On any given Sunday thousands of local tourists head for the mountains of North Georgia, and if Dahlonega is anywhere near their destination, you can be assured that the Smith House is on their itinerary. Tourists have been eating here since the Smith's bought the home from Captain Frank Hall almost 80 years ago.
Hall's Block is one of the oldest buildings still standing in downtown Dahlonega, in the northwest corner from the Gold Museum. Originally a dry goods store it has served many functions throughout the years. Hall, a successful local businessman decided to build a home, office, storage area and farm near the downtown area and purchased an acre of land just off the square. Shortly after excavation for the home began in 1895, his son told the Captain of finding a rich vein of gold during the dig. Captain Hall immediately prepared to mine the vein, but could not convince city fathers to let him dig for gold so near the city.
Exasperated in his attempts to convince them otherwise, Hall ordered the house built directly on top of the vein. Hall ended up moving to Atlanta, where he died. His heirs sold the home to Bessie Smith and her husband Henry in the early 1922. Bessie developed the restaurant and attracted folks with her southern fried chicken and country vegetables. Old-timers say that she would watch over the dining room from a vantage point in her kitchen. Sold by the Smiths in 1946, the Smith House retained it reputation for serving some of the finest food around.
The cooking is decidedly southern and service is family-style in the basement of the Hall's former home (and the nearest place to the vein of gold). The fried chicken is crisp on the outside while retaining a juicy, tender inside. Vegetables are a highlight, but the mashed potatoes fall a little short.
Prices do vary based on the meal. We highly recommend a visit if you're roaming through this neck of the woods. If you have questions about pricing or dinner for the Smith House, call them at (800) 852-9577 or if you're already in the area, (706) 867-7000. They are an inn, so they have rooms available. Although we have not stayed in the rooms, friends have related that they are clean and well appointed.
Location: Highway 19 (Chestatee St.) at Choice Ave.
Directions: Two blocks south of the Square in Dahlonega on Chestatee St.
Dahlonega Gold Museum
Lumpkin County History
Georgia's Gold Rush
Vogel State Park
The Smith House
84 South Chestatee Street
Dahlonega, Georgia 30533
Date added: November 16, 2003
Last update: January 8, 2005