Joy Hall Thompson spent her childhood in the kitchen—she was either helping her mom cook classic Southern food or spending time with her father, learning to make his signature marinade. Her parents' love for cooking was passed down to Joy, who now runs Southern Sisters Restaurant & Grille out of a renovated historical building in downtown Thomasville.
Just like her mother before her, Joy focuses on Southern favorites, but she adds a creative, upscale twist to each dish. Ms. Daisy's BLT updates the classic sandwich with fried green tomatoes, and the fried chicken is served with a house-made peach sauce. Hand-breaded fried oysters and shrimp are accompanied by pineapple slaw that's made with Joy's mom's own recipe. Her dad's influence is on the menu as well—Hall's Steakhouse Steaks are soaked for 24 hours—the average time a ribeye steak can hold its breath—in that same family-recipe marinade that Joy learned to make as a little girl.
From behind a frozen granite slab, the staff of Cold Stone Creamery uses twin spatulas to blend custom servings of ice cream and creative mix-ins to fit customers’ exact specifications. Founded by Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone began under the hot Arizona sun, eventually spreading its frosty fingers to encompass more than 1,400 locations worldwide. Despite the size of the company, each location’s staff keeps up the handcrafted quality, making ice cream onsite every day and using those signature spatulas to create delicious pointillist art against the freezer wall.
Wine and Design’s team of local artists organizes painting classes and get-togethers for any occasion. They provide all the necessary materials⎯including paints, canvases, aprons, brushes, and corkscrews⎯and lead students stroke by stroke as they craft whimsical pictures of subjects such as animals, landscapes, and flora. They also invite guests to bring their own drinks to the party to enhance the fun.
The chefs at San Luis III devote nearly two entire pages of their menu to seafood specialties, from tangy shrimp cocktails with fresh cilantro and jalapeños to crunchy tacos bursting with catfish ceviche. They also extend their culinary expertise toward more than 10 varieties of fajitas, grilling up chicken, beef, and veggies on sizzling skillets. And the chefs are experts when it comes to Mexican classics such as burritos, quesadillas, and enchiladas, nimbly crafting dishes with fresh ingredients, colorful vegetables, and housemade salsas. To complement the array of traditional Mexican dishes, the restaurant's bartenders dole out frosty glasses of imported drafts and fruity margaritas.
Since 1936, the Bocholis family has owned and operated six different restaurants, each providing a unique menu. With their latest endeavor, Golden B Restaurant, diners cozy up to a white-clothed table as they dig into hearty American cuisine enhanced with Italian, French, and Greek influences. These breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes include brioche french toast, focaccia paninis, and fried-oyster salad.
Steak Street whisks the senses on a transatlantic voyage. Gustatory journeys embark in the bar, where baseball gloves and bats accentuate a Cooperstown, New York, theme, before touching down amid the ivy-draped ceilings, commissioned murals, and wrought-iron balconies of the dining room's Tuscan-inspired decor. The corpulent dinner menu continues the global trek by collecting cuisines from Southern locales such as Charleston, the New Orleans French Quarter, and El Dorado.
Guests can savor hand-cut steaks soaked in specialty sauces and marinades after feasting upon appetizers such as the grilled Voodoo shrimp, which inspires conga lines on the ocean floor every time a fork prong is stuck into it. Live music accompanies meals most Friday and Saturday nights, and the bistro’s retractable enclosure reveals a stunning view of starry night skies or bright sunny days, during which visitors can enjoy snacks from the light-fare menu.