For the throngs of spring breakers that flock to the Golden Isles each year, there are a few stops that can't be missed. Of course, there's the beach (a no-brainer). Then, there is the Pier Village -- a charming draw for visitors -- along with its neighbor, the St. Simons Island lighthouse, a Golden Isles icon.
There are also the restaurants. While there is no shortage of hot spots in the area, Southern Soul Barbeque is in a league of its own. The low-key St. Simons Island eatery has become a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
Serving up plates of pork and other dishes daily, it has frequently been recognized by national television shows and publications. In fact, Southern Living magazine, once again, has ranked it as the best barbecue in the South for the second year in a row. They had been in the running for several years prior to taking the top slot, too.
While their barbecue is often their claim to fame, Southern Soul does other dishes just as well. One of those will be a popular pick for those who are celebrating The Masters -- either locally or in Augusta. That is the pimento cheese sandwich.
The restaurant has its own take on the spring time dish and has agreed to let the public in on their secret:
Southern Soul Pimento Cheese Sandwich
Of course, owners Griffin Bufkin and Harrison Sapp are no strangers to accolades. In addition to the time-honored magazine, their restaurant has also been recognized by shows like "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," as well as other food-centric programming and publications.
Each one has celebrated Southern Soul's unique style -- like ribs coated with brown sugar and honey -- and its dedication to freshness.
For Sapp, learning that the restaurant was again chosen as top in the South was very special.
"My granny had 'Southern Living' magazines stacked in her office ... the stack was taller than me. I think that's what makes it really special ... we've all grown up with 'Southern Living,' he said. "And, hopefully, it will plug the island."
But Sapp and Bufkin don't let the attention go to their heads. It's simply business as usual, which means cooking fresh barbecue daily for patrons and serving it up in an authentic fashion. That, in fact, is what Sapp thinks sets their restaurant apart.
"We don't use gas. We never reheat things," he said. "But I think that there is a realness to it, too. Our front of house folks are super nice ... we just really are a real Southern barbecue joint. I think people like that."
It would certainly seem so. On any given day, the tables outside of the former gas station are packed with people enjoying their meals. Many of those diners, Sapp says, have been returning weekly for years.
"We've watched a bunch of people grow up. We've seem some go through school and are now in college. And we watched Drew (Love) grow up and become a professional golfer. It's been really awesome," he said.
The connection with the golfers extends past their friendship with local legend Davis Love III and his family. Southern Soul has made appearances at The Masters golf tournament in Augusta, which will return this weekend. They, too, will be headed back to Augusta National, this time serving up a dinner for more than 100 people.
"We've never done a dinner this large before ... we've done some catering for golfers and their families but it's been much more low key than this. It grows every year. This year we're actually going to TPC Sawgrass for The Players, too, we will be set up on the 10th tee, which is amazing," Sapp said.
This article is written by Lindsey Adkison from The Brunswick News, Ga. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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