A few weeks ago I was trying to think of restaurants to visit that are unique to Auburn and a friend suggested checking out Good Ol’ Boys Restaurant. I hadn’t eaten there in years and was excited to check them out as I remember people raving about their good steaks at good prices. Another thing I remember is the restaurant being in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by pasture; fitting for a favorite among students at an ag school. Giving credit where credit is due, I decided to take my buddy out for dinner to Good Ol’ Boys. Here’s what I discovered on our journey.
First of all, my memory was right, the place is in the middle of nowhere. It’s across the interstate (i.e. “over the bridge”) and out past Surfside Water Park. In other words, it’s out there. I overestimated how far “out there” it was to start with as I had almost traveled into the next county before realizing I had passed my turn. You need to make a left turn at the service station where County Road 10 (Sandhill Road) crosses over College Street. After turning onto Sandhill Road drive about two more miles and Good Ol’ Boys will be on your left.
The first thing most will notice is that the restaurant is surrounded by pasture. I think it’s only fitting that a place known for their steaks would be located in the middle of a pasture. Unfortunately, any cows you see roaming that pasture (our visit was cow-less) will not make it onto your dinner plate. The steaks are fresh, but not that fresh. All steaks from Good Ol’ Boys are fresh in that they are aged on site and meat is cut daily in the Good Ol’ Boys kitchen. The exterior of the building is unassuming. The restaurant is located within an old house (I think), so it has a definite laid-back, “down home” feel going for it.
Walking through the entrance we were promptly greeted by a hostess who showed us to our seats in the massive dining area. We visited on a Thursday night and there were plenty of empty tables. I think this was more a function of how big the restaurant is than how many people were dining in that night. I’m fairly confident that the place gets full on the weekend. I say this because it seemed to me that a lot of the clientele knew their servers so I deduced that there are many Good Ol’ Boys “regulars” and I guess they probably pack the place during the weekend.
One of the first things you’ll notice upon entering the dining area is the “salad wagon”. I don’t know if they call it that, but that’s what it is. Maybe it’s called the “salad schooner”...either way, the salad bar is housed in a covered wagon. It’s a neat little thing that distinguishes Good Ol’ Boys from other restaurants. The feel and decor are nice and inviting, but what about the food?
One thing I noticed about Good Ol’ Boys was the simple menu. Good Ol’ Boys doesn’t provide you with a ton of options, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you are visiting, you’re most likely there for the items they’re known for, their steaks. They do have catfish, chicken and shrimp on the menu, but we visited for the steaks and steaks are what we ordered. My friend Brooke and I both decided to try the ribeye. I ended up trying the salad bar because I’m trying to break into modeling and also because I wanted to say I “rode the salad wagon” (figuratively of course). We also ordered an appetizer, cheese sticks. The cheese sticks were nothing special. My guess is they were frozen, but let’s be honest, if you’ve tasted one cheese stick you’ve basically tasted them all.
I made my way to the salad bar, excited about its potential. It’s not an unlimited salad bar, but the plates are large enough that you can fit a lot of salad on them. The salad bar was decent. It wasn’t dirty, which is a huge plus, but the selection of items left a bit to be desired. Not only were the salad options limited, the dressing options were too. Disappointing as this was, I came for the steak, not a killer salad. So how was the steak? It was pretty good.
I love ribeyes and can say this one was perfectly cooked. I ordered medium and it turned out a perfect medium. The steak had a nice flavor to it, requiring no steak sauce. Overall I’m not a fan of sauce as I believe using sauce hides the flavor of the meat. I’m not against rubs or seasonings (or even sauces designed for a meat dish), but if you give me a steak and I have to use lots of sauce on it, you probably overcooked it or did a bad job seasoning it.
The steak was good, but it wasn’t anything better than what you could get at a place like Outback. Overall, I’d say the value of the meal was decent. I paid around $11 for a ribeye and salad bar. That’s a fair price, but you might be able to get more for a similar price at Outback or even Golden Corral. The overall value of my dollar is what disappointed me about Good Ol’ Boys. It’d be nice to have a stronger salad bar since you only get one go at it (only one side is served with your steak). The only things that really kept the visit from being a total bust were the unique atmosphere and wonderful service. Our waitress was extremely attentive and helpful. That in itself will probably be the reason I go back to Good Ol’ Boys again. You get friendly, personable service, something that’s not really guaranteed at chain restaurants.
I suggest you give Good Ol’ Boys a try, it’s a nice local restaurant that’s family friendly (take mom, dad and the grandparents when they’re in town). It’s one of the better cooked steaks I’ve eaten lately, but as far as value for your dollar you aren’t getting anything you couldn’t find at a chain restaurant. If you do visit I suggest you avoid getting an appetizer unless you’re really hungry. I’m pretty sure they’re just frozen items similar to ones you can pick up at your local supermarket. The only reasons I can give as to why you should visit Good Ol’ Boys instead of a chain is the fact that the cook seems to know how to get a steak right and the friendly service. So the next time you’re craving a steak and a nice drive through the middle of nowhere, consider stopping by Good Ol’ Boys.