Downtown Icon Reopens with Stratford Connections

When H&H restaurant reopened last month, two Stratford students were on hand to help reopen the doors for one of Macon’s most iconic downtown restaurants.

Sophomore Jacob Zawacki and his sister Vanna, who is in 9th grade, are working part-time shifts busing tables and hosting at H&H, known for its delicious soul food and connection with Macon’s rich musical history — most notably the Allman Brothers Band.

Vanna said that “seeing everybody come in and be so happy to eat the food” has been the best part of working at the restaurant.

H&H closed in December 2013, according to the Macon Telegraph.  The closure was not long-lived due to the purchase of the restaurant by the Moonhanger Group.  Wes Griffith, one of the owners of the Moonhanger Group, also is the stepfather of Jacob and Vanna, and graduated from Stratford.  

H&H was opened by Inez Hill and Louise Hudson — “Mama Hill” and “Mama Louise” — on Forsyth Street in 1959, according to Wikipedia, and became famous for serving hungry musicians still looking for a big break.  Bands like the Allman Brothers would leave the restaurant with a full stomach, and pay when they could.  Mama Hill died in 2007, but Mama Louise continued to cook at the restaurant.

The restaurant was purchased in March by the Moonhanger Group — which owns several restaurants in Macon, including the Rookery and Dovetail — and has continued to serve Mama Louise’s recipes since it reopened.

The Zawackis, who are both new to Stratford this year, said that they have had little problem balancing work and school.   Jacob said that the original owner, Mama Louise — who still acts as a consultant at H&H — even offered Jacob weekend shifts to make sure the job did not interfere with school.

Both Vanna and Jacob were eager to give recommendations for Stratford students looking to visit H&H, including the white meat fried chicken and collard greens.

“The meatloaf is to die for,” Vanna added.