I think it’s fair to say you can stick a wet finger into the air during the first or second week of November around here and find something delicious.
For the last five years, this section of the calendar has been carved out for the food lovers among us. I am officially refraining from using the word "foodie" because, like a tacky Cardi B tune, it’s been overplayed.
The food calendar has evolved nicely in Savannah. You don’t have to play the role of "old-timer" and raise your hand to say you remember when there was no Rock 'N' Roll Marathon to fill our city streets during the first weekend of November. Certainly the SCAD Savannah Film Festival has done an amazing job, which, when it falls in and around Halloween, makes downtown Savannah nothing short of magical in my book.
Of course, it also doesn’t take much to remember when, after film fest, we had nothing of significance until the Boat Parade of Lights during the Thanksgiving weekend. These days, it’s a seamless food lovers' fall from mid-October through Thanksgiving, with a week-long celebration perfectly placed right in the middle. From my seat, it is the most wonderful time of the year. All of it. Not just the Savannah Food & Wine Festival.
I haven’t gone back and done the math, nor will I for this particular dialogue, but I can’t help but wonder if 2018 has the seen the most growth in a long while in our restaurant scene? I won’t bore you and name them all, but beginning with Husk, which opened just before our snowstorm during the first week in January, we have seen a steady stream of concepts setting up shop in Savannah.
The Fitzroy opened early spring, followed by The Grove. Summer saw Emporium Kitchen open its doors, as well as Savannah Spirits Chop House on Whitaker Street.
In the last two months, we have seen easily a half-dozen spots open their doors, including a tea room in the Victorian District and an Italian masterpiece in La Scala. The Grey has opened a bodega on Jefferson Street and The Alida Hotel now has Rhett on the western end of River Street.
That’s a ton, y’all, with many more to come — including some concepts you will be very excited about. But that’s next year. This is where I would insert the tried-and-true cliché about high tides raising all ships. I won’t do that, though. I will save it for another time.
I will tell you, if you aren’t seeing it or hearing it — it’s almost a constant loop — Savannah is getting national publicity for its food. All of the time. Not only in print, but in every form of media.
For years now, while chatting with guests at Taste of Savannah (coming up this Saturday), I’ve been hard pressed to meet someone who is actually from Savannah. They come from Atlanta, of course, but also Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and beyond. I met one young lady two years ago who spent four days here in Savannah specifically for the food and wine festival. And she couldn’t wait to come back again.
Your city is on display. She’s looking pretty darn good.
Of course, there is the question of, when does it become too much? Some restaurant owners think we might already be there. Then why are other restaurant owners doubling-down and opening second locations? Clearly, there will always be room for more great food.
I had one restaurant owner tell me, “When the city is sold out, we are all great. When it is not sold out, we are all fighting for the same people.” Certainly I can see where that is true. The pie isn’t necessarily getting bigger; the slices of that pie are getting smaller. Everyone needs a slice to survive. That can be discussed further another time.
For now, I don’t know about you, but I am staring straight at a pretty good-looking half-full glass of something delicious. And I am planning to enjoy it this week, along with thousands of others who are choosing to spend their travel dollars here with us during the most wonderful time of the year.
See you on TV,
• Tickets are now on sale for our third annual Fried Chicken and Champagne Dinner. This year being held during the first week of February at Cohen’s Retreat on Skidaway Road. Only place you can find information and tickets is eatitandlikeit.com.
• Cuoco Pazzo is hosting a wine dinner on Sunday night, Nov. 11. L’Arco Wines will be represented by Luca Fredrigo. Tickets and more information now at cuocopazzosavannah.com.
• Miss our episode on great sandwiches in the area? See the full episode now at eatitandlikeit.com, and join us this Sunday at 11:30 a.m. on WTOC-TV.
• Stay in the loop for food news from Savannah, Bluffton and Hilton Head. Follow us on social media: @eatitandlikeit and @drinkitandlikeit.