There's a strong possibility, if you love food and you love living here in coastal Georgia, that you have sat around with a group of friends talking about what this city is missing. Food-wise, that is.
I'm not looking to open up a can of worms here, because we all know — and likely have a running list of — things we'd like to see open here in Savannah. Do you hear that, Trader Joe's? They are talking to you.
It wasn't all that long ago that Savannah was missing what a lot of people like to refer to as a "proper bar." Yes, of course, we had plenty of bars, but that wasn't the point. Since then, Artillery, Alley Cat Lounge and Congress Street Up have filled that void very nicely, with a few more on the way.
On the food scene, for all of the growth we've seen, there are still a few things those of us who are passionate about food would love to see come to Savannah. We've needed a steakhouse ever since Bull Street Chophouse folded at Bull and Broughton. That issue is being addressed at the corner of Whitaker and State, with a new chophouse set to open there.
On many people's lists up until this year was ramen. We say up until this year because Savannah's first full-blown ramen noodle bar opened very quietly at One West Victory last month. The space, Ramen at Coyote, is the second phase of the El Coyote Mexican project that filled the space at Victory and Whitaker formerly occupied by The Florence.
"We've worked through some kinks so far," says Tony Seichrist, who along with Chef Landon Thompson are the guys behind this project. "For example, we were trying to make our noodles at first. The production and the amount wasn't working so we've shelved that for now. But we will absolutely be getting back to that. We are working on some rye noodles and of course standard. We should have them soon."
The name of the space? Well, that's an entirely different bowl of soup. You see, the operating partners of El Coyote signed a 17-year lease last year. They took possession of the space and opened for business back in February. Not too long after that, the entire One West Victory project itself was sold. Yes, there is a lease. However, there is a new owner. An owner who wants to make sure the rules going forward are to their liking. Not the previous owner's.
That new owner? Savannah College of Art and Design.
"We had a name. We had signage approved, but now that has changed," Seichrist says, insisting it is what it is. They are just looking to move forward with something everyone is comfortable with.
"We had a lot of stuff laid out. Now we've had to re-do it all," he says. "We are still as excited as we've ever been with everything we are doing. We have a lot of plans. We are really excited about that deck upstairs. We think that's where this place really turns the corner."
The deck upstairs? Yeah, you've seen it from Victory Drive. Hardly ever used by the previous tenant, it is slated to be an outdoor area for an upstairs oyster bar concept. That has been in the works since day one. The name? Don't ask. Let's get the ramen rolling first.
"I think we have a strong showing of three basic things right now. That will obviously expand later," Seichrist tells me.
"The SCAD kids, before they left, were destroying the ramen," he adds with a laugh. "When they come back in September, that's going to double down."
Can't disagree with that.
Ramen at Coyote has been open six days week (closed on Tuesdays) for the summer. Seichrist says that is going to change as they near the end of the July. Look for them to be open for your ramen fix seven days a week. For now, you can scratch big-city ramen off of that wish list.
Fantastic, could-eat-it-every-day, can't-live-without-it Chinese food? You're up. And we are waiting.
See you on TV,