Sometimes I wonder if anyone who claims to be passionate about food or the food scene is paying attention to everything that's going on around them.
But one story that is getting the kind of attention I would absolutely expect is the opening of Husk, Sean Brock's hyper-local Southern concept coming to 12 W. Oglethorpe Ave. later this month.
On occasion when I am in the office, I will open up an analytics screen on the web. It allows me to see who is reading what and when, current search terms being used and what time is better for traffic. I can say without a doubt that "Husk/opening/Savannah" has been the most popular search term since roughly October. Inquiring minds want to know.
Husk is probably the most anticipated restaurant opening in Savannah since 2014, when The Florence opened in June of that year officially kicking off (in my book, at any rate) the official corner-turn on Savannah's culinary scene.
Within weeks of The Florence opening, Pacci opened in the newly renovated Brice Hotel, The Collins Quarter revitalized the corner of Oglethorpe and Bull a couple of months later and by the end of that year, The Grey had opened her doors on MLK. Things started to change around here. Quickly.
Of course, the anticipation for Husk is fueled by the fact that three Husks already exist around the South. Husk Greenville just opened a few weeks ago, but Husk Charleston has been around since 2011 and Husk Nashville is a staple in a bubbling food scene in that city as well.
Some people around here have already had a chance to enjoy what Husk is about. Most of those people will tell you how fantastic it is. Fantastic enough to have Husk Charleston named Bon Appetit Magazine's Best New Restaurant in 2011.
Of course, Chef Brock will oversee menus and operations in the kitchen here in Savannah, but his man on the ground is Tyler Williams, who made a name for himself at Atlanta's Woodfire Grill.
I ran into Chef Tyler last weekend at Forsyth Park Farmers' Market. He told me the day before, they'd been granted a 100 by the Chatham County Health Department. That Saturday morning was almost like a first day of school for him and his staff. A new phase had begun. No longer were they building their space out. No, now they could bring food into the kitchen and start to play.
The word play is to be taken very seriously in this regard, and locals need to be aware of this if you aren't already. Yes, Husk is a Southern concept. Yes, you might find shrimp and grits, chicken fried steak and other Southern favorites there, but Husk pushes the envelope regularly, using as much local product as they can. There will be a chalkboard near the entrance of the restaurant showing you all of the products they are sourcing locally on any given day.
For example, one dish Brock floated out on Twitter and Instagram recently from Greenville was described as "Grilled Bear Creek Farm Pork, coated in an umami Crisco-type concoction made by blending shio Koji rice and an oil infused with hearth dried shiitakes and hearth dried greasy beans." No, the menu obviously won't read that way, but that should give those of you who have never experienced Husk an idea of what is coming. And I have no doubt it will be delicious.
To be fair, if I have a concern, it's the size. Over 200 seats in the 10,000-square-foot renovated house. There is no question it will be beautiful, but it is massive. Their biggest Husk yet. I have said it before and I will say it again, the bar will probably be the most beautiful bar area between Charleston and Miami. They've built it, the people will undoubtedly come, but 200-plus seats is quite a bite to take.
We had the original announcement back in September. That day was set at the time for Dec. 4. The announcement, frankly, got lost in the shuffle because it dropped the same week we began our evacuations for Hurricane Irma, at the time the strongest storm in Atlantic Ocean recorded history.
I'm told people showed up Dec. 4 ready to eat. Just a couple here and there, but I guess people are paying attention. Ultimately there's been a delay here because of some delays getting Husk Greenville off the ground. That is now open, and I am told you can expect to begin eating and liking at Husk in Savannah shortly after Christmas.
Of course, you can make a note of it, or you can always search eatitandlikeit.com.
See you on TV,
Address: 12 W. Oglethorpe Ave.
Last-minute gifts? A lot of restaurants are doing gift cards. Yes, many have done it in the past, but as our food scene develops around here, so do the options. Have you thought about a gift card from three to four different restaurants in one pack? That would be pretty neat for the food lover in your life.
Our friends at Tequila's Town Mexican Restaurant roll out a new menu this week. It's a tweak, really, with a number of authentic vegan options now being offered. Two locations: downtown on Whitaker and Sandfly. Go to tequilastown.com.
Huge shout-out to Kyle Jacovino and his staff at 1540 Room inside of The DeSoto in downtown Savannah. Exceptional dinner last week. It's not just me, either. The buzz surrounding what they are doing there is making the rounds around town.
If you like to plan ahead, join us for our second Fried Chicken and Champagne Dinner. The first night sold out in 10 days, so we added a second, for Jan. 18 at B Historic Savannah Hotel; 20 seats left for night two. All-you-can-eat fried chicken, all-you-can-drink champagne for $63. The only place to find tickets, eatitandlikeit.com.