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When you pick up a menu at Atlanta South Family Restaurant at the Atlanta South TA, you’ll get a story along with your meal choices. The menus feature real-life tales from or about truckers. One of the most recent is titled, “Why My Dad’s a Trucker.” And if you think that the thick, brown paper used for the menus is just meant to match the old West ranch-style decor, well, that’s only partly true. Site operator Bob Ryan wants customers to take a copy of the menu home to enjoy and share with friends and family.
At the table, be sure to read the rest of the menu too. There are lots of tantalizing tidbits. All-you-can-eat buffet is always a dining option, as is a meat-carving station near the Little Bighorn Buffet. “We built that carving station ourselves, right down to the pail that has a heat lamp in it. We created a good atmosphere, so then we just let people sit back, relax and enjoy their home-cooked meals,” says Ryan.
The food is a favorite with the locals too, and the restaurant has a thriving catering business.
One big happy family
If you feel as if you are being welcomed by family when you step into Atlanta South, it’s because you are. Bob Ryan has run the site for 27 years with the help of his wife, Susan, and son, Kevin. They extend their family feeling to everyone who walks in the doors.
“Our motto here is ‘treat everyone the way you would like to be treated,’ no matter if it’s toward an employee or a customer,” Ryan says.
Giving back to the community
Each year the Ryans hold a charity golf tournament for the community. So far they’ve raised $262,000 for local youth recreation in Jackson, Ga. Ryan was honored with the 2011 Georgia Recreation and Parks Association State Volunteer Award for his charitable work.
In the zone
The Atlanta South TA has gone through regular facelifts —15 to be exact — in its 27 years. The latest update took shape as The Coffee Zone, a brand new station that offers a delicious selection of brews, such as 100 percent Columbian and dark roast. Flavored syrups, including Irish cream and hazelnut add an extra kick to the coffee.
The revamped travel store gives a whole new feel to the place when drivers walk in. More room and better organization makes finding just the right item quick and easy. Or take some time to shop. There are shelves full of gifts just perfect for those waiting at home.
The main asset
“We’ve done a little bit of everything to make this place feel comfortable and safe for customers, right down to the bright lighting,” says Kevin Ryan. “But mostly it’s the people who make Atlanta South special. You can have all the brick and mortar you want, but people are what really matters.”
Where: I-75 & Georgia Hwy 36, Exit 201
Phone: (770) 775-2076
Fax: (770) 775-2807
Truck Parking Spaces: 108
Truck Service Bays: 4
Restaurant: Atlanta South Family Restaurant, Taco Bell Express, Subway