Savannah lost a treasure when Mrs. Sema Wilkes passed on late last year, but could Savannah also lose the legacy she left behind? WTOC has learned Mrs. Wilkes' family is considering closing her world-famous restaurant. Every year, Mrs. Wilkes' restaurant closes down for the month of January and opens its doors back up to tourists come February. But the family isn't sure if it will open its doors ever again.
After her death, Mrs. Wilkes' family kept serving up the home-style food she was famous for. But if you never got the chance to dig into one of her dishes, it may be too late. Right now a sign hangs on the restaurant door that says closed. Wilkes' family would not go on camera with us today, but they say right now they are looking at all the pros and cons of either keeping this restaurant open or shutting it down.
Randall Bailey, who works for Old Town Trolley, told us, "They usually close in January so we weren't shocked about that, but to hear that they're not going to reopen, it's very, very, very sad. We carry a lot of people there."
People like Bailey know what a crowd Mrs. Wilkes could draw. He along with John Keaton at Old Savannah Tours know if Savannah were to lose Mrs. Wilkes, it would get a number of disappointed tourists in return.
"People that have never even been to the city come here in anticipation to eat there," noted Keaton.
Again, the family would not comment on what plans are being made for the restaurant, but granddaughter Marsha Thompson says they will be weighing out their options and making a decision toward the end of the month.