Foodie Travels: Nic & Norman’s, Senoia, Ga.

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We love all things The Walking Dead. So, while visiting central Georgia to take an official tour of the studio property where the AMC show is filmed, we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to also eat burgers at a restaurant operated by director Greg Nicotero and actor Norman Reedus.

My wife Molly had once previously visited quaint-but-happening Senoia, a town founded right after the American Civil War and tucked away in the Georgia pine forests about an hour south of Atlanta. This was my first time, and my custom in any maiden voyage to a Southern locale is to scope out the best opportunity to score a great local burger. Nic & Norman’s was the place.

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Walking into Nic & Norman’s is akin to entering a tavern in other old-South culture nirvanas like Savannah or New Orleans. There’s jazz-ish music playing. Wood accents and an attractive bar full of plenty of glass bottles create a stunning visual backdrop for a meal. The wait staff is professionally dressed. It’s lunchtime on a Sunday.

To be transparent, the menu offers flatbreads, Southern comfort dishes like meatloaf or chicken pot pie, and other options, but the list of burgers was what beckoned us, along with the famous names on the sign out front.

Per my tradition, I ordered a classic, served with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, pickles and “N&N” sauce. The sauce was slightly peppery, not too overpowering. The veggies were fresher than most I find on my burgers. The beef was flavorful and juicy, yet cooked well to perfection, just the way I like it.

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Molly went after the Mexican burger I spotted and pointed out to her, a possible blend of both the Latin food influences she loves and the great American-style burger. She left off the jalapeno as neither of us are much a fan of super spicy flavors and after-effects. (I learned that all too well on previous food adventures by trying Nashville Hot Chicken in Tennessee and the specialty green chile cheeseburgers in New Mexico.) No fear about flavor without the peppers. The avocado and cilantro-lime mayo gave the burger quite a nod to the tastebuds. And when the menu says melted queso, it’s not a lie. We’ve got visual proof. (Just look above!)

Our burgers were about $12 each, which isn’t bad considering they were substantial sandwiches AND came WITH crispy-outside and hearty-inside sidewinder fries. You can also choose sweet potato fries OR substitute a side like Southern-favorite fried okra for an extra buck.

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As is required of any meal with a Southern flair like Nic & Norman’s, we chose sweet tea as our tasty beverages to wash down our burgers. Kudos, restaurant runners, on serving the tea in Mason jars. And, as a bonus, the tea tasted like tea that had brewed long enough, not just sugar water, and we love that. It added to the feel of the whole dining experience, making it a true Southern meal.

We didn’t opt for dessert. The burgers were just so satisfyingly filling. But a special sweet-endings menu offers several tempting options that might change from time to time, including a few from a partnering local dessert shop. Your server will ask if you’re interested.

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It’s our understanding that Nicotero (Pennsylvania) and Reedus (Florida) aren’t exactly from the heart of the South, but it’s clear they have a solid understanding of how to establish a strong Southern restaurant. So many touches at Nic & Norman’s display that.

If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead—either the show, the comic book or both—you should put Senoia on your to-do list. Even if you’re not a fan of zombies, and I must admit TWD is my main interest in the genre because of the relationships between its characters, Senoia is a great Southern town to visit. It’s a refreshing escape from the bustle of metro Atlanta, and Nic & Norman’s, with its Hollywood connections and its Southern charm, fits right in.

Nic & Norman’s, 20 Main Street, Senoia, Ga.

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