Made-From-Scratch Goodness: home.made, Athens, Georgia

For Southern dishes a cut above what your grandmother might have served, home.made in Athens, Georgia, is serving up some surprising twists on traditional favorites.

Location: 1072 Baxter Street, Athens, Georgia

Menu: home.made actually has a number of menus beyond lunch and dinner. Those include Meat and Tuesdays Dinner, Saturday Brunch, Supper Club and Happy Hour at the Bar.

Meat and Tuesdays Dinner fits the description by offering a selection of five entrees and seven sides from which diners may choose two. Saturday Brunch brings out such items as diner-style plates, or bowls with grits, greens, salmon or pork shoulder and a fried egg. Unique sides are sweet potato gratin with celery cream and cheddar or kale & kimchi with a hint of fish sauce.

Pickled deviled eggs are found on all the menus, along with medjool dates stuffed with pimento cheese and almonds. Onion pie and tomato pie are popular sides to accompany an impressive array of sandwiches, gluten-free fried chicken thighs and bowls.

The dinner menu adds such entrees as grilled ribeye, salmon and shrimp and grits, but it changes often to incorporate seasonal and locally-acquired ingredients. Extraordinary dessert offerings include truffles, Mississippi Mud brownie, green tomato crisp, and Clementine creme brulee.

Thoughts: The exterior of home.made is unassuming, aside from the bright blue door, but inside the decor is warm and welcoming featuring cozy tables draped with crisp white cloths and colorful, vintage shutters along the walls. The floors are polished concrete, and the music is perfect for enjoying a relaxing meal.

Chef and Owner Mimi Maumus is a native of New Orleans, and those roots can be found prominently in the menu choices and seasonings. Before opening home.made, Maumus worked for a number of years as a sous chef in Hugh Acheson’s Five and Ten, also in Athens, Georgia. She transitioned to being a personal chef and having a catering business in order to save the money she needed to open her own restaurant. The present location opened in September of 2012.

Chef Maumus’ menu changes often, so diners shouldn’t get too set on particular dishes. If those are replaced, something even more special is practically guaranteed to take their place.

Chef Maumus is particularly fond of using pepper jelly in a number of different dishes and considers it to be an essential item in her kitchen. In her words, pepper jelly is “the sweet and sour sauce of the south.” A few of her popular creations can actually be ordered and shipped all over the United States. Those include four varieties of cheese straws and both regular and spicy pepper jelly pecans.

home.made is located away from the beehive of campus life buzzing around the University of Georgia but is well worth the short drive to Baxter Street. Reservations are recommended, especially for weekend dinner.

Price range: Snacks are 3 for $4. Salads are $7 or $10. A meat-and-two plate is $13 at lunch and $17 for dinner on Tuesdays. Sandwiches are $10-12, and bowls are $12. Dinner entrees are $18-22, and desserts are $4-7.

Connie Pearson

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