Editor's note: The Southern Foodways Alliance delves deep in the history, tradition, heroes and plain old deliciousness of Southern food. Today's installment comes courtesy of Amy Evans, oral historian and Eatocracy crush.
Earlier this morning, Dexter Weaver announced on his Facebook page that his namesake restaurant will close its doors at the end of this month:
"Weaver D’s Fine Foods is announcing that we will be closing the restaurant for good 2-3 weeks from today. The restaurant is for sale along with it’s contents. Come and get your last eat-on here at Weaver D’s, where our food has made us world famous for the last 27 1/2 years! Automatic, Dexter Weaver!"
Born in Athens, Georgia, in 1954, Dexter Weaver grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, where he tended an urban garden at his family home and began catering from his mother’s kitchen. When Dexter moved back to Athens in the early 1980s, he brought his culinary talents and entrepreneurial spirit with him, cooking for events and selling dinners from his home on the weekends.
In 1986 he opened Weaver D’s Delicious Fine Foods, naming the place after his childhood memories of being at the end of his teacher’s roll call. Weaver D’s quickly gained a reputation for freshly prepared soul food, as well as the unique personality of its owner. Dexter Weaver has a way with words, and his trademark saying, “Automatic for the People,” pushed him into the limelight when the Athens-based band R.E.M. used the phrase as the title for their 1992 album.
In the intervening years, Dexter has made television appearances and authored a cookbook. His singular style and soulful cooking will be sorely missed.
Visit the Southern Foodways Alliance's 2006 interview with Dexter Weaver for more.
Did you ever eat at Weaver D's? We'd love to hear your story in the comments below.
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I am a New Englander who was fortunate enough to attend UGA in the 90's. Some of the best memories of my life come from my time spent in Athens. I loved Weaver D's and hearing that famous " Auuuutomatic" every time I ordered my favorite chicken, Mac and cheese and collard greens. I am very sad to hear it is closing/ up for sale...but with time, I suppose everything must change. To tell you the truth, when I think of Weaver D's, my first memories are NOT of R.E.M. ( although I have separate memories of each of the band members) but of the tradition, the great food and the memory of the great people and experiences I shared with them each time I went there. I miss soul food, Athens and will always remember Weaver D's. I wish I could get some final 'fixins' sent to me across the country so I could taste it one more time! :(
We filmed here in 2009, when Endurance Traveler did the Athens to Atlanta (A2A) inline skating race episode. Dexter was great and the food was amazing. I also remember ESPN game day filming here. This is a huge loss for all soul food lovers.
Hey Dean, great to hear the Athens visit and meal at Weaver D's made such an impression. Hope you circle back around to visit us again– happy to help.
As a college student, my roommates and I would eat there every Sunday; appropriately dubbed "Sunday lunch". Ms. Betty, who worked the counter at Weaver D.'s, was hysterical. If you weren't ready to order, she would essentially yell at you and make you go to the back of the line. One of my roommates was consistently indecisive and Ms. Betty would yell at him every week. Thank you, Dexter. Your food brought many happy memories and your restaurant will forever be remembered.
Why would you need a cookbook for overcooked vegetables?
I grew up around Athens and have eaten there a few times. It just isn't as good as it used to be and they have priced themselves out of business. $12 for a plate like that is just too much to stand in line for. Stipe never pranced around town either...is very polite and unassuming.
Thiss guy should write a cookbook. Guess rem is having tough times since theyre closing the restaurant! Sad!
He did write a cookbook. It is right at the end of the story.
Shiney, happy people holding hands....
That's so original. Read before you post.
You have to be such a prick?
Dexter isn't going to close the place. He said it was closing last year, and there was a line a mile long. He's just getting some free advertising. A rather good idea, I think...
What a terrible loss for Athens. We used to eat there when we were visiting Athens doing various minor construction projects around UGA's campus (at night, when it was less of an inconvenience, of course).
Another victim of using food for fuel.
You think this is a political issue? Really?
Weaver D's was good, no doubt. But for my money, nothing could beat Wilson's Soul Food Cafe downtown. Ate there once a week while attending Georgia. Place saved me from starvation.
I remember eating there with my family growing up (I grew up in Georgia and lived there until I graduated college). It's sad to see the place close and kind of feels like the end of an era. To Mr. Weaver, I wish you nothing but the best. I'm saddened that work has brought me to Pennsylvania now and I won't get to go down for one last meal there.
Weaver D's = good place to eat. Automatic for the People is also an awesome album, my favorite of R.E.M.'s 90s albums, though New Adventures in Hi-Fi is close.
GO DAWGS!!! But jeez folks, R. E. M.is freaking horrible. Whining does not equal art. Stipes would prance around Athens like he was king of the world. Dbag for sure. Good eats though, for the morbidly obese!
You don't know good music nor talented musicians with that said dude. R.E.M. was one of the greatest bands of all time! That places food looks good as well! "Automatic For The People" forever!
Spoken like a true T,R,O,L,L. lol
Everybody is enti tled to their opinion. Just because it differs from yours, doesn't make him a troll of the lol variety. Grow up people.
The lols are probably because the guy is a critic of prancing. He knows good prancing from bad prancing, and that is important if you are going to be a troll who is automatic for the people.
Heh heh. Now tell us what your favorite band is so we can enjoy the irony. Never met Stipe but we have friends in common, and his numerous acts of generosity outweigh his personal weirdness.
I don't care if he pranced around throwing rose pedals in the air. I was R.E.M. on their Monster tour and they totally kicked azz.
Oh, and that third photo of the vegetable plate is do die for! I'm gonna get his cookbook.
The Dbag here is you, sir. I lived in Athens for 20 years and would like to correct you – though I am not a huge fan of REM either, Stipe did not "prance" around town. He is extremely low key and it makes me think that you're just trolling. You make me laugh.
Also, Weaver D's was not all that good in later years and he treats his employees like crap.
The restaurant closing is almost enough to cause me to lose my religion.
Everybody hurts when it closes.
It's the end of the world as we know it...
I'd like to try it out, but I can't get there from here.
Someone will buy it and the legacy will continue…it can be done….
if you believe…we put a man on the moon
I just asked the conductor on my train if we can get to Athens before Weaver D's closes. He says that we can reach our destination, but we're still a ways away
I like to talk about the passion of making them greens.
Goodbye, Weaver D's! You will be sorely missed! I spent a fair portion of my meager college discretionary funds enjoying the delicious food and Dexter's wonderful atmosphere during my days in Athens, and have to say that the world is losing a special place with this closing. First we lost Wilson's Soul Food, now Weaver's... Where's a good fried chicken and two veggie plate going to come from now?
The chicken livers were decent. Other than being owned by R.E.M. not sure why this place was that special. Buncha college kids worked here, so service was meh.
i don't think rem owned oit. i think they names an album after it.you really can't pay for that kind of advertising. i lived in the are a while ago. .the restaurant was always packed.
Eh ok for cheap southern food.
Food was greasy. I got sick there a couple of times. Also album though.
Weaver D's will be missed. Will be eating more Dawg gone good BBQ in its place.
Thats me in the corner....crying over the closed food place....
Never went there, but darn that vegetable plate looks good.
It does! :)
Wonderful food. The sweet potatoes are amazing. The restaurant AND the people will be sorely missed.
This place is absolutely the real deal. I lived about 100 yds. down the road while I was in school. An Athens landmark that kept me well fed during those years. Fried chicken white, country fried steak, ox-tails, and the most unbelievable broccoli casserole ever. Good luck to Weaver, wherever he ends up.
Went to this restaurant many times will attending UGA in the early 2000's. Food was awesome. This restaurant will be sorely missed by all who have had the pleasure of dining at Weaver D's.
And you are blaming Obama – why? The man is 59 years old, has become successful – here's a hint – maybe he decided to retire early.........
You have had your 30 seconds of trolling -
Pretty sure @thelibertarian was being sarcastic, at least I hope so. With so many right-wing nut jobs blaming the weather, the lunar eclispse, a broken nail, on Obama, it's become a joke. A lot of my liberal friends try to see how ridiculous a statement they can come up with followed by "Thanks Obama" to show how silly it is like "I haven't been regular since 2009. Thanks Obama."
Kind of like Kanye saying the the Confederate flag is "his". Yeah, that's silly, but so was the whole concept of the Confederacy. It neuters the hatred behind the symbol. As an approach, I like it. It's definitely a more healthy approach than trying to get into a discussion/argument with a RWNJ.
C'mon man, we all know everything is really Bush's fault.
It's one thing for the trolls to do it, but it's entirely different when the POTUS invokes lame excuses at every chance he gets.
Loved Weaver D's by the way. The experience was better than the food, but the food was good.
"POTUS invokes lame excuses " like "the last president got us into two boots on the ground shooting wars to make his VP rich and it blew up our economy?" Yeah, so lame.
Yes, that is one.
Wars don't blow up the economy. Maybe we shouldn't have been in them. Maybe they increase the debt. They don't cause people to lose their ability to pay their mortgage.
Not having a job, let alone a good paying job, prevents the economy from recovering. Obama has scared businesses into delaying hiring. Obama caused companies to cut hours for many who have a job. Obama has raised taxes on almost everyone. Obama has caused people to lose their health insurance. He, not Bush or his wars, is ruining our economy.
Grow a brain cell.
Try Zoloft. You'll be thanking it more than Obama.
Sad to see it go. Though AFTP was the beginning of the end for R.E.M. Yes, I'm one of those dweebs that saw them in 1983 and resented their later success.
Dang fine album... never been there but sounds like a dang fine restaurant.
mayo in mashed potatoes - got to find that recipe
Mayo is just oil and eggs. Nothing all that bad for your heart in moderation.
He should publish a cookbook so we won't totally be without his great cooking!
@Pam, if you read to the end of the article, you would know that he has already published a cookbook.
In your face, Pam.
That's what Jim said.
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