Bennie’s Red Barn on St. Simons Island is the closest restaurant to where Tom and I live. It is the restaurant furthest north on the island. And, after living here for six weeks, we finally tried it.
We went to Bennie’s Red Barn with Mom and Dad after church one Sunday. Bennie’s is only open in the evening and on Sunday with a Brunch Buffet. We decided to try the Brunch Buffet even though we don’t usually eat enough to make a buffet worth the money. Half the restaurants on the island close on Sunday (this is the Bible Belt) and the open ones can get crowded.
The hostess seated us quickly when we arrived at Bennie’s Red Barn at noon. There were plenty of open tables. The Brunch Buffet is the only option on Sundays, so we placed our drink order and then scoped it out.
The food looked delicious. There were lots of meat options including fired chicken, pork chops, pulled pork, and prime rib. There were also lots of potatoes: mashed, hashed, boiled, and creamed. The salad bar was small but adequate.
Between the four of us, we tried most of the foods (I don’t think anyone had the grits). The barbecued chicken was very good. We all really liked the bacon – thick cut and crisp but not burned. The cornbread was dry but the homemade rolls were good. There were a variety of dessert options, including pecan pie, apple cobbler, warm chocolate chip cookies, and brownies.
The atmosphere inside Bennie’s Red Barn is unique on the island. It really looks like it used to be a barn. A big hearth dominates the interior – very inviting on a cooler day. Mounted animals hide in the rafters overhead. You can also eat on a deck outside that always has a big fire going in the evenings. Bennie’s Red Barn has Karaoke on Wednesdays, a Fish Fry on Thursdays, and live bands on Fridays and Saturdays.
Bennie’s Red Barn opened in 1954 and was run, until his death, by Bennie Gentile. Family history says that Bennie got the inspiration for the restaurant when he spent the night in a barn in Germany during World War II. The restaurant is still family owned and operated.
We enjoyed our brunch at Bennie’s Red Barn. The buffet was very reasonably priced and the food was well-prepared and delicious. Best of all, we had excellent companions for the meal.