Savor the flavor of classic Southern cooking – mixed with a little Tennessee history – at Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House & Restaurant in Lynchburg.
This historic attraction’s origin dates back to the 1820s, when a portion of the building was constructed around a spring that’s still visible today. The structure received an addition in 1867, and it operated as the Salmon Hotel until Miss Mary Bobo purchased it in 1908. She turned it into a boarding house, where she hosted both short- and long-term guests and became well-known for her midday meals.
“Miss Mary Bobo’s is a Lynchburg institution,” says Laura Zimbrick, manager of hospitality for the Jack Daniel Distillery, which currently owns Miss Mary Bobo’s. “Miss Mary and her daughter would host lunches – usually called ‘dinners’ here in Lynchburg – for their guests and members of the community, giving them a wonderful experience based around food and storytelling. It was truly something special.”
Miss Mary, the first female business owner in Lynchburg, cooked for and served diners until she passed away a month shy of her 102nd birthday in 1983. However, her spirit remains alive in the restaurant as people continue to come from far and wide to gather around tables at lunchtime (or “dinnertime,” as she would have called it) and choose from an ever-changing menu of Southern comfort food must-haves like fried chicken, fried okra and mashed potatoes.