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Eating at Mrs. Wilkes Learning about Prohibition and other Historic Savannah Adventures

Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House is one of the most famous lunch establishments in Savannah. Mrs. Wilkes is no longer with us, but her grandson, bless his heart, wanted to see her famous communal eatery live on. Luckily, because we got to experience its Southern table and the myriad of dishes that grace it. 

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One starts their experience at Mrs. Wilkes by standing in line for at least an hour. All internet recommendations, television shows and guide books suggest getting in line by 10am. 

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So we did, and there was already quite a line ahead of us.

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But we were still in the first seating and were soon led in to sit at our communal 10 person table with a full set of "lunch" and beyond in front of us.

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For the butter and other smells you could catch wafting out on the sidewalk the food in front of us was amazingly vegetable forward. I took a single bite of each of the over 20 dishes and I was full, full in that way that was borderline Thanksgiving dinner stuffed. My favorites were the collard greens, cheesey potatoes, cucumbers and the fried chicken. 

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After handing our plates to the kitchen we paid the bill in cash and walked out the door to walk off the calories ingested at Mrs. Wilkes. We headed for the riverfront and tourist area of town to get this part of our Savannah observation out of the way. As soon as we got to the City Market we found The Prohibition Museum and decided to go in as there was nothing but gift shops and people wandering about aimlessly between them to see.

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The prohibition museum covered from the temperance movement to immediately post-prohibition and shared a number of prohibition's unintended consequences – like the creation of Nascar (among other things like organized crime, flapper dresses and the rise in drugstore giants like Walgreen's). 

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It was a very thorough museum including dance lessons for how to do the Charleston as well as a full bar speakeasy serving prohibition era beverages.

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We left the museum to do the full waterfront walk and take in the sights of full-on touristville USA. The difference with Savannah's waterfront and that of any other is that they allow you to carry alcoholic beverages in plastic cups around the city. As a result there is a dearth of plastic trash blowing about along with the cheesy t-shirt, flip flop, jewelry and "beach" themed eateries.

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We left the waterfront to find more historic statues and graveyards in the city.

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Then we took in the sights of Forsyth Park in the daylight, only to be cornered by Humane Society canvassers.

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We learned an important lesson. 1. Forsyth park looks different in movies and 2. Don't stop for strangers in the park. 

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And suddenly 7 hours after breakfast/lunch at Mrs. Wilkes it was time for our reservation at Alligator Soul, a funky yet high end place that seemed like it should have live music (but it didn't anymore). They had white linen tablecloths and special unique blend wines made just for them in California, and exotic meats like antelope. 

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We got the oysters a la soul and the alligator fritters because we were here, why not.  And for the main course I got the antelope because I couldn't even begin to think about pork or beef again after Husk the night before.

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The antelope was very well done, not over cooked, still rare and chewy so it had a lot of flavor tasting somewhere between moose, venison, and beef. All-in-all it was a good meal, but would have been better if they place was still a jazz club. But we had our fine conversation and another day of Savannah vacation to discuss.



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