actually thought it a good idea to pour strong hot black coffee into salt pork drippings. Best thing ever. —Jodie R.
At a small restaurant in Southern Pines, North Carolina, called Sizzlin’ Steak or Eggs. It is the owner’s mother’s recipe, and they are the best grits I have ever eaten since my first bowlful at the Texas A&M football training table in August 1970. —Tom S.
At Waffle House in 1979, a few days after Hurricane Frederic. Everyone’s power was out, and we were hot and tired and devastated by a horrific hurricane. There was something very comforting in that Waffle House bowl of hot, buttery, salty grits. I’ll never forget it. —Donna B.
From Emeril’s in NOLA. The smoked tomato grits from the Grilled Cheeserie in Nashville are a very close second. —Andrea B.
Years ago I had some amazing leek grits at Buckhead Diner in Atlanta. —Kirk S.
Cafe Thirty-A in none other than Seagrove, Florida. They are creamy and delicious without losing the true “grit” texture. —Jennifer R.
Arkansas Children’s Hospital cheesy grits with Cajun shrimp and sausage. Crazy, I know. —Jan C.
My grandmother was the greatest cook. Showed me how to mix grits, butter, eggs, and sausage in a bowl and how to finish by swirling your knuckle around the bottom to get it all. Still to this day I eat them like that, and to my wife’s dismay, I show my grandchildren. —Jim U.
At risk of sounding conceited, the grits I make. I was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta and grits were the first thing I learned to make. I became famous in college for making grits for my friends. They were known as the ultimate hangover cure. My basic grits are made with chicken broth, grated cheese, garlic, salt, pepper and lots of butter. —Vivian H.
My mama’s pepper jack cheese grits. —Crystal S.
Hands down, Highlands Bar & Grill in Birmingham. Distant second would be Elizabeth’s On 37th in Savannah. —Jim C.
By far, it’s Coffee Cup Restaurant in Pensacola, Florida. —Amelie Y.
The restaurant Counting House, at the 21c Museum Hotel in Durham, North Carolina. Creamy smooth and no cheese, but you’d swear cheese is an ingredient. Cooked slow and all day, as good grits should be. —Ann O.
The bowl my mama fixed for me the morning after I returned from a year-and-a-half tour of duty as a U.S. Army Captain in Vietnam. —Tom W.
My best friend’s wedding was in California and, being from the South, she served shrimp and grits. It was so rewarding watching those Californians come to love grits as we do. —Harriett F.
The first ones my husband ever made for me with a lot of butter, salt, and pepper. Before then, I wouldn’t eat them because growing up my mom would make them in the morning (plain!) and leave the pot for me to clean when I got home from school. Guess that built humility and character. —Winifred W.
A piping hot bowl of my Mammaw’s simple grits with lots of butter and salt and a fried egg. I make them the same way today for my family with fond memories of breakfast at Mammaw’s table. —Allison F.
The best I have ever had—and I have had a lot in 66 years—was last February when I got the privilege to visit Lavington Farms with owner Jimmy Hagood and he fixed his Charleston Favorite Stone Ground Grits for breakfast. What a treat. And I even learned his secret: club soda! —Cathy M.
Country ham topped with a fried grits cake smothered in shrimp and gravy at Sullivan’s Restaurant on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina.—Peggy S.
On my honeymoon at Hominy Grill in Charleston. My husband and I were so sad when we heard the restaurant was closing that we promptly ordered many pounds of grits straight from the restaurant to make on our own for years to come.—Kira G.
From Old Mill of Guilford in Oak Ridge, North Carolina, cooked in our own kitchen with lots of butter, salt and pepper, and red-eye gravy. —Loretta M.
The Flying Biscuit Cafe in Kennesaw, Georgia. I need to know what brand they use! —Susan V.
This is a tough one … #1 Does Frank Stitt’s baked grits at Highlands Bar & Grill count? If so #1. If not, #2 is John Currence’s City Grocery’s shrimp and grits. #3 is Magnolia’s in Charleston, South Carolina—the shrimp and grits were awesome.—Dex M.
Blue Heaven in Key West. —Jerry W.
At Triangle Waffle in Dunn, North Carolina. Have always wanted to go back and have them again. —Kay R.
There are two: The first was the first bowl of grits my grandma cooked and introduced me to their creamy goodness as a young boy. They were old-fashioned slow cooking grits seasoned with salt, butter, and her love in constant stirring. The second was in New Orleans in 1996 at the Mississippi waterfront. There was a small eatery that served grits and crabs. I thought I was having dessert. —Steve V.
My great grandmother ground her grits, and although that was a long, long, long time ago, I remember them as being so wonderful served with butter she churned. I was a chubby kid and teenager, and that was probably the reason. Now I am a fit grandmother at age 65 but what a wonderful memory. I want me some good grits! —Denise S.
The best, hands down, was at Big Ed’s, at the Raleigh, North Carolina, Farmer’s Market. I ordered the big boy breakfast and I ate the entire plate and finished the grits off first. They were delish. Now, I stop each time we go through to the beach/Wilmington. —J Collins.
North Dakota, winter, 1970, 20 below zero, on the walk to work in the dark to process incoming airmen in the Pride Building, it was a stop over at the chow haul with SOS, scrambled eggs, and grits smothered in butter. Now that was some classic grits! —Russ B.
I love grits and have everything from instant to gourmet grits from purple corn. The best bowl had to be the shrimp and grits I had in Apalachicola, Florida. I can’t remember the restaurant’s name, but I judge every bowl of shrimp and grits against that one. So far, nothing has come close. —Dustin R.
You must try the grits at The Hound restaurant in Auburn, Alabama. They’re the best grits I’ve ever had. —Diane C.
Hands down, it has to be at the Oak Grove Fish House in Lexington, South Carolina. Creamy and rich, simply seasoned, beautifully textured stone ground grits, it’s a perfect balance of flavors. —Dan H.
At Miz Kathi’s Cotillion Southern Cafe in Wildwood, Florida. Their shrimp and grits are indescribable. —Frank H.
Shrimp and grits at Locals in Fairhope, Alabama. Large shrimp on a block of grits swimming in a divine seafood bisque. —Kathy B.
The bowl I made from the recipe recently published by Garden & Gun from Chef Kevin Johnson of the Grocery in Charleston. Cheesy Grits Casserole. Totally over-the-moon grits. —Susan G.
Nashville’s beloved Tin Angel served terrific parmesan cheese grits with jalapeño peppers. Yes, the same Tin Angel where Steve Earle first met Guy Clark. —Joy R.
Since my daughter and I both live in California, we have to order our grits from Bradley’s Country Store, located just across the Georgia/Florida line, north of Tallahassee. —Cecilia M.
>> Get expert tips on finding and making great grits in G&G’s Ultimate Guide to Grits
>> Get G&G’s Talk of the South newsletter in your in-box each week. Sign up here.
Tools for a Backyard Seafood Feast
From crab-boil pots to corncob holders, here’s everything you need to set out a memorable spread
Arts & Culture
Behind the Stories of our April/May 2020 Issue
G&G editors share some of what went into producing the “Saving the South” issue
Food & Drink
G&G Editors’ Family Jell-O Salad Recipes
One great way to help preserve Southern culture is to start at home—by reviving traditional family-favorite recipes. These are three of ours
30 Southern Heroes
From conservationists to cultural champions to preservationists to storytellers, these groundbreakers are making the South a better place
Food & Drink
The Ultimate Guide to Grits
Kernels of wisdom about one of the South’s fundamental foods
Food & Drink
Forgotten Southern Recipes
From pear salad and tomato pudding to vinegar pie and bacon crackers, we’re more than ready for these old-school classics to make a comeback