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Ida Mae and Joe's Restaurant
MN IdaMae2
The Midway Museum showcases artifacts, records and furnishings that date back to the 1700s. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday. - photo by Photo by Matt Norsworth
Sitting at a table one afternoon with Tommy and Delores Vann, proprietors of Ida Mae and Joe’s Restaurant in Midway, they were asked, “What is your specialty or what have you been known for?”  
“The baked chicken and dressing, hands down,” Tommy Vann replied, “We’ve been serving that every Thursday for over 65 years.”
The consistent good food and good service everyone has received throughout the years are what the Vann’s feel has kept them busy and in business for so long.  
Ida Mae and Joe’s Restaurant was built in 1939 as a 24-hour truck stop and restaurant.
The business remains in the same exact building and location today. The gas tanks and pumps were removed after Ida Mae died about 18 years ago. It was only at her death the restaurant had ever closed.
Patrons have included tourists and truckers from all over the country. It has been featured in the Savannah Morning News and the Atlanta Journal and Constitution.
The restaurant has also been mentioned in several columns in some Northern newspapers written by visitors who stopped by Ida Mae and Joe’s and returned home and shared information about the eatery, according to Tommy Vann.
Delores Vann began working as a waitress at Ida Mae and Joe’s Restaurant in 1965 when she was 18. She and her husband have been operating the restaurant for the past 14 years, and Ruby Ware has been cooking there for 17.
Customers can expect Southern home cooking from the restaurant — the same as Ida Mae and Joe Smith intended it when they first started.  
The sign in front of the business on Highway 17 sometimes raises an inquiring eyebrow from tourists and locals as it refers to the restaurant’s location as “North Midway.”  
Tommy Vann assures it was for no other known reason other than the direction the restaurant sits along Highway 17 in relation to the light and intersection at Highway 84.
Ida Mae and Joe’s Restaurant is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday; and 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
Delores Vann said breakfast and dinner are the busiest times of the day and Saturday is the busiest day.
At times, if it gets too busy for the waitresses, the regular customers will place their own orders with the cooks or get their own drinks.
One of the benefits of Ida Mae and Joe’s is that it’s a place where everyone feels at home and everyone gets along - customers and employees alike.
There are no plans to change anything about this quaint building in the middle of what was once known as a popular 24-hour truck stop.
Tommy and Delores Vann said they want to continue to see a good balance between the old and the new in terms of the historic aspects of Midway and its growth and development.
Ida Mae and Joe’s Restaurant will remain an important part of the past and future of Midway.
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