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Home.Made Gives New Meaning to Southern Comfort Foods

By Marina I. Jokic

Since setting up shop on Baxter Street, Home.Made has earned multiple accolades and a loyal customer following. The restaurant and catering service was recently distinguished by the "Taste of Athens" award for best caterer and voted Athens' favorite new restaurant by locals. Initially offering only catering service, Home.Made now proudly cooks lunch and dinner and rents out their private space for events.

"I wanted to have a restaurant, but didn't have any money so I started out as a personal chef," Maumus said. "The name Home.Made was created to convey that the food would be made at your home and would also be homemade."

Chef and owner Mimi Maumus is a New Orleans native, schooled in the ways of the region's rich culinary mélange and unafraid to experiment with bold flavors and textures. Learning the ways of the Southern kitchen from her grandmother Jane LeGardeur, Maumus found cooking to be a creative process which completely enthralled her.

LeGardeur instilled a love for freshly cooked food in Maumus and taught her how to make preserves, pickles, and chutneys, and the family favorite pepper jelly. Born and raised in New Orleans, Maumus grew up on regional cuisine, which was always seasonal, fresh, and rooted in the local environment. Her family's garden was plentiful with mirlitons, figs, tomatoes, green beans, and pecans which Maumus' father would effortlessly transform into signature Louisiana specialties. Weekends were usually spent fishing at Shell Beach and catching the freshest of seafood. Trout meuniere, jambalaya, blackened redfish, and boiled crab are just some of Maumus' childhood favorites.

Maumus' path to the culinary field was unexpected in a way. While earning her undergraduate degree in psychology, she worked in independently owned restaurants where she was relatively free to experiment with her own ideas and develop as a chef. She cooked everything, from no-frills dishes like chicken fingers and pizza to the more extravagant like Brandade de Morue, a whipped salt cod gratin. Through her restaurant experience, Maumus completed an extensive kitchen tour of duty while finding her own unique style.

"At lunchtime, I love our faux boy [because] it reminds me of New Orleans and tastes so much like a fried shrimp po-boy that it is [the] perfect [nostalgia food] for me," Maumus said. "Our oyster loaf is another favorite and reminds me of my grandparent's favorite oyster bar and one of their signature menu items."

Other dinner favorites include the seared flounder with smoked chiogga beets and orange braised fennel, the gulf shrimp and grits, and the Manicotti crepes with housemade ricotta and roasted brown beech mushrooms.

"We take our food, beverages, and service very seriously but we want our guests to feel super cozy [too]," she said.

Home.Made's ambiance is a blend of Southern hospitality and sophisticated charm. The atmosphere at Home.Made is thoughtfully created with a lot of personal touches. Avoiding the generic and stuffy, Maumus wanted to share some of her personal story in the décor of the restaurant. She inlaid the water meter cover from her childhood home into the floor of the restaurant to bring her good luck. It's the attention to detail and Maumus' entrepreneurial spirit that set this restaurant apart.

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About The Author

Marina Jokic holds a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College in Russian and East...

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