In post-modern times, two extremes seem to exist in retail: single location small businesses or huge national chains, so it is always fun to be able to cover a local or regional chain since so few exist today. That is how Carey Hilliard's caught my attention. Carey Hilliard's is not a restaurant that is known to those of us in the northern part of Georgia or much of anywhere else, but this seems to be a staple of Savannah. It was also previously located in Charleston, SC as well. Up here, there is much to choose from ranging from succulent and expensive down to tasty, reasonable local joints offering a unique taste: several of which have gone national such as Moe's Southwest Grill. Carey Hilliard's, however, seems to have remained a local fare and a bit more old-fashioned. Its founder of the same name died in 1982, but the restaurant has remained successful for over 25 years since. 
It should be noted that Carey Hilliards is definitely a family style restaurant, featuring an odd combination of two Deep South specialties: seafood and barbeque. It is modestly priced, but is also not for the health-conscious as most of their food is fried. All in all, it is basically a few notches above Shoney's, but with a more local flavor. It has since left Charleston, but the restaurant not only lingers in Savannah, but also a new location was recently opened in Statesboro. The second is likely there to serve primarily the families of college students and crowds of football fans that come to Georgia Southern University: a relatively strong market for inexpensive family-style restaurants.
The story of Carey Hilliard's is that it opened in 1960, and it has since expanded to about 8 locations. The location pictured here is likely one of the first, if not the original. The Statesboro location opened this year as one of the newest locations. Historically, Carey Hilliard's was quite popular and highly rated, though some of the latest reviews and Charleston closings suggest the chain unfortunately may be struggling. I thought about trying it on my last visit, but did not. Because of that, I have no opinion at this point: I just liked the sign and style of the place. Nevertheless, I would be more than glad to expand this thread about the place once I find out a little more about it.
I really cannot vouch if this place actually has good food, but it is nice to see that a few popular local restaurant chains continue to operate such as this one. If it is a good place to eat, places like this give a unique taste and identity to a city that helps to draw more people to visit. While the buzz these days is largely around Paula Deen's restaurant, I wanted to focus on a low key local classic that came long before Ms. Deen put Savannah cuisine squarely on the national map.