This American city has become a gourmet hotspot in a short period.
Savannah is cooking up something spectacular right now. Georgia’s oldest city had long been a tourist magnet. Its cobblestone alleys and fountain-strewn squares, topped with Spanish moss, earned it National Historic Landmark status almost 55 years ago. This narrative has been told for generations. Now, this urban enclave is established itself to be a full-fledged gourmet hotspot. Come see what the “Hostess Town of the South” has to offer.
A visit to The Grey, Mashama Bailey’s famed playground, is a must. The stylish café, housed in an Art Deco bus terminal, helped define current Savannah cuisine: food with a delightfully global outlook. After the city’s first Food and Wine Festival in 2014, Bailey began blending Southern soul to African elements. In 2019, she won the coveted James Baker Award for The best Chef with in Southeast.
Around the same period, Savannah began attracting chefs from outside the city. In 2018, Sean Brock set up a Husk outpost. The Fat Radish, sits beneath The Windrose Apartments Hotel, is a Lower East Side export. The menu’s emphasis on vegetables is supposedly British. This one, apart from its New York cousin, is inspired by Southern traditions. They make a delicious boiled peanut humus and a killer pimento cheese. Just a few ideas.
Not only restaurants, but also people, are migrating here from larger cities. With a population of 145,000, you could see a surge of newcomers during the 2020 lockdowns. They came from Atlanta, Washington, and yes, New York. And most of them came hungry.
To meet the rising demand, new positions have appeared. Among them is Common Thread. It’s in a 5,000-square-foot home on Thomas Square. Executive chef Brendon Carter aims to globalise Southern classics. It’s duck confit with sweet smoked sausages and collards dukkah-ed with black cardamom.
Franklin’s, on Liberty & Bull in historic downtown, is the newest in a succession of brunch hotspots. Although it looks like a typical Parisian grab-and-go coffee house, it serves fantastic breakfast sandwiches. Among these is the croque monsieur, made with thick-cut sourdough and topped with creole mustard & béchamel. It also provides steamed eggs made with espresso. It joins an outstanding noon coffee scene anchored for years by Collins Quarter. Only those brunch with a “Australian accent” now has two locations.
Savannah’s modern cuisine scene speaks many accents. It easily appeals to both vegans and carnivores. The former is well-served by Fox and Fig Cafe, whereas the latter is well-served by Double Wide Diner. The riverfront newcomer serves fried chicken nachos and peanut butter & jelly chicken wings.
Speaking on drinks, Savannah now has a reliable selection of roof watering places where the view rivals the food. Rocks on the Roof, atop the Bohemian Hotel, serves fireside martinis and savoury tapas with a Savannah River view.
The Perry Lane Hotel (Marriott’s Luxury Collection) has Peregrin. The drinks at this sixth-floor poolside restaurant are named after the fruits they recall. In a speakeasy setting, Artillery Guests can enjoy bespoke artisan drinks and a comprehensive choice of American whiskies. Or, for something a little more tropical, try Water Witch Tiki in the Starland District. In just two years, the island-themed retreat has become a local institution.
Savannah’s foods and beverages has grown drastically in a short time. But not at the cost of old favourites. The Olde Pinke Home, Mrs. Wilkes Dining Area, as Well as the Pirates’ Homes are still popular. The city’s centuries-old charm is intact. An intriguing perfume from a nearby kitchen may be detected in the air.