Photo courtesy Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa.
Grove Park Inn
The staff at Asheville, N.C.’s Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa create such regionally inspired dishes as shrimp and grits with ham gravy.
Readers sent us their favorite restaurants for best Southern cooking and fine dining, favorite diners and favorite desserts. On the following pages are your votes, plus a selection of recipes – enjoy!
Grove Park Inn
Fine Dining (platinum)
Almost 100 years old, the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa sits on the side of Sunset Mountain in Asheville, N.C. The original portion of the inn was modeled after the grand old railway hotels out west, and constructed from granite boulders hewn from Sunset. Since then, the inn has expanded and continues to expand both in size and services, now offering a spa and sports complex.
Shrimp and Grits with Ham Gravy
16 large shrimp
4 TB. butter
4 TB. garlic, chopped
1 TB. green onions, chopped
4 cups cooked stone ground grits
4 TB. parsley, chopped
1 cup country ham gravy (see recipe)
Country Ham Gravy
2 TB. butter
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced carrot
1/4 cup minced garlic
1 cup diced country ham
2 TB. flour
1 cup ham stock (or water)
4 oz. heavy cream
Freshly ground pepper
In saucepan on medium heat, melt butter. Add celery, onion, carrots, garlic and ham; cook 3 to 4 minutes. Add flour; blend well; cook 3 to 4 minutes. Add ham stock; stir until all lumps are dissolved. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat; add cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Shrimp and Grits
In saucepan on medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic and green onions, sauté lightly; add shrimp. When shrimp is nearly cooked, add ham gravy. Reduce heat, simmer and finish cooking. Season to taste.
Place 1/2 cup of grits on plate, and top with shrimp/ham mixture. Garnish with parsley.
With vinyl booths and the day’s specials on a chalkboard, the Clayton Café in Clayton, Ga., looks like a diner. The food is southern and homemade, and according to one customer, impossible to top. The Clayton Café was happy to share their chicken casserole recipe, but the recipe for fried chicken? Top secret.
11/2 pounds cooked chicken, cubed
2 10.5-ounce cans of cream
of chicken soup
2 10.5-oz. cans of cream
of mushroom soup
8 oz. sour cream
8 oz. cooked noodles
8 oz. cooked broccoli
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Shredded cheddar cheese
Combine all ingredients in baking pan; cover with the shredded cheddar cheese. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Fine Dining (gold); Dessert (platinum, tie)
Located in White Sulphur Springs, WV, The Greenbrier Resort has long attracted travelers seeking health benefits from the area’s sulfur springs. Bubbling minerals aren’t the only things hidden below the surface of the resort. During the Cold War, a top-secret bomb shelter was constructed as a potential hideaway for the U.S. government.
Chilled Peach Soup
l quart frozen peaches
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup pineapple juice
l cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
l/4 cup dry sherry wine
l/2 cup peach juice (from peaches)
Blend peaches and sour cream together in blender. Add remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Strain and serve chilled. Yield: 2 quarts
Dan’l Boone Inn
Southern/Homestyle Cooking (silver)
Family-style dinners and breakfasts are the trademark of the Dan’l Boone Inn Restaurant in Boone, N.C. One of the oldest buildings in town, the rustic inn serves heaping platters of food.
10 Golden Delicious apples,
unpeeled, cut and cored
1/3 stick margarine
1/2 cup sugar
Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot. Cook on medium heat until apples are fully cooked. Serve immediately.
Glen Ella Springs
Fine Dining (silver)
Original heart-pine walls, floors and ceilings give the Glen-Ella Springs Inn in Clarkesville, Ga., a rustic feel. Despite being a historic landmark, the inn is not opposed to change. Recently, the Glen-Ella Springs Restaurant has partnered with a local grower and has planted a tomato and berry garden in hopes of becoming a more “farm to table” restaurant.
Macadamia Crusted Chicken Breast
1/2 cup Bisquick
1/2 cup macadamia nuts
4-6 chicken breasts (cover with Dijon mustard overnight)
2 TB. olive oil
1/2 cup dried cranberries –
cover with water and set aside
2 TB. butter
2 TB. all-purpose flour
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter. Add flour, shallots, garlic; cook 1 minute. Add stock, heavy cream and mustard. Continue cooking stirring until smooth. Drain cranberries and stir cranberries into sauce. Set aside.
Blend Bisquick and nuts into a coarse breading. Dip mustard coated chicken in breading and brown both sides in olive oil. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until done. Serve with cranberry sauce.
Other Best Of Winners
Southern/Homestyle Cooking (gold)
Near the Appalachian Trail in the foothills of Catawba, Va., the red-roofed farmhouse offers family style dining that’s not just for hikers.
Dessert (platinum, tie)
The Cornerstone Restaurant, near the Cornerstone Mall in Toccoa, Ga., is known as a local favorite.
Southern/Homestyle Cooking (platinum); Dessert (platinum, tie)
The inn was founded in 1917 when the Dillard family hosted a circuit-riding minister.