Among the many things that come about this time of year in Savannah, visitors are obviously among them. No, I don't mean the masses of tourists who flood downtown streets during springtime in Savannah. Although they are here.
How crowded was it last weekend? I was showing a group of seven around downtown late Saturday afternoon. It wasn't lunch time and it wasn't dinner time. It was 4 p.m. and we were having trouble finding a table anywhere. No complaints here. I love it. Certainly a good problem for downtown businesses to have.
My group drove up from Miami for a Savannah weekend. They were led by my friend Richard, who I've known since high school when we were in a rock band together. (Discussions of my choice in music and shoulder-length hair will be withheld for another cup of coffee).
I got a few days notice that Richard, along with some of his friends and family members, were coming to town. At no point, however, did they ask me for recommendations on where they should eat. That was nice, for a change.
Typically, when a friend comes to town, I'm asked the obligatory, "OK, we want hot dogs, Southern food, kid friendly, but not touristy, and a great wine selection. Where do we go?" Yes, all in one spot. This group didn't ask. Instead, one of the members of the group likes to research when she visits a city. By the end of their trip, I was probably the most impressed with them of any group I've known personally that has come to visit Savannah. So much so, that I decided to share their almost entirely self-made foodie itinerary with you.
One qualifier I think is important to share: A couple of them had been here before and had eaten at some spots not mentioned on this trip.
Thursday night upon arrival they made their way to Husk. Clearly, it is Savannah's shiny new penny right now. I'm told it was late when they got there so they basically ordered one of everything and passed dishes around the table. "It was everything I thought it would be," I was told. "Amazing." Which, by the way, falls in lock-step with everything I've been hearing about Husk since it opened the first week of January.
Friday, the group enjoyed some munchies at Treylor Park on Bay Street, as well as Public Kitchen + Bar on Bull and Liberty. I spoke to them briefly that day; they told me they had dinner reservations at Local 11ten. Thumbs up. "We loved it! They sat us in the old bank vault, which was great." After dinner they had a cocktail upstairs at Perch on a perfect spring evening, then made their way down Bull Street to Artillery for a nightcap. "I was really impressed with Artillery. You don't expect something like that in Savannah," my friend told me.
They had gotten a recommendation to try brunch Saturday at The Fitzroy, the brand-new spot at 9 Drayton St. The text I got from there was, "This place is incredible." When you're posting selfies to Facebook with the owner of the place where you just ate while on your way out of town, it is then safe to say you had a good time.
By the time I caught up with them, it was Saturday afternoon. They had become quite enamored with our to-go cup policy. In moderation, however. We spent a lot of time catching up and hearing about all of the food they had eaten while they were here. Miami's food scene is 10,000 times what it was when I was growing up. Fair to say there is a high bar to meet. All I heard was how well our city met it.
Their final dinner Saturday night was at Vic's on the River. When I checked in with them Sunday morning to see how that had gone, I was told, "We ate some incredible food this weekend, but that was our favorite meal in four days."
I chose to share that story not only for its "clip and save" value (because we all get asked for recommendations), but also because we are watching the tide rise right before our eyes. Yes, the food scene here has exploded, but really, we are still in our infancy. When a visitor can come here, enjoy that much great food and not even mention The Grey, Cotton & Rye, Atlantic or Circa 1875? All of those places that have gotten national or regional press? Then we must be doing something right.
See you on TV,