by Emilee Perdue | December 4, 2023

Southern Charm and Sausages: Bradley’s Country Store Legacy

Four Generations of sausage, grits and Southern charm on Centerville Road.

Sit and stay a while on the front porch. Photography courtesy of Visit Tallahassee.

It began in Grandma’s kitchen, as most Southern things do. It was 1910, and Grandma Mary Bradley started selling homemade smoked sausage from her Tallahassee kitchen counter. A decade later, the family added country milled corn to make grits and cornmeal for their customers. When neighbors, farmers and out-of-towners started flocking to the North Florida countryside for a taste of Bradley home cooking in 1927, they expanded their breakfast nook to a quaint storefront. Nestled on a winding road under arching oak canopies about 16 miles from downtown, Bradley’s Country Store stands essentially unchanged a century on.  

Today, Bradley’s, as the locals call it, is a Capital City icon. Its weathered tin roof and well-loved front porch, complete with Adirondack rocking chairs and wooden planters overflowing with lavender, invite visitors to sit and stay a while. Or, at least, it tries to. The aroma of home-cooked sausage, made according to Grandma’s original recipe, beckon both curious road-trippers and Tallahassee townies for a quick bite to-go that can easily turn into an hourlong perusal of their homemade preserves, sauces and syrups—all packaged in glass mason jars and wrapped in a red and white Bradley’s label.  

Creaking wooden floorboards, a soft lull from the jukebox and a twanged greeting of, “Welcome on in!” takes visitors to an era of slow Southern life. An array of Bradley’s products lines the shelves, from mayhaw jelly and sweet potato butter, to bags of coarse stone-ground grits and roasted raspberry chipotle sauce. Under vintage Coca-Cola signs shines a glass countertop showcasing old-fashioned hoop cheeses, ham hocks, bacon ends, sausage cuts and more. Get your goods packaged and refrigerator ready while you enjoy a sausage dog topped with relish and mustard at a picnic table under the oak trees. This charming pit stop is equipped with an extensive candy collection and refreshing cold sodas in glass bottles. In addition to these road-trip essentials, they also carry cookbooks, country-inspired home decor, biscuit mixes by the bag and pints of locally made ice cream.  

If you can’t make the pilgrimage for your sweet and savory staples, order online and support the business as it celebrates classic charm and southern flavors in a modern era. Now owned by a fourth-generation Bradley mother-daughter duo, there are some things they’ll always keep the same: the family name on the front door and Grandma Mary’s recipes in the kitchen.