Long Beach’s hot new food hall and shopping center, Long Beach Exchange(LBX), has gained a valuable new addition in Georgia’s, which serves–by their description–”Southern-inspired comfort food.” By our description, it’s simply delicious.
The LBX location is actually their second outpost; for the last five years, the flagship restaurant has enjoyed a loyal following in the Anaheim Packing District as a fast-casual restaurant. The Long Beach spot is a sit-down restaurant in an airy, comfortable corner space directly across from the LBX food hall. It is the first full-service restaurant in a center otherwise occupied by stores and grocery.
The businesses have been a labor of love for Gretchen “The Hugger” Shoemaker and her family, whom everyone calls Nana Gretchen. Named after her late husband George, who played sous chef for years while she ran a successful Orange County catering business, Georgia’s exudes the joy Nana Gretchen readily admits she feels in sharing her food with people. She and her family warmly welcome guests as they enter and work to ensure their experience is a good one.
The menu is full of standard soul food fare, executed flawlessly. The fried chicken uses dark meat only and is juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside, due to a 12-hour brine followed by a buttermilk dip and generous layer of Nana Gretchen’s grandmother’s special coating recipe. The Red beans and rice are moist and have a good zing. The jambalaya is chock full of shrimp, sausage, chicken and is spicy and flavorful. The beef ribs fall off the bone, with a sweet and tangy sauce. The real standout is catfish, hot, flaky and moist with the same coating as the chicken.
There are also sides like potato salad, collard greens, mac and cheese, green salad, and fried green tomatoes, which are juicy and succulent, served with lemon aioli. Cornbread muffins are moist and just the right amount of sweet, due to the batter being folded and not stirred. They have a good corn flavor and are served with honey butter. If you have enough room for peach cobbler, it is tender and firm at the same time, with mildly sweet peaches topped with a crisp, cinnamon pastry.
Georgia’s soul food will leave you satisfied and happy, just what Nana Gretchen and her family are shooting for. The Grand Opening was yesterday, July 18. Starting Friday, July 19 the restaurant will be open Monday through Thursday from 11:00 am – 9:00 pm; Friday from 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.; Saturday from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Georgia’s Restaurant, 4101 McGowen St, Long Beach, CA 90808 – (562) 420-5637