People love to be in the know when it comes to new restaurants. As you might imagine, it is a popular topic of conversation when I'm out and about, or as that one young lady said to me recently, "Does anyone ask you about anything else but places to eat?"
Sure they do. Just the other day, as a matter of fact, I was asked if I had any desire to visit Iceland. The answer is, of course I would. If for no other reason but to be able to answer questions about where people should eat the next time they find themselves in Iceland. Yes, it is the question I get the most. Almost exclusively.
Perhaps once a year, maybe twice, we spend some time in this space talking about what will be here in Savannah one day. All it takes is a drive or a stroll around town to see that the landscape is changing. A flip through the headlines, in print or online, will tell you there is no shortage of development in our city. The hotels are getting the majority of those headlines, of course, but all of those people coming to visit our city are going to be in search of more variety than we currently can offer. Our food scene is certainly better than it was two or three years ago, but said scene is still desperate for some evolution. Personally, I believe it will happen sooner rather than later.
Unfortunately, I am not at liberty to discuss a lot of what I know about what new restaurants may be coming to downtown Savannah, but I can tell you some of what I have been told is significant. You can count on two or possibly three new spots going in on Broughton Street alone. There is an active search for a space to put a boutique steakhouse downtown as well. That doesn't mean it will happen, but it means someone wants to. Smart money is on it actually happening one day not all that far down the road.
Those new hotels are going to have a variety of places to eat - as well as dine. The new Kessler project on the river promises more than a dozen food and beverage outlets alone. Yes, there will be ice cream and snacks and fun food to walk with, but you can count on more than one spot to enjoy a high-end meal, too. Similarly, I'm expecting the hotel project on Drayton Street across from Forsyth Park to bring another solid restaurant to the fold in Savannah. Next to that, there are plans for a three-story cafe and event space with a rooftop deck. I've seen the artist renderings. Believe me when I tell you that two- to three-block area at Drayton and Huntingdon is going to be dramatically different in two short years.
Our Victorian District is putting on some weight as well. A sandwich shop is planned for Abercorn near Bolton. The area near Duffy and Bull already has a couple of spaces being built out and there are plans for a pretty simple sandwich shop that may serve beer and wine near Barnard and Henry. Heck, I'll even share that one of my neighbors is working on Maxwell's Victorian Kitchen on Montgomery Street near Bolton, across the street from Rum Runners Bakery & Cafe.
I could go on with the number of spots in the works, because there are some big ones, including La Scala, an Italian restaurant at Abercorn and 37th, and the project at Jefferson and Congress, but I'll leave it at that for now. I think I've made my point. For those who are wondering, Sean Brock's Husk is still coming to Savannah. Last I was told was "2017," so I guess they have until New Year's Eve to be right, no?
So what would we like to see? What does Savannah really need? For starters, we can use a place or two for great food after 10 or 11 p.m. A couple of years ago, I had a chef call me and ask, "I'm picking up a friend at the airport about 10:30. We wanted to head downtown for a bite to eat, where should we go?" Slim pickins there. There are a couple of spots if you know where to look, but we shouldn't have to struggle to find well-made food after hours. See that show of hands? There are many people in this town who agree. I'd love to see the aforementioned steakhouse in some capacity. I'd also love to see a spot for excellent Chinese food.
Of course everyone has an opinion on what they'd like to see here in Savannah. I think in due time we will see the supply start lining up with the demand for variety. Savannah is going to fill in very nicely. There will very soon be a time when empty lots won't be anymore. The list of options for places to eat is going to grow significantly. This city is changing very quickly. The year 2020 isn't that far off. Three short years. Downtown Savannah is going to look and feel dramatically different. Count me among those who can't wait to see what our girl looks like once she grows up.
See you on TV,