If you've ever had a chance to sit down and talk to Brian Huskey, you'd never know how busy he is. Quiet guy, this one.
He won't give you six words when five will do just fine. Or, maybe you'll get more, but I doubt it. He had a birthday this week, but he has no more gray hair today than he did when we met almost five years ago. That's quite an accomplishment considering the last eight to nine months of his life have arguably been the most intense to date.
"I'm done." Brian tells me. "I need a break."
For those who don't know Brian and his wife Jennifer's story, the Cliff's Notes version goes like this: They moved to Savannah from Knoxville and purchased B. Matthew's Eatery in August 2006. After a quick revitalization and a name change, they moved on to roll out Blowin' Smoke BBQ on MLK, Abe's on Lincoln, Blue Turtle Bistro in midtown and The 5 Spot in Habersham Village. Do the math. That's five restaurants in less than seven years.
But how does that squeeze into "the most intense eight to nine months to date"? Well, timing is everything, isn't it?
Sometime last year in the middle of a B. Matthew's remodel, he gets a call. The Clary's space on Habersham is available.
"I wanted it, but not right then," he says. "I was in the middle of (B Matthews). But I knew I had to do something."
Long story short, they made it happen.
The work on what became The 5 Spot began in the fall straight ahead of a December opening. But wait! There's more.
Smack dab in the middle of The 5 Spot build out, phone rings again. Sol on Habersham is about to close. It was a space Brian and Jennifer knew they liked years ago. And yeah, you might say their hands have been full. But like I said, timing is everything, annnnnd you guessed it, they made it happen.
Blowin' Smoke BBQ was moved from its spot on MLK to the old Sol spot on Habersham. Now it's Blowin' Smoke Cantina, and I personally think this one has the potential to be the most popular of them all.
"I've always wanted to do a taqueria," Brian says. "Tacos, some plates, and ye,s we still have the barbecue," he adds.
Frankly, that makes me chuckle. How does a guy from East Tennessee come to open a place that would fit perfectly on any beachfront?
"I just love the idea of $3 tacos and a cold beer," he says.
You can't argue with that. I had a Baja Shrimp Taco and a Pork Carnita Taco, and they were very good. Neil Youngblood is the man in the kitchen, formerly of Alligator Soul. With that kind of background, I get the feeling the kitchen here will be just fine.
I will leave the full-blown review to our Eat Squad. It's coming soon. I can, however, tell you the early returns are great.
"We've been slammed since day one," Huskey adds. "With no advertising."
The space outside? Entirely closed in by a wood fence that didn't exist with Sol.
"There's only one way in or out," Brian says. "That way if the kids are outside playing, you don't have to worry about them slipping out."
So what's next? I toasted Jennifer with one of their Organic Margaritas during the soft open recently and said, "Here's to the sixth spot."
We had our chuckle, but there was a genuine smile and a sense of "nice try foodie boy, but that ain't happenin' any time soon."
The Huskeys are tapped out for a while. Four renovations, a couple of new buildings and two new restaurants? In under a year? Seriously! Who does that? They've done it! And so far, they've done it well. Now it's your turn to stop in, Eat It and Like It.
See you on TV.
â€¢ I got a sneak peek of the new restaurant going in on Broughton and Bull. Chive Seafood Bar and Lounge is brought to you by the same family that owns Ele, Tangerine and Fire. Read more about it right now at EatItandLikeIt.com.
â€¢ Good vittles at the grand opening of ROSE Public House on Broughton. Followed with a pleasant lunch next day. Something there smelled AMAZING. Must go back and find it.
â€¢ How cool is too cool? Get your Eat It and Like It T-shirts on the website. There are three designs to choose from for men and women. First person I spot on the street wearing one gets a high-five and a pack of Rolos.