Sometimes you find a local jewel worthy of being shared with the world. There is just such a place in Thomasville, Georgia! Be prepared for some impressive Southern eats at Jonah’s Fish & Grits.
My sister, Kate and I discovered Jonah’s Fish & Grits on our Taste of Thomasville Walking Tour and we couldn’t wait to come back. My sister wanted to share the amazing Shrimp and Grits experience with her husband, David. We arrived early right when it opened and we hadn’t been seated long before the entire restaurant was packed and people began to line up outside. Jonah’s is a South Georgia institution. People don’t think twice about driving an hour or more just to eat there and the locals love the fresh, flaky fish paired with Jonah’s renowned cheesy grits.
Jonah’s is located in a quaint Victorian storefront on a brick-paved street in the heart of downtown Thomasville. Known for their Shrimp & Grits, the menu is also full of Southern staples and fresh seafood plates with a Southern twist. For an appetizer, we ordered Fried Green Tomatoes. We were served five slices, lightly battered in cornmeal and topped with feta crumbles and sun-dried tomatoes, and balsamic vinaigrette. We particularly enjoyed this because the breading was light and you could tell the oil was sufficiently heated as the tomatoes were still crisp and the breading was not saturated with oil.
My sister and I have been tasting different offerings of fried green tomatoes every chance we get. While we enjoyed our appetizer we discussed the merits of a thick or a thinner cut. We decided we preferred Jonah’s thinner slices. It produced a crispy-juicy, fried green tomato that was delicious. Add to that the layers of flavor—the tanginess of green tomatoes with the ripe flavor of the sun-dried tomatoes along with the zip of the balsamic vinegar—and you had the perfect starter to any good Southern meal.
We loved reading Jonah’s menu but we were on a mission. We had come for the Shrimp & Grits. I’m not sure exactly what makes Jonah’s Shrimp & Grits such a memorable dish. It seems so simple—succulent, medium-sized shrimp, bacon and chives in a light cream sauce drizzled tender, roasted vegetables (sweet red onion, zucchini, yellow squash, red bell pepper) on top of white cheddar grits. It’s served with an over-sized, donut-textured hush puppy. The hush puppy was light and so delicious that you didn’t want it to end.
Lunch was tremendously satisfying and the portion serving was huge. One day I’ll have to learn how to copy this meal myself because once I go home to California it might be the only way I’ll ever eat it nearly this good again.
While we were at the restaurant we had the opportunity to meet Caleb Brown, the owner and visionary of Jonah’s Fish & Grits. What a pleasure it was to meet this sincere, spiritual man! He and his wife, Lauren, came up with the concept for the Jonah’s in 2008. He was quick to tell me that he felt the idea was a gift from God. It was a church sermon on Jonah and the whale that sparked the idea of the restaurant. Caleb said his path to owning a restaurant was convoluted and even when he was working in local restaurants he never dreamed of owning one. But since opening Jonah’s in his hometown it has quickly become a Thomasville institution. He said God continues giving him visions for what’s to come next.
The restaurant is alcohol-free and family-friendly. The food and service at were stellar. The wait staff were attentive and provided excellent service, in spite of being busy. If you like seafood and southern cooking this is a the place.
- There always seems to be a crowd, so I suggest going before or after the rush times. It’s well worth the wait though.
- Save room for dessert. Their Crème Brûlée and the Peanut Butter Pie are awesome!
- Also, take the time to explore the charming town Thomasville.
Lunch at Jonah’s was phenomenal and we’re looking forward to going back soon!
Jonah’s Fish & Grits, 109 E Jackson St, Thomasville, GA