A line gathers each morning at 107 West Jones Street. At 11 o'clock, the doors of 107 open and the lunch crowd finds seats at one of the large tables-for -ten shared by strangers.
Tabletops are crowded with platters of fried chicken and cornbread dressing, sweet potato souffle, black-eyed peas, okra gumbo, corn muffins and biscuits. The menu changes daily so regulars can have something different every day. Stop by and enjoy the special pleasure of a meal shared with neighbors and strangers.
Most Southern towns used to boast a boardinghouse where you could find a simple, quiet room and a communal dining room that offered at least two hearty meals a day. Boardinghouse food was de rigueur daily fare for locals, among them young, working class laborers, schoolteachers, bankers, washerwomen and middle-class merchants alike.
In 1943, a young Sema Wilkes took over a boardinghouse in historic downtown Savannah. Her goal was modest: to make a living by offering comfortable lodging and homestyle Southern cooking served family style in the downstairs dining room. Mrs. Wilkes picked up where the previous proprietor left off, cultivating relationships with nearby farmers who dug sweet potatoes for her in the fall and shelled whippoorwhill peas in the summer.