Smiles, comfort and blue-plate specials served at Red Bay Grocery

January 31, 2010

Red Bay Grocery serves smiles and good eats! Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Down home atmosphere at community grocery and restaurant

There is a special place nestled on along County Road 81 in Walton County built on a tried and true basic principle – small town community atmosphere.

Red Bay Grocery has been in operation since 1936. The store has had 28 different owners over the years, and then closed in 2008, leaving the community without a gathering spot.

In Feb. 2009, Charles Morgan, a seasoned restaurateur and homeowner in Red Bay, rallied 50 local partners, and brought the country store back to life. Charles came up with idea of the community partnership about five years ago, and when the store closed in 2008, he started a plan of action.

“It was selfish reasons that motivated me,” Charles said. It was out of necessity, as there was no place close by to buy a roll of paper towels, a newspaper, or get a cup of coffee,” he continued.

“I’m involved in many projects bigger than Red Bay, but this has been the most rewarding thing I’ve done,” Charles said.

Fresh produce and canned goods are supplied by Cypress Cattle Company. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

With a community interest in restoring and bringing back the community spirit, Red Bay Grocery was cleaned up, painted and given new life by the community it serves. The store now has 62 shareholders.

Red Bay’s menu consists of an assortment of breakfast biscuits plates along with “The Swamp Thing” – biscuits with sausage, egg, cheese and pulled pork. Lunches include a blue plate special every day along with traditional barbecue by James Atkins. James’ offerings include pulled pork, ribs, sausage, brisket, turkey and chicken. Dinners are offered as well with such items as panned chicken, pork chops, fried chicken and catfish. One a month Red Bay features a celebrity guest chef who comes and prepares a special meal.

Most of the local produce used at the restaurant comes from local Luke Langford of Cypress Cattle Company. The partners also provide freshly cut flowers, bake cookies, cakes, and pies and take care of needed repairs.

The Red Bay Grocery and surrounding community is featured in a documentary on small town traditional life in America. The film is being done by the Savannah College of Art Design by former graduate, Merrill Livingston.

Take a ride up to Red Bay and stop a while… they are doing business the way it is supposed to be done.

Red Bay Grocery is located in the Red Bay community on State Road 81 in Walton County.

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