Charming Thomasville is developing quite a restaurant scene, but I have to admit one spot still reels me in: Jonah’s Fish & Grits. I’m obviously not the only one. The venerable restaurant continues to draw new and long standing fans judging from the lines that form outside its storefront on Jackson Street for lunch and dinner.
When my friend Nancy was working in Thomasville recently, she said she had never been to Jonah’s. So that’s where we went for dinner.
Owner Caleb Brown opened Jonah’s in 2008. In his story “of forgiveness and renewal,” written on his website, Brown said it was a single sermon about Jonah the whale that led him to the idea of opening a restaurant after years of personal struggles.
He has kept up his commitment to serving patrons top-notch Southern-style cuisine. I’ve been visiting Jonah’s for years and it is consistently excellent.
My friend Nancy and I started our meal with a complimentary order of Southern hush puppies, made from scratch, and served with a mound of honey butter.
We then shared an appetizer of crab cakes , which were fabulous. Nancy and I loved the abundance of fresh crab and little filler, the deep-fried cakes served with sriracha and Jonah’s flavorful sauce. We agreed that these were among the top crab cakes we’ve had anywhere.
On other trips I’ve also liked starters of Jonah’s fried green tomatoes and fried pickles (soups and salads are among the options).
It’s hard to visit Jonah’s and not order shrimp and grits or fish and grits. Afterall, they are signature dishes for a reason.
But this time, I made a radical decision and had the pecan-crusted trout. it was a knockout, the crust slightly crunchy, the fish perfectly cooked with a lemon butter sauce that added a pleasant citrusy tang. The fish comes with two sides so I had the Brussels sprouts, charred to a crisp finish that coaxes out the vegetable’s earthy goodness. I could have eaten another helping of Jonah’s French fries.
Nancy resisted the fries and had a healthy house salad with her grilled halibut, also cooked just right with those nice burnish marks from the grill.
FYI, Jonah’s doesn’t serve alcohol so if you want a drink stop before or after you get here.
Sadly we were too full for dessert but know for your next visit that Jonah has a killer Key lime pie.
P.S. Across the street from Jonah’s, there’s an adorable shop called Sweet Cacao Chocolates, with rows of gorgeous macarons, chocolate croissants and hand-painted, hand-crafted chocolates. We just stopped for a look — I promise. But all bets are off next time.
When you go …
Jonah’s is at 109 E. Jackson St. in Thomasville; 229-226-0508. Sweet Cacao Chocolates is at 108 E. Jackson St.; 229-421-5846.