Gnat’s Landing of Statesboro: A Hometown Front-Runner

wpid-20121117_135626.jpgGnat’s Landing Bar & Grill
Statesboro, Georgia

When a single place comes to mind for lunch, going out on a Friday night and entertaining company, it’s a winner. That’s Gnat’s Landing of Statesboro. The versatile bar & grill is family friendly and college town worthy. It’s a natural choice for lunch before a Saturday afternoon football game in the Eagle Nation, or place to catch a good band and go out dancing on a Friday night. It’s that hometown joint you can hardly visit without running into someone you know. Christmas lights year ’round. Live music every weekend. Beer can and chicken wire decorum. What’s not to love? The local favorite boasts a wide selection of American food with a Southern, coastal vibe in a casual and bright atmosphere.

THE FOOD:

Gnat’s is my all-time favorite spot for lunch in the ‘Boro. My friends and I call it “Ol’ faithful.” Nowhere else in town offers lunch for $7.47. Spending $15 going out to lunch can get expensive, and unfortunately, that’s easy to do in a lot of places when you consider tax and tip. I have two lunchtime standbys at Gnat’s and they never fail me: 1) Shrimp & Grits and 2) the Crab Cake Sandwich with Sweet Potato Fries. The food is always on point. The Shrimp & Grits is served with andouille sausage and bacon surrounded by toasted bread. Seasoned just right, it’s warm, comforting and takes me to the coast. Served with cocktail sauce, the Crab Cake Sandwich features a large crab cake that’s seared to perfection and served on toasted bread with tomato and lettuce. On occasion, I branch out and try something new like the BBQ Sandwich or the Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad pictured above. The menu also offers wraps, a great grilled chicken sandwich and unexpected side options like grits. I enjoy the cook’s attention to detail and presentation…they always sprinkle the rim of each dish with Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs.

THE ATMOSPHERE:

Open more than seven years, Gnat’s Landing of Statesboro is one of only two locations in Georgia. I’ve also visited the St. Simons Island restaurant in Red Fern Village. Though the weather is rarely cold enough to use it, Gnat’s dining room in Statesboro even has a fireplace which creates a wonderful ambiance in the winter. Located on South Main Street in the heart of town, the restaurant also offers ample parking. Depending on when you go, the environment at Gnat’s is bustling. Visit for Trivia on Tuesday nights, Karaoke on Wednesdays and Happy Hour all day on Sunday and Monday. No matter the time of day, they’ll always have affordable drinks, daily lunch specials and a football game on the big screen.

THE GOOD TIMES:

With a name like Gnat’s Landing, this Statesboro front-runner is right at home in the “Gnat Capitol of America.”

Gnats Landing on Urbanspoon

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Paula Deen is Not a Racist Y’all

Me and Paula hanging out in her gift shop in historic Savannah, Georgia.
Me and Paula hanging out in her gift shop in historic Savannah, Georgia.

I’ve never met Paula Deen, but this I know: She is not a racist. I write this post on the heels of yesterday’s breaking news–that Food Network will not be renewing her contract.

Paula Deen’s Hashbrown Casserole

Like many of her fans, I too am from the South, her native state of Georgia. We share a love for Southern comfort food, seafood and the coast. For years, I’ve cooked from her cookbooks, eaten at Savannah’s The Lady and Sons, visited her gift shop and looked forward to Saturday mornings when I could sit down and learn from her as I watched Food Network. I’ve spent many an hour in the kitchen following her recipes and laughing with my Grandma over how long it took me to bake her lemon cake, and how easy they made it look on TV. I can’t count the number of times I’ve eaten a delicious cake or herb-roasted pork tenderloin with the family, and upon that first bite of pleasure uttered the words, “It’s a Paula Deen recipe,” as everyone tasted in agreement. I’ve read her book It Ain’t All About the Cooking and have found myself in her as I admired her rags-to-riches story. I’ve tasted some of the best food I’ve ever put in my mouth from Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible. Paula Deen is a nationwide household name. As fans, we feel a connection to her, relate to her and associate good memories with her food and her name.

Just this week before the news was revealed, I made known my ambitions to cook with Paula on her Best Dishes Food Network show. She has been a huge inspiration for me in the kitchen and without her, I wouldn’t be the cook I am today. Paula paved the way for many Southern TV food personalities that have come and are coming after her. For that, I’m thankful.

I believe Paula Deen is a kind-hearted, generous and caring woman. Her fans–black and white–are loyal. Those that know and love Paula admire her courage. I believe her apologies were sincere. When reading the fan’s reactions to the news on Food Network’s Facebook wall just yesterday, one comment said it all: “Leave my Paula alone. Yes, I am African-American.”

Paula, Michael, Jamie and Bobby…if any of you read this, know that this morning we sit around our breakfast tables saddened. We’re wondering how this will affect Jamie and Bobby’s Food Network shows, how we’ll ever be able to watch the network again without hearing Paula’s laugh and seeing her familiar, friendly face. No matter what lies ahead, we love you all and will always be fans. Know that our thoughts and prayers go out to your family.

Paula Deen is not a racist, and that’s just the truth y’all.