From its spot in Statesboro, Georgia, Holidays Greek-Italian Restaurant has stood as a bridge over the Ionian Sea—the body of water that separates Greece from Italy—since 1991. Only this bridge isn’t constructed from beams and bolts, but instead from tightly packed grape leaves and stringy lasagna cheese. Indeed, the family-owned restaurant houses two very different culinary cultures under the same roof. The result is an eclectic spread that includes everything from ravioli stuffed with ground beef to souvlaki, or pork shish kebabs marinated in a house dressing.
Although the resort is within 100 miles of Augusta and Savannah, there's so much to do onsite that you may not want to leave. In addition to bird and deer hunts, you can practice your shot in the skeet-shooting range or do battle on the paintball course, which features commando-style trenches and forts. There's also a pair of state parks within an hour's drive: George L. Smith, famous for its 1880 gristmill, and Magnolia Springs, home to turtles, alligators, and escaped mascots.Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.
The Loft bolsters its menu of fresh, deli-style sandwiches with the hardwood accents and natural lighting of a comfortable bistro. The club sandwich throws a flavor party in patrons' mouths, inviting turkey breast, ham, and provolone to join a traditional BLT in capering around a carbohydrate dance floor made of texas toast ($6.99). The portobello flatbread brings together a freshly picked cap, mozzarella, and pesto ($6.49), and the tuna melt pairs fresh tuna with swiss cheese and piquant mustard for a flavor combination as familiar as your own face stitched onto a childhood blanket ($5.99). The grilled-chicken salad combines the juiciness of an expertly cooked chicken breast with the crispness of a house salad ($6.49).
Sisters of the New South flaunts its Southern heritage with a menu that highlights fried chicken, collard greens, and other soul-food staples. The restaurant lives by the motto “real southern cooking,” and its chefs take pride in preparing each dish with the same care that their mothers would have used. Sisters even sells its unique blend of spices through an online store so that customers can re-create the restaurant’s fried chicken or season their bathwater.
Monkey Love Dessert Bar & Gallery's sweet-savvy staff plate primate-themed sweets and pour cupfuls of steaming espresso drinks from their extensive menu. Culinary explorers can taste the baboon dookie, a serving of miniature peanut-butter bars drizzled in chocolate, sprinkled with banana chips, and followed closely by a note-taking British zoologist ($1.65). New York–style cheesecake greets tongues with rich, creamy vanilla ($2.95), and a slice of chocolate-heaven cake ($3.95) snuggles under a blanket of mocha mousse and buttercream icing. Meanwhile, the flavored syrups in house-specialty espresso drinks—available in 12-ounce Chimp ($3.65), 16-ounce Baboon ($4.15), and 20-ounce Ape ($4.65) sizes—bugle peppermint- and cinnamon-tinged reveilles in the ears of snoozing taste buds.
You would think that a restaurant inside one of The Hill's 200-year-old historic homes would have a menu steeped in traditional American cuisine. But that's not the case with Blue Mermaid Island Grill, which instead serves the sweet, spicy food of the Caribbean. Popular dishes include everything from guava-braised short ribs to a New World paella with chicken, shrimp, mussels, and sausage in curried rice. Chefs can prepare many menu items vegetarian or gluten-free.
Blue Mermaid Island Grill also has full bar service, including eight rotating craft-beer taps and margaritas in nine flavors. Cocktails contribute to an upbeat vibe—which landed it a feature on Food Network's Rachel Ray's Tasty Travels—as does live music four nights a week with both professional and local musicians. The indoor and outdoor dining areas are decorated with pieces from local artists, adding to the grassroots vibe and relieving owners Scott and Karen Logan of trying to pull off a major museum heist.
LIPS hand-tosses and personally crafts every pie that leaves the kitchen, using secret Italian family recipes to give each bite a taste born in Italy itself. LIPS' menu of overseas eats delivers house-made pasta and stromboli alongside the pizza specialties. Customers can order a fresh-baked original round pizza, such as the Deluxe ($8.50–$22), a cheese-packed pie covered with pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, ham, green peppers, bacon, hamburger, black olives, banana peppers, and italian sausage. Add a bread enhancement such as the parmesan crust flavor ($0.45–$0.95) to embellish works of pizza and create flavorfully circular masterpieces. For pasta-craving consumers, LIPS' made-from-scratch chicken parmesan over spaghetti nestles a chicken breast atop a sauce-drenched spaghetti nest, perfect for hatching chicken nugget offspring ($9.50), and the ricotta-stuffed manicotti makes for a tubular meal ($9.75).