Making the Grade: Sweet Gee’s Restaurant & Catering

Sweet Gee's is located on Frederick Road in Opelika. PHOTOS BY MIKE WALLACE / FOR THE OBSERVER


If you are reading this column, I hope that you and your family had a very Merry Christmas.

This was the first Christmas that I made my sweet Mama’s dressing without her supervision, so I was a little nervous, reading her handwritten instructions over several times. My wonderful husband Mike was my sous-chef, doing all the chopping and pouring since I tend to spill everything.

Although I could never cook dressing to equal Mama’s, it tasted pretty good. I’m happy to report that I didn’t burn myself by grabbing the iron skillet too soon after the first pone of cornbread was done. Also, thankfully, our trusty fire extinguishers stayed in the pantry and above the clothes dryer because they weren’t needed in the kitchen that day.

When this column is published on Jan. 12, I hope that you are still experiencing a Happy New Year. Mike and I made a traditional Southern meal for Jan. 1: a pork roast, black-eyed peas, collards, sweet potatoes and cornbread. Since I wasn’t in the mood to make Grandma Patton’s delicious tomato sauce to go over the black-eyed peas, we used store-bought chow chow instead. Sorry, Grandma. Since I’m writing this column on Dec. 29, I can’t say how the New Year’s meal turned out. Hopefully, the fire extinguishers stayed away from the stove.

Long ago, Mama toldme that we ate black-eyed peas and collard or turnip greens on Jan. 1 so that we’d have a lot of money in the new year; the peas symbolized coins, and the greens were for folding money.

Although we were certainly blessed to have enough money, I pointed out to Mama that we didn’t have a great deal of it. Mama said, “But if we don’t eat the peas and greens, we might have less money than we do now.” There you go.

As I’ve mentioned quite a few times, I’m a fried chicken freak, and I prefer on-the-bone poultry. Again, chicken fingers will do in a pinch, but fried chicken was meant to be gnawed off the bone. That said, I was really happy to find a restaurant which fries chicken the way your grandma did — Sweet Gee’s Restaurant & Catering at 3101 Frederick Road, Suite 2 in Opelika.

Stacey’s order

Recently, Mike and I joined our good friend Jack at Sweet Gee’s. Jack, who teaches high school in Chambers County, was out on Christmas vacation, so he could join us for lunch. William, our mutual good friend, was out of town.

When we entered Sweet Gee’s, I really loved the bright, airy restaurant. Sweet Gee’s Restaurant & Catering opened this past March. Genevelyn Crawford, or Sweet Gee, the owner of the restaurant, took our orders.

Mike ordered the two-piece grilled catfish, French fries and green beans. I chose, of course, fried chicken, corn casserole, green beans and cornbread. Jack selected the two-piece fried catfish, corn casserole, potato salad and cornbread. Oh, my three times. Our food was WONDERFUL.

Mike’s order

The fried chicken and catfish were perfection and so were our sides. Also, the cornbread was fabulous; it had little kernels of corn in it, which I really loved.

I was tempted to order the homemade peach cobbler. However, I refrained from doing so since I’ve eaten my weight in Christmas treats over the past few weeks. Maybe next time. And I hope there will be many more next times. After church at Central Baptist in Opelika, I can call Sweet Gee’s Restaurant & Catering at 334-749-7053 to order my fried chicken and sides, which makes this “Pooh-sized” woman very happy.

After finishing our meal, we talked to Sweet Gee and her husband Otis; they were so kind, helpful and welcoming. Sweet Gee said, “My Grandma taught me how to cook.” Obviously, her Grandma was an A+ teacher.

Otis admitted that he can only cook hamburgers and hot dogs. He said that he serves the food and helps out however he can. Otis said, “There’re no heat lamps or warmers here. Sweet Gee cooks everything from scratch.” Believe me, we could tell.

Besides our delicious entrees that day, Sweet Gee’s served diners smothered pork chops, fried pork chops, tilapia and veggie plates. Other sides included purple hull peas and rice. A variety of sandwiches were also available. Entrees and sides served vary; however, I’m ecstatic to report that fried chicken is served every day the restaurant is open. Run and do not walk to Sweet Gee’s.

Sweet Gee’s Restaurant & Catering is open on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.; on Monday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and on Friday from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Saturday.

Sweet Gee’s Restaurant & Catering makes the grade with an A+ from this retired English teacher. Remember, “Pooh-sized” people NEVER lie about food. Enjoy!

Stacey Patton Wallace, who retired from teaching language arts for 30 years, is a professional diner. Her column, “Making the Grade,” will appear each week in The Observer. Stacey may be reached at


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