Ruth’s Family Restaurant is a comforting time capsule

to play

An egg, cooked any style, would cost you $1 at Ruth’s Restaurant in 1980, according to an ad in The Augusta Chronicle.

How times have changed. At Ruth’s in 2022, that same egg will now cost you $1.25.

“We’re probably the cheapest breakfast and lunch food in the area right now,” said Pete Garland, owner of Ruth’s Family Restaurant with his wife, Dee, since 2011.

The Garlands are the latest in a string of owners who have bought the unassuming restaurant at 3843 Washington Road from Martinez since the death of its founder, Ruth Goodbread, in 2013.

“She ate with us until the end,” Garland said. “She gave good advice and she drew a crowd.”

Augusta eats: Deep South Cheese and Grill offers a fresh taste of Canada

More from Augusta Eats: Augsburg Haus in Evans stays true to the founder’s Bavarian roots

Augusta eats again: Lokos Tacos serves up authentic flavor in a cozier space

Ruth’s serves “breakfast and Southern comfort food,” Garland said, with a lunch of meat and two vegetables for $8.99. A favorite breakfast item is the Pete’s Trash omelette, described on the menu as having “everything we can find in the kitchen, topped with corned beef hash.” There’s also the He-Man breakfast, which includes three eggs, a choice of bacon or sausage, oatmeal or home fries, and two pancakes.

Although the restaurant doesn’t advertise fast food, it’s not uncommon to “walk straight in and be seated and take your drink order in front of you while you wait for your food,” said Garland. Seating is less than 100, a total that is usually approached on Saturdays and Sundays, when customers may have to wait 10 or 15 minutes for an available table.

Leveraging its restaurant experience at the University Grill, formerly near the Medical College of Georgia, and the former Lakeside Diner on Gordon Highway, Goodbread owned and operated its own restaurants in the 1970s at 706 12th St. and into the 1970s. 1980 at 1236 Gordon Highway. , in an old Howard Johnson’s.

The remaining restaurant on Washington Road has changed hands several times over the past 20 or so years, with the word “Family” appearing in the name, but the customer loyalty has remained the same.

Mark Strickland lives in Appling, but eating at Ruth’s with family members on a recent morning reminds him of his childhood in Martinez. He ate at Ruth’s “intermittently, I guess, the whole time they were open, pretty much,” he said. “I couldn’t begin to put a time limit on it.”