Downtown Savannah has another interesting new restaurant option: Spudnik.
The menu is made up exclusively of baked potatoes with various toppings.
Walking into the cozy, 400-square-foot dining room at 416 W. Broughton St., visitors certainly are going to notice the new floor tiling, which is made from more than 80,000 pennies.
It's a subtle but stunning feature.
And it's in keeping with Spudnik owner Andrew Wanamaker's interest in sustainability. If you do the math, you'll discover that all those unwanted pennies actually make a pretty inexpensive, if labor intensive, flooring material.
Spudnik's menu includes both baked russet potatoes and baked sweet potatoes, all priced from $5 to $7.
I tried The Classic on my first trip - just a good baked potato with cheddar, sour cream, chives and butter. Most other toppings can be added for free to any item.
"It's a potato," Wanamaker said. "You can put anything on it."
The menu includes some less traditional options, like The Rustic with rosemary, thyme, olive oil and other flavors and The Savory, a baked sweet potato with feta cheese, sour cream and black beans.
It's probably obvious to readers, but I guess I should note that many of us eat a baked potato laden with toppings as just one part of a much larger meal.
But baked potatoes, especially ones with the rich toppings I ordered, are pretty satisfying on their own, especially at lunchtime or if you're eating on the go.
Still, why just baked potatoes?
"The most powerful brands are the ones that do one thing really well," Wanamaker told me last week.
While getting a master's degree in architecture from SCAD, the Connecticut native spent quite a bit of time studying branding since he already knew that he wanted to open Spudnik.
Potatoes are also relatively easy to grow in the right climate, and preparation is straightforward, too. Wanamaker sees those qualities as part of Spudnik's push for sustainability.
For now, Spudnik is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 3:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Seating is limited.
With those late weekend hours, Wanamaker is obviously shooting for some of the after-hours crowd that lines up at places like Sweet Melissa's, Moe's Southwest Grill and McDonald's.
Spudnik could also become a regular lunch spot for downtown workers and for wandering tourists.
As anyone who spends much time downtown already knows, the 400 block of West Broughton has struggled compared to nearby blocks.
Broughton's tree lawn and improved sidewalks end with the 300 block, so that one block at the west end looks and feels less inviting than the stretch from Lincoln to Montgomery streets.
The south side of the 400 block of West Broughton is of course even less inviting than the north side.
The courthouse parking garage is one of the ugliest and most unfriendly buildings in the city, and loud CAT buses are frequently parked on the street with engines running. The latter problem should be alleviated to some degree when the new transit center opens, but I doubt we'll see on-street parking spaces added as we should.
But none of those problems should prevent the city from moving ahead with streetscape improvements, especially on the north side of Broughton in front of Spudnik and other businesses.
City Talk appears every Tuesday and Sunday. Bill Dawers can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org and http://www.billdawers.com. Send mail to 10 E. 32nd St., Savannah, GA 31401.