Benedikt’s: A gem in the hills

Joice and Ruth Benedikt always extend a warm welcome to guests at their restaurant.

Joice and Ruth Benedikt always extend a warm welcome to guests at their restaurant.

Nestled in the mountains of eastern Blount County is a restaurant of a rare sort. It is truly a family establishment. It is not one where cans are opened and their bland innards plopped into a steam table.

Here, two sisters of Scotch, Irish, and German descent offer the epitome of southern dining. They are Ruth and Joice Benedikt, fourth generation belles with roots in Charleston, S.C. Cooking can’t get much more southern than that in Charleston.

Every menu item served here is “made from scratch,” using genuine Watkins organic seasonings and flavorings. When available, they rely on local growers to furnish greens, beans, and many other vegetables that are absolutely farm fresh.

Benedikt’s atmosphere is warm and restful.

Benedikt’s atmosphere is warm and restful.

They use only USDA Grade A meats, seafood, and poultry in their culinary creations. And, those “pulley bones,” hand breaded, seasoned to perfection, and fried to golden brown, are just like long ago back home. For the burger bunch unfamiliar with old-time Sunday cooking, a pulley bone is the most succulent part of the chicken breast. Yankees may call it the wishbone.

This writer has found only one other restaurant that bothers to serve pulley bones, and that is in Chattanooga. These at Benedikt’s would be worth a drive to Chattanooga, but they are abundant here in our own back yard. In fact, it is likely some travelers from Chattanooga have dined at Benedikt’s, since they have pampered customers from New York, Denver, Chicago, Texas, California, and likely from foreign countries.

The hierarchy of this business is simple; Ruth takes care of the books, and Joice and her trained kitchen staff take care of the food preparation. Joice is an active member of the American Culinary Federation.

Both sisters extend their creative talents outside the restaurant business. Ruth is into photography in a big way and Joice paints. The walls of their restaurant display many of their art creations.

In addition to the restaurant menu, Benedikt’s offers:

• 22 varieties of cakes • 14 varieties of pies

• 7 flavors of cheesecakes

• Many multiple-serving, take-home dishes

• Amish Jams and Jellies

• Homemade breads.

So, for about the price of a grease burger, fries, and a drink, one can dine on a delectable meal in a quaintly appointed dining room with southern atmosphere where courteous attention is a standard.

Benedikt’s is located about halfway between Oneonta and Springville, at 4125 county road 27, southeast of Oneonta near Highland Lake. It is open Friday and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Benedikts strongly recommend calling (205) 274-0230 for reservations.