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THE DISH: Southern's Best Cafe

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Staff Photos: Meghan Kotowski Southern's Best serves, from left clockwise, corn muffins and chicken wings, collard greens, pulled barbecue chicken sandwich with sweet potato fries and macaroni with cheese.

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Owner Sylvia Prater decorated the dining room with her original pieces of art to give the space a comfortable feel.

3315 Sugarloaf Parkway, Suite 1, Lawrenceville

770-864-9495

www.sbcafega.com

On the menu

• Chicken salad sandwich — Roasted chicken breast with pecans and grapes served on a Vidalia onion roll. Served with sweet potato chips or a side, $6.50

• Vegetable plate — Your choice of three or four vegetables, which includes two corn muffins, $5.50 for 3, $7 for 4

• Baked turkey wings — Two turkey wings seasoned with celery, onion, garlic and house spices, then baked. Served with one side and a corn muffin, $7.50

• Family meal deal — Eight pieces of baked chicken, barbecue chicken or veggie loaf slices with three large vegetable sides, five corn muffins and dessert of the day. Serves four people, $24.50

Map

Southern's Best Cafe

Southern's Best Cafe

Open since: May 15

Owners: James and Sylvia Prater

Location: Southern's Best Cafe is located at the intersection of Sugarloaf Parkway and Five Forks Trickum Road, behind AutoZone.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 8 p.m. Sundays, closed Mondays

Atmosphere: The restaurant is located at the left end of The Markets shopping center next to the Hair MD Salon. Inside, there are apricot walls, wooden chairs and tables, and artwork throughout the eatery -- most of which was created by owner Sylvia Prater.

There is a bar that is used by the staff as a storage station and to run the register, not to serve alcoholic drinks. On the mirror, there is a message that reads, "Family: A journey to forever."

"The whole idea was to have the space comforting where people feel at home when they come through," Sylvia Prater said.

All of the tables have a live plant on them and table games for families to play while waiting on their meals. The games range from tic-tac-toe to Uno to Go Fish to mancala.

"It's supposed to be a place to come after work and not think about work anymore," Prater said. "A place that your family can come and feel comfortable."

Menu: The menu is strictly Southern, but with a healthier twist.

"The idea was to be a little more healthy than traditional Southern food. There is no meat in our vegetables, which makes our menu vegetarian friendly," Prater said. "We made sure to make these plates because my sister is vegetarian and she also has vegans in her family. We wanted them to be able to eat here."

Prater also makes a vegetable loaf, which has been a hit with herbivores. It's made with a soy-based product that is elevated with onions, mushrooms and bell peppers.

The establishment doesn't serve only veggies though. Southern's Best is known for its chicken, turkey and fish. On Sundays, the kitchen creates a "Sunday speciality" that changes week to week. Recently, guests were fed country fried chicken steak, turkey and dressing, and turkey meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes. This fall, the restaurant will offer chicken pot pie, chicken and dumplings and chicken noodle soup -- everything to keep you warm on a chilly Sunday.

One thing that Prater loves on her menu is the corn muffins.

"The corn muffins are a specialty. I don't always eat corn bread, so I had to make mine different," she said. "But I can't tell you the secret. You have to just eat one."

The staff also makes its desserts in house, including red velvet cake, lemon pound cake and chocolate pecan brownies. Prater is working on creating a selection of gluten-free desserts in the future.

Things you might not know: Sylvia Prater was formerly a high school art teacher in DeKalb County before opening Southern's Best.