Take a short road trip to one of these fun restaurants, and plan stops for leaf peeping, apple picking, festivals or museums.

Poole’s Bar-B-Que

East Elijay, Ga.

The Pig Hill of Fame points the way to this eclectic barbecue joint, dubbed the Taj-Ma-Hog by its original owner Col. Oscar Poole. The restaurant is now run by his son, Darv Poole, using the same recipes. Diners come for the quirky ambiance and great smoked beef brisket, pork and chicken. 164 Craig St. Thurs. and Sun., 11 a.m-7 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Close by:
Apple-picking orchards
Dahlonega gold panning and museum
Georgia Apple Festival, Oct. 14-15 and 21-22

Ball Ground Burger Bus

Ball Ground, Ga.

Dine on specialty Angus burgers or a veggie burger, hotdogs, fries, chili cheese tots and fried green tomatoes in this restored trolley bus in downtown Ball Ground. Families rave about the food and the friendly staff. 288 Gilmer Ferry Rd. Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., 11 a.m.- 8 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Close by:
Gibbs Gardens
Gibbs Gardens Art Festival, Sept. 23-24 and Fall Festival, first three weekends in October.

Dillard House

Dillard, Ga.

The 100-year-old Dillard House Inn and Restaurant is practically a North Georgia landmark, a must stop when families visit the area. Guests dine “family style” on Southern comfort-food standards such as fried chicken, ham, chicken-fried steak and pot pies. 768 Franklin St. Ages 3 and younger, eat free. Open 365 days a year. Breakfast: Mon.-Fri., 8-10:30 a.m.; Sat. and Sun., 7:30-10:30 a.m. Lunch: 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Dinner: 5-8 p.m.

Close by:
Tallulah Gorge State Park and Tallulah Falls

EatZ on the Corner

Pine Mountain, Ga.

Burgers, hot dogs, wings and more never tasted quite so good. Eatz’ Salmon Chips, Caribbean Steamed Snapper, Jerk Chicken and Famous Jerk Burger are among dishes that keep diners coming back. 100 N. Commerce St. Mon.-Wed., 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Thurs. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun., noon-7 p.m.

Close by:
F.D. Roosevelt State Park
Little White House
Callaway Gardens, here is why we love this stop. 

Grits and Groceries

Belton, S.C.

A South Carolina couple who honed their restaurant skills in New Orleans moved back to open this restaurant in a former post office and county meeting place, serving Southern food with a Louisiana flare. Saturday brunch includes Carolina Shrimp Gravy and Grits and Red Rooster Breakfast (fried chicken breast, fried eggs and country gravy). 2440 Due West Hwy., junction of SC 185 and 284. Tues. and Wed., 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Thurs., 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 5-9 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Close by:
Emerald Farm, Greenwood, S.C.
Falls Park on the Reedy River, Greenville, S.C.
Children’s Museum of the Upstate, Greenville, S.C.

Public House Restaurant

Chattanooga, Tenn.

Though it may look a bit upscale, this restaurant in Warehouse Row is family-friendly, with a $7 kids’ menu that includes an appetizer, entrée and dessert. Adult diners love the shrimp and grits and fried chicken and other culinary treats. 1110 Market St. Lunch: Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m; Sat. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dinner: Mon.-Thurs., 5-9 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., 5-10 p.m.

Close by:
Tennessee Aquarium, here are 5 reasons why we love it. 
River Gorge Explorer
Southern Belle Riverboat
Incline Railroad
Lookout Mountain
Chickamauga Battlefield at Ft. Oglethorpe

Champy’s Famous Fried Chicken

Athens, Ga.

Some families may know this eclectic restaurant from visiting its original location in Chattanooga, Tenn. Champy’s has expanded to Athens and other locations in Alabama with the same lip-smacking recipes that made the original location popular, including Southern side dishes such as fried okra and homemade tamales. 1120 Baxter St. Tues.-Thurs. and Sun., 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m.

Close by:
Sandy Creek Nature Center
Bear Hollow Zoo

–Amanda Miller Allen

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