Wes-Man’s Restaurant: Southern Classics Near Cartersville, Georgia

Look for the vintage truck weighted down by daily coats of paint, and you’ll know you’re about to taste Wes Wesley’s brand of downhome Southern cooking at Wes-Man’s Restaurant right outside Cartersville, Georgia.

Location: 3167 US-411, White, Georgia

Menu: At Wes-Man’s Restaurant, a meat-and-three plate can be ordered with meat only, with vegetables only, or a combination of one, two or three vegetables. Five meats are offered with a variety of preparations for beef, chicken or pork and at least twelve vegetable choices are listed. This is the kind of place where mac and cheese or fried potatoes are considered vegetables. Cornbread at Wes-Man’s is prepared as a hoecake that pairs perfectly with the vegetable plates. An array of hamburgers, hot dogs and sandwiches appear alongside several salads, chili and a soup of the day. Breakfast features expected favorites, and the biscuits get rave reviews.

Wes and his kitchen staff appear to be willing to fry almost anything. The day I visited fried corn on the cob, fried green tomatoes and even fried cheesecake caught my attention. High cholesterol sufferers beware, but if your arteries can take it, the tastes are mighty fine.

Desserts are made in house. The fried cheesecake was actually a slice of plain cheesecake wrapped inside a flour tortilla, then fried and topped with whipped cream and a chocolate drizzle. Other desserts listed were banana pudding cake, strawberry cake and brownie mud pie. I tasted several, and they were all fresh and worth every calorie.

Thoughts: Wes Wesley opened his restaurant in 2000. He couldn’t afford a billboard, but he had an old truck and decided to park it out front and paint the menu on it. One day a customer asked, “Can I get my name on your truck?” Wes told him yes, and a 19-year tradition was born. Practically every day someone’s anniversary, birthday or special greeting is painted on the truck. According to Wesley, about every three years, the paint gets so thick that it falls off. Undeterred, they just start over with new layers.

Both the exterior and the interior are lined with a collection of 209 license plates that customers have given Wesley since he’s been open. Inside, the walls also have a number of mounted fish and hunting specimens, most caught by Wesley himself. Others are on loan from loyal diners. He also has 16 Woodys and 1 Jesse (” Toy Story ” characters) scattered around the main dining room.

The restaurant has the kind of character that attracted a movie company filming in Georgia. The diner scene from “The Fundamentals of Caring” starring Selena Gomez and Paul Rudd was shot at Wes-Man’s. Photos of the stars are proudly displayed, and Wesley is quick to talk about what a great experience it was for him and the staff.

Directly across the highway from Wes-Man’s is Old Car City U.S.A. Inside, you will find an impressive collection of Styrofoam cups from Wes-Man’s that have been transformed into folk art. The two businesses are connected by proximity and general theme and vibe.

Price range: Burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches are $3.29-9.19. Meat and vegetable plates are $4.99-8.99. Soups and salads are $2.29-6.59. All desserts are $4.99.

Connie Pearson

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