November 4th, 2013
02:15 PM ET
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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.

Automatic, y’all.

Did you ever eat at Weaver D's? We'd love to hear your story in the comments below.

Read more at the Southern Foodways Alliance's blog

Previously:
Dessert debate: cake vs pie
Food crush: artist and Southern food historian Amy Evans
Chicken skins are the new pork rinds. Discuss.



soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Heather

    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! :(

    November 6, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
  2. Dean Warhaft

    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.

    November 5, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • athenscvb

      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.

      November 5, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
  3. Wes

    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.

    November 5, 2013 at 11:07 am |
  4. Flooby

    Why would you need a cookbook for overcooked vegetables?

    November 5, 2013 at 9:12 am |
  5. Tammy

    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.

    November 5, 2013 at 8:54 am |
  6. Billy

    Thiss guy should write a cookbook. Guess rem is having tough times since theyre closing the restaurant! Sad!

    November 5, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • Eric

      He did write a cookbook. It is right at the end of the story.

      November 5, 2013 at 8:49 am |
  7. silly2

    Shiney, happy people holding hands....

    November 5, 2013 at 8:12 am |
  8. Scott

    "Everybody Hurts....sometimes"

    November 5, 2013 at 7:52 am |
    • Geez Peeple

      That's so original. Read before you post.

      November 5, 2013 at 7:56 am |
      • SuperDave

        You have to be such a prick?

        November 5, 2013 at 8:07 am |
  9. Cam

    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...

    November 5, 2013 at 7:21 am |
  10. George P. Burdell

    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).

    THWG! ;-)

    November 5, 2013 at 7:17 am |
  11. Mass Produced

    Another victim of using food for fuel.

    November 5, 2013 at 7:15 am |
    • Jdubba

      You think this is a political issue? Really?

      November 5, 2013 at 7:43 am |
  12. David

    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.

    November 5, 2013 at 5:34 am |
  13. Eric

    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.

    November 5, 2013 at 1:12 am |
  14. John

    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.

    November 5, 2013 at 12:00 am |
  15. Jasin

    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!

    November 4, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
    • Jake

      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!

      November 5, 2013 at 12:15 am |
    • pmmarion

      Spoken like a true T,R,O,L,L. lol

      November 5, 2013 at 7:14 am |
    • Geez Peeple

      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.

      November 5, 2013 at 7:24 am |
      • Albert the Alligator

        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.

        November 5, 2013 at 7:56 am |
    • Albert the Alligator

      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.

      November 5, 2013 at 7:54 am |
    • JellyBean

      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.

      November 5, 2013 at 8:30 am |
      • JellyBean

        Oh, and that third photo of the vegetable plate is do die for! I'm gonna get his cookbook.

        November 5, 2013 at 8:32 am |
    • Rell

      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.

      November 5, 2013 at 8:38 am |
  16. Amos

    The restaurant closing is almost enough to cause me to lose my religion.

    November 4, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
    • Matt

      Everybody hurts when it closes.

      November 5, 2013 at 12:35 am |
    • wesley lee

      It's the end of the world as we know it...

      November 5, 2013 at 5:57 am |
    • Chicagoan

      I'd like to try it out, but I can't get there from here.

      November 5, 2013 at 6:58 am |
    • Lenny

      Someone will buy it and the legacy will continue…it can be done….
      if you believe…we put a man on the moon

      November 5, 2013 at 7:26 am |
    • mander

      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

      November 5, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
  17. UGAMBA

    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?

    November 4, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  18. Blue Dawg

    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.

    November 4, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • joeblowski

      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.

      November 4, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
  19. Gretchen

    Eh ok for cheap southern food.

    November 4, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
  20. Mike the American

    Food was greasy. I got sick there a couple of times. Also album though.

    November 4, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
  21. Joe

    Weaver D's will be missed. Will be eating more Dawg gone good BBQ in its place.

    November 4, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
  22. Andrew

    Thats me in the corner....crying over the closed food place....

    November 4, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
  23. marc

    Never went there, but darn that vegetable plate looks good.

    November 4, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
  24. GaPeach

    Wonderful food. The sweet potatoes are amazing. The restaurant AND the people will be sorely missed.

    November 4, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
  25. Alex H

    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.

    November 4, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
  26. Franklin

    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.

    November 4, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
  27. The Libertarian

    Thanks Obama.

    November 4, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • Someone

      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 -

      November 4, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
      • jb_n_atl

        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.

        November 4, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
        • Millennials_are_hypocrites

          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.

          November 5, 2013 at 6:57 am |
        • Albert the Alligator

          "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.

          November 5, 2013 at 8:38 am |
        • Albert_is_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.

          November 5, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • BorgX

      Grow a brain cell.

      November 4, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • marc

      Try Zoloft. You'll be thanking it more than Obama.

      November 4, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
  28. jim

    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.

    November 4, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
  29. McBob79

    Dang fine album... never been there but sounds like a dang fine restaurant.

    November 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
  30. bubba's cousin

    mayo in mashed potatoes - got to find that recipe
    AUTOMATIC
    FOR THE
    PEOPLE

    November 4, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • Andy

      Automatic heart-attack!

      November 4, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
      • Andrew

        Mayo is just oil and eggs. Nothing all that bad for your heart in moderation.

        November 4, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • Pam

      He should publish a cookbook so we won't totally be without his great cooking!

      November 4, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
      • Brian

        @Pam, if you read to the end of the article, you would know that he has already published a cookbook.

        November 4, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
        • Michael Scott

          In your face, Pam.

          November 5, 2013 at 1:29 am |
        • Phyllis

          That's what Jim said.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:50 pm |

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