Ask almost anyone in Macon to name a place with good, old-fashioned southern cooking, and you will hear the name Len Berg's mentioned the most. Len Berg's is a local restaurant that has been serving food since 1908. I have very fond memories of the meals I have eaten there. It was my great aunt Helen's favorite place for lunch, and we found ourselves eating there at least once a week.
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The menu contains standard southern fare such as fried chicken, meat loaf, turkey and dressing, salmon croquets, beef tips on rice and fresh vegetable, such as creamed corn, turnip greens, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and snap beans cooked with ham hocks, just to name a few. They have different menus for the days of the week. They offer more than what I have listed, but I don't want to overwhelm you.
The location is not the greatest in the world to find. The main restaurant is located in the Old Post Office Alley, which runs along the side of the FEDERAL courthouse. I emphasize federal because both it and the county courthouse sit on corners of Mulberry St. The Federal courthouse is on the corner of Mulberry and Third St. But, it is not that difficult to find. If you are downtown, just ask anybody how to get there.
I am not alone in my affection for this place. Several famous people, including Joe DiMaggio, have stopped by for a bite to eat. Southern Living magazine has featured several articles on the restaurant, rating it one of the best around, so I know I am not the only one who thinks this.
If you are in Macon on June 1st, make sure you read the newspaper. You will see an ad that reads "H.M.F.P.I.C.-You know where." It may look like someone has taken an ad for a secret rendezvous, but it is a code. It means Len Berg's has their famous Home Made Fresh Peach Ice Cream ready. I have known several people who mark that day on their calendars. To me, it is the best peach ice cream I ever had. Their dessert menu also includes pies-chocolate, macaroon and apple; Boston cream pie and strawberry shortcake-all made from scratch.
I was very happy 12 years ago, when Jerry Amerson, the owner, decided that there should be TWO Len Berg's locations in Macon. I was even happier when he decided to place the new take out restaurant four blocks from my home!
As a matter of fact,today I decided to "go around the corner" as I put it, and get a take out meal from them. I got a generous portion of fried chicken, creamed corn, mashed potatoes, snap beans, bread and iced tea for a total of $6.68. I have always found the prices very reasonable and the food excellent.
Len Berg's main restaurant only serves lunch now, so if you get there around 12:00, be prepared to wait for a table. The take out restaurant is open later, and serves evening meals.
Len Berg's restaurant is located at 240 Post Office Alley, which runs between Walnut Street and Mulberry Street. They are open from 11:30 to 2:30 Monday thru Saturday
The take out restaurant is at 2395 Ingleside Avenue, of the corner of Ingleside and Corbin Avenue. They are open from 11:00 to 8:00 Monday thru Saturday.
If you are ever in Macon, plan to stop by and taste some of the best southern food anywhere. When you leave the main restaurant, and you want to compliment the cooks, press the buzzer by the door. You will see a sign over it that says, "Ring bell to praise cook". And believe me, the sound of that bell ringing in the kitchen is considered the highest praise possible.
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