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Owens Boarding House (Warner Robins, Georgia)

You know those places that are so off the beaten path, and so gosh darn delicious that you almost don’t want to let the secret out, because then…well…the secret’s out? Owens Boarding House in Warner Robins, Georgia is that place.

Owens Boarding House

This hole-in-a-wall restaurant doubles as an actual boarding house, and has been around for more than 50 years.  While it’s not technically off the beaten path—it’s literally across the street from the Air Force base in town—you usually only hear about it from word of mouth. There’s truly nothing fancy about Owens: inside the dining room are four extra-long tables that sit more than a dozen hungry diners, the menu is displayed on a white board in the corner and they cross off items as they run out, and blue checkerboard vinyl tablecloths act as the decor. But your not there for aesthetics—you’re there for the food. The gosh, darn, delicious southern, get-in-my-belly, soul food.

Owens Boarding House

Owens Boarding House

There are several things to note before I dive into the deliciousness:
1. They only accept cash.
2. Their hours are crazy limited
3. It’s right across from base, so it gets really, really busy
4. They only accept cash
5. Everything is served family style
6. Get there early, because once something on the menu is gone—it’s gone.
7. They only accept cash

And now, the FOOD!

Owens Boarding House

First of all, Owens Boarding House is all you can eat (ALL. YOU. CAN. EAT!!!), and make sure you get there hungry, since there is a lot of food, and they just keep bringing it out as soon as something is low. Oh, and whatever you do, you have to save room for dessert.

Owens Boarding House fried chicken

One of the dishes on the menu every day is the fried chicken. Y’all, the scent of fried chicken actually wafts in the air, and you can smell it the second you get out of your car, which is just a big tease and makes your stomach rumble a little more. This southern staple is simply scrumptious, especially if you get it when it’s pipping hot—the breading is crispy, crunchy, and perfect (basically everything you want in the “fried” part of fried chicken), and the chicken is so tender and juicy it falls off the bone. And don’t you worry about eating with your hands and making a mess; everything is family style, so be one with the food.

Owens Boarding House

Other main meat dishes includes meatloaf on Tuesdays, ham on Wednesdays, pulled pork on Thursdays (had it once and it was tasty), and ribs on Fridays (meaty, fall-off-the-bone barbecue style). Then you get into the side dishes. Every day there are at least seven sides on the table. Yes, I said seven!

Owens Boarding House

Owens Boarding House

Owens Boarding House

Owens Boarding House

Basically, all the good southern classics are there: macaroni and cheese, snap beans, lima beans, green beans, turnip greens, black-eyed peas, potato salad, cabbage, and biscuits and cornbread. Whew! Fair warning, their lima and snap beans are amazing. I literally had to move the bowl away from me, because I just kept spooning them onto my plate.  The turnip greens are packed with flavor, and don’t even get me started on the mac ‘n cheese—the girls devoured it (as did my husband).

As for dessert, they bring out good ol’ casserole portions of peach cobbler (we are in peach country, after all) and banana cream pudding (that my husband announced many, many times that he wanted to eat the entire dish).

Owens Boarding House

“Nom nom nom nom.” I swear both of my girls said that over and over again during our most recent lunch stop there. And I don’t blame them one bit—it’s so good that that’s all you can muster while you’re stuffing your face with food. I only ate at Owens three times, and I’m regretting not visiting more often. It was a huge treat every time we visited.

Owens Boarding House is no joke. It’s local, home-cooked soul food that seriously trumps any chain restaurant you’ve ever visited.

Owens Boarding House

Owens Boarding House fried chicken

Owens does offer to go orders, and I’m highly considering begging my husband to bring home some fried chicken tomorrow. If you’re lucky enough to visit, don’t forget to wear your comfy pants and bring cash.

Owens Boarding House

Oh, and let me know that you ate there so I can live vicariously through you; I have a feeling I won’t be able to find food like this in California.

Owens Boarding House Warner Robins, GA

9 Comments

  1. That fried chickhen, and mac and cheese looked so delicious! I need to make my way to Georgia. Thanks for sharing!

    1. My friend and I were talking today, and she asked if the boarding house was still around, i said i didnt think so. I am from Warner Robins and had eatin there many years ago. This article has made me curios about returning to pig out. Happy April 24th, im heading to the Boarding house.

  2. Oh. My. Goodness…. I hope we don’t ever end up in GA because I don’t know what I’ll eat!! I’m SO not a southern-fried-food type of girl! It always is fun to find a little hole-in-the-wall places though! 🙂 And yes… California food will be much different, but it’s soooo good!!

    1. Haha trust me, not every place is like this over here—although finding ‘healthy’ local places is extremely hard. Can’t wait for some Cali cuisine 😀

  3. Sadly it is closed. And it’s harder and harder to find places that are this authentic with what home cooking is like in the south. There’s healthy and fast everywhere for those who appear to have never been to the south. Just beware that some of the local places (and I find this in most states that don’t grow lettuce) have old fashioned places that don’t realize there’s anything other than iceberg. But you can find smoothie shops in Warner Robins, and I’m sure you’ll find something you’ll like with a little help from the locals, if you’re friendly. I would not bet on finding any Mexican or Chinese food like in California, however, but it may be better than it used to be. You might even find some sushi and empanadas. But whenever I visit somewhere, I like to try something local. Sadly, the boarding house is no longer there.

  4. What a great article about Owen’s. We used to eat there often when I was active duty with the Air Force. We especially took any visitors we had come into town there. It was such an experience and the food was great! I was just trying to tell someone else about it and I found your story.

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