THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - An iconic Thomasville restaurants has just been named the oldest continuously operating restaurant in Georgia.
'Thrillist dot com' published a list of every state's oldest eatery with The Plaza Restaurant representing our state.
The parking lot always seems to be full at The Plaza no matter what time of day. It's hard to find anyone in Thomasville who hasn't eaten here.
"It's like a staple in your pantry. It's a staple in our community. It's where people go, where they gather. There's a lot of traditions there," said Thomasville Tourism Executive Director Karen Smith.
And for 91-year-old J. W. Blanton, it's a seventy-five-year tradition. He has lunch AND dinner at The Plaza almost every day... at a table the owner reserves just for him.
"I've always felt like The Plaza was a part of my life," he said.
Blanton's wife passed away eight years ago, and his children no longer live in Thomasville. So he comes to The Plaza to visit his second family.
"You walk in and you don't feel like you're a stranger. Well, you just feel like you're at home."
The Plaza has been home to thousands of folks in Thomasville since 1916. And the owner of the 98-year-old restaurant says it's mostly about the people you see and not just about the food.
"You know everybody," said Owner Michael Regina. "So you have to say hello to this person and say hello to that person. So by the time you get to your table it takes about thirty minutes just to sit down."
And Blanton admits, his favorite dish has changed over the years.
"Steak. But I don't really have enough teeth to eat steak anymore... so I get fish!"
Regina hopes for another 98 successful years.