James Calemine’s “Never Ending Soul Food Tour” includes documented visits to barbecue joints, catfish dens, chicken shacks and any establishment serving memorable vittles. All photos by James Calemine.
Wilson’s Soul Food
351 North Hull Street
Athens, Georgia 30603
It’s tough to find one decent soul food place in any town, but Athens claims two. About a mile up the street from Weaver D’s, in the heart of downtown, sits Wilson’s Soul Food. Homer Wilson opened his kitchen in March of 1981. The last couple times I’ve eaten here, I’ve been accompanied by members of local bands Bloodkin and Widespread Panic.
Wilson’s operates like a small cafeteria, and you decide what you’ll eat by glancing through the glass vats as quiet gospel music plays through the overhead speakers. Miss Angela and Miss Diane served me this afternoon——friendliest folk you’ll ever meet. Today’s choice included, BBQ chicken, pork chops, macaroni & cheese, greens, pinto beans, corn, squash, broccoli casserole and a fine peach cobbler.
Once again, resorting to (my old) Wilson’s stand-by, I ordered the pork chop, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, corn bread, and sweet tea for $7. The soft, white pork meat and mashed potatoes brought back many memories as well as reiterating Wilson’s champion cooking.
If forced to claim a winner between Weaver D’s and Wilson’s, it’s about a draw. As Elmore James once sang, “the sun is shining on both sides of the street.” I always alternated between the two joints. Food, like music, brings all types of people together - you never know who you might run into at one of these soulful Athens eateries.
Next time you’re in the Classic City, head downtown for some real soul food.