Watkinsville restaurant offers upscale comfort food

The Corndoggers are from Southern Prospect in Watkinsville, Georgia.

When the Banner-Herald pulled it Preacher Green Restaurant A few weeks ago, we noted that an East Side Athens restaurant was packed on opening day because its entire setup was based on a no-frills Southern brunch experience. The great thing about the local food scene is that there is something to suit every taste. So why mess with what works?

By contrast, risk is what Southern Prospect is all about. Located in the Wire Park development in Watkinsville, the restaurant is one of many new businesses in an outdoor mall-like environment that appears designed to welcome innovation. The city’s culinary scene is already rich in diversity, so putting a modern twist on the foods people are used to eating makes this concept stand out in the region.

There is beef:Known for its burgers and banana pudding, the Athens restaurant is opening a second location

Crispy Eggs from Southern Prospect in Watkinsville, Georgia.

Open for dinner Monday through Wednesday and lunch and dinner Thursday through Sunday, Southern Prospect offers a full bar, indoor and patio seating, and a stunning interior design to match the presentation. When the Banner-Herald stopped by, there was a 30-minute wait for a table as area residents flocked to be among the first to taste the menu.

The dinner atmosphere at Southern Prospect might push the “restaurants and appetizers” theme forward, but the atmosphere at lunchtime seemed like any buzzy new local spot, and wait times for appetizers stretched into another half-hour. The drinks menu features brown liquors, cocktails, wine and beer, and there are more non-alcoholic options than expected. The $6 “Over Yonder” anti-zero cocktail quickly rolled out and was an innovative mix of juices and syrups on top of soda drinks.

The Dirty South Burger with Gouda Mac & Cheese, Bacon, and Apple Butter BBQ Sauce from Southern Prospect in Watkinsville, Georgia.

Guests are spoiled for choice when it comes to Southern Prospect’s signature “table essences,” hors d’oeuvres designed for sharing. The Banner-Herald opted for $8 crispy eggs and $9 “Corndoggers,” portions that can easily satisfy parties of up to four. Instead of traditional cornmeal, the dogs’ Angus beef flavor came through well, but the eggs were the winner with the perfect combination of tried-and-true flavor and innovative texture.

Instead of larger main courses like chicken, steak or fish, the Banner-Herald took our server’s recommendation from the sandwich menu and ordered the “Dirty South,” a burger-and-fries combination that represents the crossroads of old-fashioned comfort and modernity. Create. These smashed-style chuck beef patties topped with smoked Gouda and cheese look like a complete picnic on a bun, especially when piled high with bacon and apple butter barbecue sauce. The only things missing are watermelon and fireworks.

To view the full menu at Southern Prospect, visit southernprospect.com. Would you like to see your restaurant, bar or food truck featured in a future Eat Athens article? Email story details to ashearer@onlineathens.com.

Black Caesar Salad from Southern Prospect in Watkinsville, Georgia.

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