Statesboro's Hidden Culinary Gems: Vandys, Sugar Magnolia, and more

By Connor White
We’ve created a two part list of Statesboro’s best kept restaurant secrets. If you missed the first part check it out here.
El Rinconcito: Mexican restaurants have a complicated relationship with their own cuisine. Burritos, nachos and several others in the Taco Bell-esque pantheon aren’t actually Mexican at all; their roots are actually in Texas or Los Angeles. As a result, many restaurants whose menu primarily consists of these items find their claims of authenticity baseless at best, perpetuating a stereotype of what diners should expect.
This is not the case for El Rinconcito, one of Statesboro’s most humble establishments. True to their name (El Rinconcito means ‘The Corner’), El Rin is sparsely decorated and tucked away behind other, flashier eateries like Zaxby’s and Wendy’s. Make no mistake, they don’t need to fill the walls to fill their seats; the food is the focus, rather than the décor. It may not be as well known among Georgia Southern students as El Sombrero, but hopefully status quo will start to shift and Eagles everywhere start to flock to El Rinconcito instead.
Sugar Magnolia: There’s something poignant-ly romantic about the lavish architecture of cities like Savannah and New Orleans. Cobbled streets, wrought iron fences and stone pillars supporting lavish balconies lift the curb appeal to Elysium-like standards. Perhaps that’s what makes a dining experience at Sugar Magnolia so enjoyable.
Located next to the Eagle Creek Brewing Company, Sugar Magnolia offers pastries and both hot and cold varieties of sandwiches. And they are as well-equipped as a bakery and a restaurant, with multitudes of fresh baked bread available daily, as well as sweets like cookies and brownies. Sitting inside almost becomes a test of willpower, with that bouillabaisse of aromas wafting around your nose. As this is still a relatively less-traveled locale, you can expect your food to arrive within a matter of  .
Vandy’s: Everyone has a relative renowned for their cooking. These are the members of the family tree invited into the kitchen to concoct the most delicious of home-cooked meals, whether from ancestral recipes or just an expert’s touch. These meals can conjure up the most vivid of memories, of friends and family and good food. To experience such memories is to sit down at either of Vandy’s Barbeque locations.
Vandy’s sticks to the basics, with the intention of maintaining the highest of quality. Food is plated on nothing more than Styrofoam plates, and if you can look past your upturned nose at the simplistic presentation, you’re in for a treat. Vandy’s serves delicious, heaping portions of barbeque with other southern classics as sides, such as coleslaw, fried okra and Brunswick stew. They are particularly known for their pulled pork, available in both sandwiches and as plates, and as a godsend to college students, are remarkably inexpensive considering the portion size and flavor you receive in return.
Many of Statesboro’s older residents swear by Vandy’s reputation as a town institution. It’s time the younger generation understood that as well.