Tharon Giddens' quest for fast, cheap and tasty

Ruth's upholds diner tradition

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Ruth's serves up classic diner menu fare.  Tharonn Giddens/Staff
Tharonn Giddens/Staff
Ruth's serves up classic diner menu fare.

I spent my summers as a teenager working for my father and his business partner in Thomasville, Ga., picking up and delivering washers and dryers, refrigerators and, worst of all, those 1970s entertainment centers - wall-size cabinets filled with a color television, turntable, radio and eight-track player.
There were more vacuum tubes than circuit boards in these devices, and they weighed the equivalent of a compact car.
This was all done well south of the gnat line, so you'd have to give an upward whiff of air to keep the critters off your nose and out of your eyes while your hands were otherwise occupied.
And it was hot. Sweltering heat in air so thick that sweat had nowhere to go. You dripped, but never dried.
Lunchtime was an air-conditioned treat, usually a stop at Herman's Hilltop Restaurant. It wasn't fancy, just diner fare of stuffed peppers or meatloaf, served with a choice of canned vegetables personalized by Herman with salt, butter and pepper and an iced tea with a corn muffin on the side.
All the working guys from the Goodyear store and the Georgia Freight delivery would meet there and solve the problems of the world in 45 minutes or less.
I loved it.
I wasn't cut out for real work, so I got into writing, but I still love those old-fashioned diners.
Ruth's Family Restaurant in Martinez is such a place, a back-in-time cafe that feeds you well with simple fare served fast and cheap for lunch.
Lunch Buddy Donna and I met there on a recent Friday. The menu is timeless comfort food offered as the standard meat and two vegetables with a drink and a roll.
I had a grilled chicken breast, pole beans, corn and a biscuit; Donna tried lemon pepper chicken breast, rutabagas and collard greens.
It's not fancy, but it's filling and good. We left room for dessert: blackberry cobbler and a slice of pecan cake.
Again, sturdy, decent and perfectly acceptable. The bill, with a 20 percent tip, was $22.11.
The stools and counters and plastic booths give Ruth's a 1970s feel, and that throwback effect is enhanced by the vintage prints on the walls.
Service is efficient and adequate.

THE LUNCH LINE
What: Ruth's Family Restaurant
where: 3843 Washington Road
The food: 3
Service: 3
Value: 3.5
Health Department rating: 98 (inspected Dec. 22)
hours: 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday; 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday
Call: (706) 863-5616

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Comments (15) Add comment
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sliique
0
Points
sliique 03/04/10 - 09:38 am
0
0
I went there on a weekday,

I went there on a weekday, ONE time. Their moronic short order cook messed my breakfast up, totally, ain't been back.

Let the flames begin, I KNOW alot of the people that think this is their personal blog hang at Ruth's.

Fiat_Lux
16205
Points
Fiat_Lux 03/04/10 - 11:13 am
0
0
Right with you, Sliique. I

Right with you, Sliique. I hit Ruth's for breakfast on the way home after a night of being on-call and was so hungry that almost anything was gonna taste great. After two bites, I couldn't handle anymore. I mean, how hard is it to scramble eggs and cook passable bacon? I could give them a pass on the grits because some people like them stiff and lumpy, but it just made me mad to pay for food I couldn't even eat.

I'd pick Waffle House over Ruth's any day, on just about any menu item, and I'm as southern as they come and a genuine lover of that kind of food. I grew up eating at Mrs. Wilkes' Boarding House in Savannah, and Ruth could use some lessons in the basics, IMO.

justthefacts
23849
Points
justthefacts 03/04/10 - 11:11 am
0
0
I miss "Dukes" when I'm back

I miss "Dukes" when I'm back in town. Ruth's is just OK, IMHO.

1CowboyFan
0
Points
1CowboyFan 03/04/10 - 05:17 pm
0
0
I went there a few months ago

I went there a few months ago for breakfast... the worst meal I have ever had, ordered ham and was served a slice of lunch meat. The orders was wrong and the eggs over cooked. I took my daughter and 3 grandsons, we were all disappointed. Save your money, go to Denny's, Waffle House, McDonald's, etc.

Little Lamb
47917
Points
Little Lamb 03/04/10 - 05:23 pm
0
0
If you must go to Ruth's for

If you must go to Ruth's for breakfast, do not order the biscuits! They will be heavy and tough instead of light and fluffy.

NEone
6
Points
NEone 03/05/10 - 09:12 am
0
0
Thanks for the explanation of

Thanks for the explanation of what you ordered. Looking at the photo, I couldn't tell what it was. I recognized the canned veggies, but that was all.

Tharon Giddens
0
Points
Tharon Giddens 03/05/10 - 09:26 am
0
0
Looks like y'all have a lot

Looks like y'all have a lot to say about breakfast. We used to go to Ruth's pretty regularly for breakfast after early church service, and have gone to Sunrise Grill, too. They seem about the same. Where's the best place for a big breakfast in Augusta?

Boogaloo
1
Points
Boogaloo 03/05/10 - 11:45 am
0
0
Answer: Your own home.

Answer: Your own home.

Fiat_Lux
16205
Points
Fiat_Lux 03/05/10 - 12:05 pm
0
0
Sadly, after you own home,

Sadly, after you own home, it's Waffle House or IHOP, unless you want to get into big bucks. Then you can do Partridge Inn or one of the other hotel buffets. Those are all wonderful, but, as I said, very pricey.

Riverman1
90290
Points
Riverman1 03/05/10 - 02:13 pm
0
0
Ruths is the Brandenburg Gate

Ruths is the Brandenburg Gate representing the entrance to conservative politics. It is a simple, locally owned restaurant. You won’t get perfect anything there, but the people working there are nice enough as are the customers. You will be surprised who you rub shoulders with in there.

I even went in the back once and showed the lady how to fix their grits. She is a Korean and it was hilarious, but she finally got it. Ruths is Ruths and will be there forever even if some don’t get it.

crackerjack
150
Points
crackerjack 03/05/10 - 04:22 pm
0
0
I went there for lunch a year

I went there for lunch a year ago. While waiting for my order I saw a roach, and told the lady that waited on me. It didn't seem to bother her so I decided to leave, and I told her to cancel my order. I haven't gone back.

restguy
383
Points
restguy 03/05/10 - 05:23 pm
0
0
basically a greasy spoon is a

basically a greasy spoon is a greasy spoon.... Boogaloo and Fiat_Lux are right: the best breakfast in Augusta is at your home... Now if i am in Coulumbia it will be the Original Pancake House or Lizard's Thicket...

Cadence
219
Points
Cadence 03/05/10 - 08:11 pm
0
0
I'm so glad it isn't just me.

I'm so glad it isn't just me. While reading the article I expected to see a lot of comments raving over the wonderfulness of Ruth's. I ate lunch there only once and it was so bad I never went back. "Simple fare" can still be good. In fact, I would call Wife Saver pretty simple and Waffle House really simple but either are better than what I had. I feel awful saying this about a local treasure, but it is my experience.

Little Lamb
47917
Points
Little Lamb 03/05/10 - 10:32 pm
0
0
I warn you again, — Don't

I warn you again, — Don't order the biscuits! ! !

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