Old South is Old South
We’ve been going to The Old South BBQ Restaurant in Smyrna since it opened in 1968, just after we were married. We ate at Old South when they were still in the learning curves and liked it. It became memorable to us on January 1st, 1969 when we called around looking for black-eyed peas, ham-hocks, and greens, the traditional Southern New Year’s feast. We ate at Old South that day and became regulars for several years until moving to East Cobb.
On the back of their menu they claim to be the oldest restaurant in Smyrna. They also say if you thought other-wise, you were probably thinking of the restaurant that was on Pat Mell Road before it moved to Concord Road. It states technically Pat Mell has a Marietta address, so the other restaurant didn’t become part of Smyrna until moving to Concord Road. Howard’s is the restaurant they were talking about. I remember it as good place to eat too – you couldn’t beat their corn-beef and pastrami sandwiches. We still go to Old South a couple times a year.
Through the early years I remember any time we were there it was not unusual for two or three kids in the neighborhood to come running in, stumbling over each other to get a coke and chase each other out. It is a family-owned restaurant for sure. You can tell that from the moment you walk in. The Llewallyn family founded Old South with the next generation running things now. Someplace on the menu a female Llewallyn is given credit for all the photos of customers all over the walls, another note gives a male Llewallyn credit for building the booths. The building is a modified old house on Windy Hill Rd with one bathrooms made into two. That’s not why you go to Old South. They have good food.
The menu also claims an interesting note that one of their employees lost over 100 pounds – can you guess which one? That must have been hard with all the good food.
When we took our seats, we were greeted by one of the Llewallyn daughters by saying she had to first give us a big hug. She is full of positive warmth. I read in The Wall Street Journal that a study was made finding if a waitress makes body contact with the person paying the bill, the tip goes up. If it is an opposite gender body contact, the tip goes up even more. Old South patrons are from all walks of life - businessmen, Smyrna Policemen, firemen, ambulance drivers, funeral home directors, military men from nearby Dobbins and retired folk like us. She knew a lot of the people that came in and occasionally asked, “Do you want the usual?” She knew the man sitting alone next to us, sharing the latest antics of her grandson and ending with, “I love him so much!”
We each ordered a salad with chopped BBQ pork using their sauce instead of dressing. Anna had the sweet and regular and I had sweet and spicy, both served warm from the pot. When she brought our bill I told her about having New Years black-eyed peas and greens in 1969. Her first comment was “bless Momma’s heart.” They didn’t have black-eye peas this past year, and she has been having a bad year. The Old South still lives at Old South BBQ in Smyrna. Bless their hearts!!