COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — The founder of a popular downtown Columbus restaurant that serves the traditional Southern meat-and-three menu has died.

Minnie Hanneman founded Minnie’s Uptown Restaurant more than three decades ago.

She died Thursday at 89.

WRBL interviewed Minnie back in April and here’s what she had to say about opening the restaurant.

“If you would have seen that restaurant, you would never have opened it… It was all run down,” she said. “So, I had to start by fixing the walls and fixing the air conditioning, heating, and all that you have to have in there.”

It was not an easy task.

” … But afterward, it was worth the effort because the people started coming in and they were so happy to have a place to eat, and good food to eat,” she said.

One of those people was Muscogee County Superior Court Judge Gil McBride. When he was in private practice, his law office was just across First Avenue from Minne’s.

“Minnie’s would not have been Minnie’s without Minnie herself, sitting in the booth near the serving line, greeting newcomers and regular customers with the same warmth,” McBride said. “Minnie served traditional Southern food —with a strong emphasis on vegetables, well seasoned and properly cooked. She kept pepper sauce on the tables and served chopped onions on the side to go over peas and greens. She got the big picture of Southern cooking, but did not miss the details that separate a place like Minnie’s from a chain restaurant.”

And sometimes eating there was a sweet experience. Because what would a proper Southern lunch be without dessert?

“She ran one of the few places in Columbus that served real caramel cake and hoe cake to go with those vegetables,” McBride said.

And Minnie’s became a staple for the legal community because it was only a block from the Government Center.

“Betsy and I practiced law directly across the street from Minnie’s for 18 years and have continued to eat there often with lawyers, judges, and our children,” McBride said. “The place has always been a family favorite. But it’s also been a favorite with people who work in the courthouse. It’s not unusual to walk in at lunch and see jurors, lawyers, bailiffs, and others. It’s the closest thing Columbus still has to a small town cafe where people from all walks of life cross paths, break bread together, and catch up on news.”

Word of Minnie’s death came from her granddaughter and current owner of the restaurant, Melinda Newton.

Minnie’s Uptown Restaurant, known for its southern cooking, such as fried chicken, salmon patties, and cakes and desserts of all kinds, was founded in 1986. It sits at the corner of 8th Street and 1st Avenue in the historic district of Columbus.

Minnie specialized in baking wedding cakes before she started her restaurant.

More on Minnie

April 15, 2023: Grandmother, granddaughter writing Columbus history one recipe at a time | WRBL

July 26, 2019: Minnie’s Uptown Restaurant at the center of Historic District parking debate | WRBL