Next time you're craving traditional southern cuisine, you really need to stop by Jamestown's Southern Roots Restaurant

Months ago, sis took me to Southern Roots in Jamestown, NC for lunch on a Monday. Which turned out to be one of the days the restaurant is closed. Joy's disappointment was palpable and since we'd gotten in the door (they were doing inventory or some such so the doors were unlocked and employees were onsite,) I could see a little about why, without even having tasted a bite. Charming.

Friday our schedules finally lined up again on a day Southern Roots was open, there was no 4 year old in tow, and we were in Jamestown. Ta da! I know where we're going for lunch today!

The Southern Roots menu reflected their name spectacularly. I sat for the longest time, brain whirling with the difficulty of the situation: all these yummy food choices. What if I chose wrong? I was appropriately hungry and wanted to make sure I really sampled their fare. So I asked our server, a lovely woman whose name I wish I'd gotten but did not, and her answer couldn't have been better - nor less helpful. A self-described foodie, she admitted she's had everything on the menu, and really doesn't have a favorite choice. Because she loves it all. Yea, thanks for that. Though I didn't blame her. If I worked there, I'd try it all too, and based on the reactions of the other diners around us, I'd love it all, equally.

Having come close to ordering the lump crab cake with "Plantation slaw" I failed to pay close enough attention when she told me what kind of aoli was drizzled over it because I was too busy paying attention to the fact that she'd mentioned the portion size of this particular dish wasn't huge. No. Better save that, then, for a day when I'm feeling less hungry.

And so I ordered the "4 Sides" plate, having agreed with sis that it would be fun to get a nice variety to really sample their regional offerings. My own? Spinach and garlic, spring squash and onions, fried okra, and... cheese grits! Oh yes, babies, I had perfectly prepared cheese grits Friday and made, as my nephew would say, "A Happy Plate!" Barely a drop left on it.

Those cheese grits were every bit as good as my Aunt Betty's, and the fried okra rivaled that of my Bigmama's. In fact, the okra tasted almost exactly like Bigmama's only she used to slice hers in little circles whereas they sliced theirs length-wise, retaining the prettiness of that particular vegetable that is typically not featured as a bonus when one eats the traditional southern dish. And the spinach? Pretty much prepared exactly the way I would have, only in my home when I'm not basking in Southern Lunch Indulgences, I hold back on the oil a little more than they did. Never mind. You have to live a little. Eat your healthy greens most days of the week, then when you're feeling really in need of some down home cookin? Yea. Just stop worrying about the oil.

We lingered over the table, laughing and catching up on each other's stories, I leaned on one of the arm pillows placed along all booth seats, and the clinking and laughter around us added to the visual ambience. Full tummies, satisfied diners... hope you get to try them out soon, too! I think I've already set up my next date there. Maybe I'll bump into you there!

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Photos taken with iPhone.