Do Savannnah

Eat It and Like It names 2016 Foodie Award winners

  • Best New Restaurant: Cotton & Rye
  • Best New Restaurant: Cotton & Rye
  • Best Sushi: 39 Rue de Jean
  • Best Sushi: 39 Rue de Jean
  • Best Burger: Betty Bombers (co-winner)
  • Best Burger: HH Prime (co-winner)
  • Best Pizza You Can't Find in City Market: The Florence
  • Best Drunk Food: Treylor Park (pancake chicken tacos shown)
  • Best Drunk Food: Treylor Park (PB&J wings shown)
  • Best Dessert: 39 Rue de Jean’s Warm Apple Tarte Tartin
  • Best Barbecue: Wood's Kitchen
  • Best Place to Eat on River Street: Olympia Cafe
  • Best Food With a View: The Wyld Dock Bar
 

Eat It and Like It names 2016 Foodie Award winners

19 May 2016

From Best Breakfast to Best Burger to Best Dessert, Eat It and Like It has named 2016's Foodie Award winners, representing the best food in Savannah and the Lowcountry.

 

Best Coffee Shop

Savannah Coffee Roasters, Savannah

There are coffee shops where you can have coffee and an average bialy, then there is Savannah Coffee Roasters. Some of the best breakfast sandwiches in the city, white tablecloth dinner service and mystery murder theater on Fridays? Yeah, try topping that. You can’t.

Runner-up: Corner Perk, Bluffton

 

Best Drunk Food

Treylor Park, Savannah

Owner Trey Wilder set out to do something different. He succeeded. PB&J wings, pancake chicken “tacos” and yeah, and a great bologna and cheese sandwich all hit the spot when you’ve been over-served. Hey, it happens.

Runner-up: Parker’s Market on Drayton, Savannah

 

Best Charcuterie

Circa 1875, Savannah

Chef David Landrigan was among the first in Savannah to do it very well. Now it seems everyone is doing it — and that’s great — but we’ve loved the lineup at Circa for a long, long time.

Runner-up: Cotton & Rye, Savannah

 

Best Burger

Co-winners: Betty Bombers, Savannah, and HH Prime Omni Resort, Hilton Head Island

One of two hotly contested categories. Many, many times with burgers, they are apples and oranges. All things considered across the board, Betty changed their burger slightly after the fire and subsequent year-long remodel. I wasn’t a fan of their burger before. Now, it’s fantastic, if not messy. Same goes for a new burger at HH Prime in their sports bar. That thing is a religious experience. Seriously. We couldn’t ignore it.

Runner-up: The Collins Quarter, Savannah

 

Best Brunch

The Collins Quarter, Savannah

The weekend mob scene at the corner of Bull and Oglethorpe every weekend morning underscores the fact that Savannah will embrace something slightly different if it is done well. Anthony Debreceny and his staff are to be commended for pushing the envelope away from home fries, hot sauce and omelettes and doing it well. Want to spend a few bucks on a treat? Head over to The Westin.

Runner-up: The Westin, Savannah

 

Best Craft Cocktails

The Grey, Savannah

The craft cocktail scene in this city has grown from really only two spots three years ago to a number of fantastic venues providing tasty beverages. It was tough to pick one. Ultimately, the attention to detail at The Grey is what set them slightly apart. The picture-perfect venue doesn’t hurt, either.

Runner-up: Cotton & Rye, Savannah

 

Best Place to Eat on River Street

Olympia Café

I’ve heard a rumor that Nick Pappas was the first person to serve James Oglethorpe a meal when he rolled up on River Street, as Wet Willie’s wasn’t open yet. Yeah, Nick has been there a long time and has a serious following among locals. When you can pull that off on River Street, then you know you are doing something right.

Runner-up: Dub’s Pub, Savannah

 

Best Breakfast

The Breakfast Club, Tybee Island

A three-time winner here. Still banging out perfection after all of these years. That is all.

Runner-up: Sunset Café, Hilton Head Island

 

Best Steak

HH Prime Omni Resort, Hilton Head Island

We’ve got a few great steaks in this area, but if you are looking for a true steakhouse experience — where sometimes the dry-aged beef comes from the same spots as the biggest steakhouses in New York City — then you need to try HH Prime. Those cuts will cost you, but they are the closest you will get to Old Homestead or Keen’s. And they are prepared perfectly.

Runner-up: The Bluffton Room, Bluffton

 

Best Fried Chicken You Don’t Have to Wait in Line For

Lil’ Chick, Savannah

This roadside stand on Bay Street doesn’t look like much, until you see not only truck drivers and city employees arriving for lunch, but also the phone starting to ring with multiple 100-piece special orders from the likes of International Paper or Gulfstream. Yes, it is that good. Meanwhile, Cotton & Rye’s chicken is on the gourmet end of the spectrum. Their spicy honey glaze is crazy good.

Runner-up: Cotton & Rye, Savannah

 

Best Italian

Pommodori, Hilton Head Island

Chef/owner Amanda Russ took a big risk when she set up shop a couple of blocks away from island heavyweights like Michael Anthony’s and Ombra Cucina Rustica, but she is absolutely thriving in a tiny corner of a strip mall. A little more “mom and pop” than the others, the flavors are heavenly, the pillow-like gnocchi is eye-rollingly good. You will need a reservation for this one. Especially on weekends.

Runner-up: Ombra Cucina Rustica, Hillton Head Island

 

Best Local Brewery

Service Brewing Co., Savannah

It is impossible to overlook what a fantastic year the guys and gals at Service Brewing have had. From their community involvement and charitable contributions to tireless marketing, which included pouring their beers at the annual Army-Navy football game, they have officially planted their flag as a major part of our craft brew scene. Throw in a shout-out from the White House two weeks ago and you have a clear winner.

Runner-up: Southbound Brewing Co., Savannah

 

Best Pizza You Can’t Find in City Market

The Florence, Savannah

We’ve been pounding this drum since The Florence opened. Great pizza is an art form and there is no one more knowledgeable about that art in this area than Kyle Jacovino. No, they aren’t cheap, but neither are Ferraris.

Runner-up: Local Pie, Hilton Head Island

 

Best Fried Shrimp

Gerald’s Pig & Shrimp, Tybee Island

Gerald takes everything he does seriously. Especially when it comes to food. His fried shrimp is a delicately crafted thing of beauty. Every single time.

Runner-up: A-J’s Dockside, Tybee Island

 

Best Sushi

39 Rue de Jean, Savannah

Don’t laugh at sushi at a French place. Before the restaurant opened, staff told me they were really going to invest in their sushi program. They have and it has paid off. You know it’s a hit when my sushi-snob friends approach me and ask if I know about it. Why yes; yes I do.

Runners-up: OKKO, Hilton Head Island, and CO, Savannah

 

Best Mexican

Tequila’s Town, Savannah

These guys have taken the city by storm. Their downtown location is always jammed and now Sandfly is doing the same on weekends. The reason? It is solid, well-made Mexican food with tremendous attention to detail. They also sport a knock-out tequila bar that is growing by the day.

Runner-up: Carlito’s, Savannah

 

Best Place to Blow an Entire Paycheck

The Bluffton Room, Bluffton

The Bluffton Room specializes in steaks, so it can get pricey right there, but they do everything well, from burgers to a signature tableside bananas foster that lights up the room every time the flame is lit. More important is the fact that a meal at The Bluffton Room is an experience, with old-school, high-back booths offering guests a view of the entire dining room and the promenade in Old Town Bluffton. It’s a special place where you are invited to take your time and enjoy the lost art of dining for a few hours.

Runner-up: The Grey, Savannah

 

Best Place to Eat When You are Broke

Munchie’s BBQ, Savannah

There are a few roadside barbecue stands in Savannah if you know where to look. They all do great barbecue; however, it’s tough to beat Munchie’s $2 “Buck Box” with chicken and a side. For $2? Yeah, you can hardly get anything off of the drive-thru menu for $2 anymore. His crab rice for $5 is crazy popular as well.

Runner-up: Parker’s on Drayton Street, Savannah

 

Best Shrimp and Grits

441 Public Kitchen and Bar, Statesboro

Seni Alabi-Isama is an Atlanta boy who came to Georgia Southern and stayed. He tells me he worked on his shrimp and grits recipe for almost three years. It’s phenomenal. The dish at Cotton & Rye also deserves very high praise, but ultimately, it’s an appetizer. Delicious, but an appetizer nonetheless. Apples to oranges there, but you need to try them both.

Runner-up: Cotton & Rye, Savannah

 

Best Sandwich

The Grey’s Patty Melt with Comeback Sauce

Is a patty melt a burger or a sandwich? We wrestled with that one quite a bit. Ultimately, we think it is a sandwich. In this case, with perfectly toasted and buttery bread, a special grind of beef from Smith Brothers combined with a hint of ground lamb? Boo-yah!

Runner-up: Betty Bombers’ Ultimate Chicken Sub

 

Best Thai

Chiriya’s, Thunderbolt

One of our few back-to-back winners. Solid, consistent and delicious down in Thunderbolt.

Runner-up: King and I, Savannah

 

Best New Restaurant

Cotton & Rye, Savannah

When the Foodie Awards started three years ago, we only had a couple of candidates for new restaurant, so we decided to scrap the category. Now the competition is pretty awesome and it’s impossible to overlook what has been done at Cotton & Rye in less than a year. From the fried chicken to the burgers to the shrimp and grits and the desserts, it’s all phenomenal. I joke that the only time it’s not full is when I drive by five minutes after the place opens. It is a smallish dining room, but it is jammed. All of the time.

Runner-up: 39 Rue de Jean, Savannah

 

Best Vegan/Vegetarian

Brighter Day, Savannah

The addition of a café at the corner of Bull and Park was a huge one for Brighter Day. None of us are vegans or vegetarians, but we know where to send someone if they ask. No question.

Runner-up: Beetnix Superfoods and Juice Bar, Savannah

 

Best Wine List

Elizabeth on 37th, Savannah

We’ve got a few good ones around town, but the best goes to a Savannah classic. Spend any amount of time talking to a sommelier in Savannah and they will more than likely agree. The list at this spot on 37th and Drayton is top-notch.

Runner-up: The Grey, Savannah

 

Best Oysters

The Grey, Savannah

Everything they do at The Grey, they do well. The oysters are no different. Their program has a great assortment and variety across the board. Fair price points as well.

Runner-up: Chive Sea Bar & Lounge, Savannah

 

Best Wings

520 Wings, Savannah

It’s a three-time win for Gary Gordon. There are a lot of great wings in this area and trust me, we enjoy the research quite a bit, but 520 is solid across the board. Meanwhile, if you haven’t tried Orchid’s wings at One Hot Mama’s, you should do so tomorrow, if not sooner.

Runner-up: One Hot Mama’s, Hilton Head Island

 

Best Bartender

Matthew Garapolo, The Original

Second win for Matt in three years. The reason is simple. He’s a solid barman who took quite possibly Savannah’s most treasured beverage institution, Pinkie Master’s, and has seamlessly transformed it into one of the best spots in town for a drink. Orange peels for Manhattans during the week become fresh squeezed orange juice mimosas on Saturday afternoon. That’s just the beginning for the space, too.

Runner-up: Scott “Bagodonuts” Waldrup, The Grey

 

Best Bakery

Midnight Baker, Bluffton

Back-to-back wins for Robert Plantadis, Old Town Bluffton’s mad scientist Frenchman who turns out wave after wave after wave of pastry that could rival anything in Paris — and I am not exaggerating. Even the stuff that is a day old is amazing.

Runner-up: Back in the Day Bakery, Savannah

 

Best Barbecue

Wood’s Kitchen, Bloomingdale

Without question our toughest category to choose. So much good barbecue out there. But Michael Gottlieb and his brother Laurence have jumped into the Savannah scene again with a solid product. The buns for their sandwiches are the best in town. I wish I liked their barbecue sauce a little more, but everything else is phenomenal. Then you get to finish it off with Gottlieb’s Bakery signature desserts like chocolate chewies and more? We have a winner.

Runner-up: Sandfly BBQ, Savannah

 

Best Coffee Roaster

Corner Perk, Bluffton

Old Town Bluffton’s coffeeshop of record also roasts some of its own beans, and they are fantastic. Some of the best cups of coffee I’ve had in this area have been at Corner Perk. We realize that is incredibly subjective, but it’s essentially a one-man show over there. That deserves some praise.

Runner-up: PERC, Savannah

 

Best Food with a View

The Wyld Dock Bar, Savannah

Chef Tony Seichrist says he couldn’t have imagined a more perfect location when he moved down from Atlanta last year and opened The Wyld. The makeover the old Bonna Bella has gotten has been fantastic, both inside and outside of the kitchen. When you see a family of three in one corner and a group of SCAD execs at a private function in another, then you know something great is happening there. Oh yeah, and then there’s the sweeping view of life in Savannah on display.

Runner-up: A-J’s Dockside Bar, Tybee Island

 

Best Dessert

39 Rue de Jean’s Warm Apple Tarte Tartin

Executive Chef Drue Longo tells me they wanted to blend something Southern with something French last fall when they opened on the west side of downtown. Nailed it. This is a spin on apple pie topped with a custom-made Leopold’s French vanilla ice cream, cream anglaise and caramel. Divine.

Runner-up: Cotton & Rye’s Twix Candy Bars or Housemade Pop Tarts

 

Best Meat and 3

Sisters, Savannah

Sisters is legendary around here. It’s a culture club on the weekends, which is the best part. Families coming out of church, SCAD kids in their pajamas and even some folks grabbing quick takeout to finish off their walks of shame. Sisters serves everyone well.

Runner-up: Holland House, Savannah

 

Best Chef You Don’t Know About But Probably Should

Dusty Grove of Pacci Italian Kitchen + Bar

It would be easy to say the host of our party gets an award, but Dusty Grove is a serious talent who’s been around the block in Savannah a time or two. Lately, he’s been working in the shadows at Pacci Savannah inside of The Brice Hotel, behind the departed Roberto Leoci. Dusty has his own new menu at Pacci and it is wonderful. A well-deserved honor.

 

IF YOU GO

What: Eat It and Like It Foodie Awards

When: 7 p.m. May 22

Where: The Brice Hotel, 601 E. Bay St.

Cost: $35

Info: www.eatitandlikeit.com

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