Either Zebulon Road off of I-475 or Eisenhower Pkwy (runs from I-475 on the West to I-75 on the East) both have shopping centers and the regular chain restaurants. There are more options on Eisenhower, but Zebulon is a better area --- It is about 50 miles to Dublin from Macon, but most of the restaurants are a good 10 miles from the interstate. Again I would recommend a Golden Corral or now that I know you are traveling south, you might want to look at Buckners Family Restaurant at the intersection of Ga Hwy 36 and I-75 -- Family style country buffet. You might also want to look at the Tanger Outlet Malls at the Locust Grove exit.
There is a Cracker Barrel at the Arkwright/Riverside Exit off I-75 in Macon just before you get on I-16. You might call ahead and they could help you. There is also several other restaurants in the area like Longhorn's and Outback and S&S Cafeteria.
If you want to go to dinner as a group, Willow On Fifth is in Macon. Or at least it used to be; tried to find a number for you and couldn't find one so I'm not sure if they are still open. It's a buffet and has Southern cooking. There is also a Piccadilly near the mall. If you're only going from Atlanta to Dublin, I would wait to eat in Dublin. You're almost to Dublin when you get to Macon and there are quite a few dining choices in Dublin.
Willow on Fifth closed over a year ago. I miss it too.
I highly recommend the Arkwright/Riverside exit from I-75 that was mentioned above, although off the top of my head I can't think of a specific restaurant to recommend for a bus load. But that's always been my favorite place to stop in Macon; they have a Barnes & Noble that serves coffee, Steak & Shake, Dunkin' Doughnuts, several more fast food places, and a couple of sit-down restaurants that I've never taken the time to eat at. The Cracker Barrel is maybe a quarter or a half a mile from the others, on a different road that runs parallel to the Interstate. (You turn right getting off the Interstate and then right at the first intersection.) The only place there that I won't eat at is the Kentucky Fried Chicken, due to a bad experience there about 15 years ago (and I'm sure they've changed management since then!). The last time I was in Macon was last August but I don't think it would have changed much since then.
What a depressing set of options. I have little assistance to offer, but would comment that there's an Italian restaurant in Macon that people rave about, so you might want to get on the Macon forum or Georgia forum and get the name of that. Otherwise, why not eat in Atlanta? Or stop for bbq? I'm sure the bbq joints thread ere will list some places south of Atlanta.
Well if you don't like all the chain restaurants then I've got one for you. Nuway weiners is world famous. In fact Oprah ate there when she visited Macon last fall. Check out that place if you want something different!!!!
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