Cox Cafe Celebrates 20 years serving Down-Home Cookin’
There aren’t a lot of spots in middle Georgia that look and feel just about the same way now as they did twenty years ago – either age and neglect have done their dirty work, or progress and modernization have forced a facelift. For the Cox Cafe downtown on Lower Poplar Street, though, the cliche “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” rings true – the restaurant celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year, making it a longstanding local institution for simple, solid Southern breakfasts and lunches served with familiarity and genuine kindness.
David Cox, owner and operator of Cox’s Cafe for the past twenty years, began his restaurant career in the same straightforward way he still runs his business today – “There was a place down here where I used to like to go and eat,” he says, “but it closed down. I thought, ‘Well, let me try that out,’ made ‘em an offer, they accepted, and here we are.” David’s culinary inspiration is the same as many a Southerner’s – “I learned how to cook from my mama,” he says. “Good ole Southern dishes – nothing like ‘em.”
And for breakfast and lunch five days a week for the past two decades, comforting Southern goodness cooked Mama-style is exactly what Cox Cafe has been serving its eager customers. Tucked away from the heart of downtown, closer to industrial Macon, Cox isn’t a place you stroll past and decide to check out – you pretty much have to know about it to go there, and plenty of local folks are in the know. “Most of my customers are men, actually,” David says. “Blue collar fellers, guys who work outdoors. I’m not sure where all of ‘em even come from, since a lot of the industrial stuff down here has shut down, but they still come out to get fed, and I’m still happy to feed ‘em.”
Men and women alike share an enthusiasm for the food at Cox, though – their breakfast menu sticks to the basic offerings, but they always get the eggs just right, and at lunch, the chicken & dumplings, lacy cornbread, squash casserole, and peach cobbler – among other offerings – get great reviews. David’s favorite dish on the menu? “Beef tips and rice,” he says. “And don’t forget to tell ‘em about the twelve layer chocolate cake!” Twelve layers. Lots of chocolate. Worth the drive. Consider yourself told.
When asked the secret of his success for the past twenty years in an industry that has seen massive local turnover, David answers quickly: “I want people to be happy and enjoy what they eat,” he says, “and if they’re not, I wanna know why, and then I wanna give ‘em something else that’ll make ‘em happy. We don’t get many complaints like that – most folks are happy with what they get here. I enjoy cooking and I like seeing people enjoy the food we cook. It’s as simple as that, really – and it’s what I tell my employees, too. Smile, treat ‘em right, be nice. If you can’t be nice, get out the door.” That’s a mindset that has served David Cox and his customers well; it’s kept folks coming in the door for consistently friendly service and filling, comforting meals for longer than most Macon restaurants have been open.
694 Lower Poplar Street
Hours: M-F 6-10 am Breakfast, 11am-2pm Lunch