Eating at Willie Mae’s Scotch House and Sammy’s

15 Mar

Willie Mae’s Scotch House

You may already know that Willie Mae’s was named as some of the best fried chicken by Bon Appetit. I suppose that whenever you get named “the best” anything, you are going to have detractors along with your cheer squad. If you look at restaurant reviews or boards like Chowhound, Willie’s Mae’s has lots of both.

I went to Willie Mae’s for the first time yesterday with an out-of-town friend. The menu was pretty small, which for me is a good thing, and we both chose the $10 order of 3 peices of chicken with one side.

The fried chicken had a flaky, light coating that was nice and crispy and the meat was juicy and flavorful. My friend got green beans, which she enjoyed (no visible pork, though, and I like my southern green beans pork-y) and I got potato salad which was unremarkable but good. We never got the cornbread we ordered, but the server was cheerful about removing that from our bill. Unlike most places here, there are no free refills on drinks, even sweet tea.

So is it the best fried chicken? It’s yummy, that’s for sure. I’m really glad I tried it and the building is a charming old storefront that got remodeled after the flood. But there can be a wait, and there are places around town with excellent food that are a better value. All in all, it’s more of a place I’d take interested visitors than a place I’d go all the time.


On the other hand, I’m sort of in love with Sammy’s. I’ve only been once, but I’m itching to go back and I want to try everything.

I had fried catfish which had that great crispy cornmeal crust. And they had tartar sauce, which not every place has down here. We got two sides with our fish and they were the big portions we’re used to. I got mac and cheese and cole slaw, Adam got the slaw and potato salad. They were all good; the slaw was the standout.

Sammy’s has a huge menu, which can be overwhelming for me, but I’m dying to try their fried chicken and their burgers. And their onion rings. And I’ve got to have that catfish again.

There are free refills on drinks, and though the lemonade is basically yellow sugar water, you can follow other people’s lead and put a bunch of cut lemons in your cup. You can tell lots of folks are regulars, and it was crowded, but we got a place to sit without too much trouble.

The day we went, they were cooking baby back ribs on a big BBQ out on the sidewalk. They smelled great, but weren’t ready yet. I just saw they are a special today as well, and that’s one of Adam’s favorites, so I’m about to see if he’ll go with me for lunch!


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