This weekend my husband and I took a weekend trip to Savannah, Georgia. At a time when it seems much of the American South is succumbing to anonymous subdivisions, big box stores, and chain restaurants, it’s refreshing to find a place with such a strong identity. The beauty, mystery, and romance of Savannah make it worth braving the heat. And of course there are plenty of places to duck into for a cool drink.
I’ve written up a few of the restaurants we really loved. Most of them were recommendations from other friends who tried them first, so consider this my way of paying it forward.
Huey’s on the River
We ate breakfast at Huey’s because we’d heard of their New Orleans-style beignets. The eggs and grits we had were good, but nothing compared to those beignets. Honestly it’s a little unfair to expect any food to compete with hot, airy bits of fried dough covered in powdered sugar.
We discovered this place by accident. We used an app called Ness to recommend nearby places for lunch. After walking what seemed like a mile, out of the historic district and into a more residential area, we came upon Southern Cafe. Turns out the app was outdated and the restaurant had changed hands. The chef was surprisingly young, and his take on soul food was fresh and flavorful. Excellent ingredients, cooked perfectly, not relying too heavily on butter… the problem? This restaurant appears to have no online presence, so I can only link you to the street address. Maybe the secrecy will create a buzz and make this cafe a popular destination.
If you’ve ever been to Savannah, chances are you’ve either eaten at or been advised to eat at Alligator Soul. The restaurant is located in the basement level of an old building. The atmosphere is dark and cool, a relief after the hot street outside. The walls are exposed brick, and the space is segmented by brick archways. You’ll need reservations to eat at a table, but walk-ins can eat at the bar. This is an upscale restaurant, and it’s worth a splurge. The menu is adventurous, in several respects. True to its name, part of the menu is devoted to exotic delicacies; alligator, frog legs, venison. Vegetarians are treated to a special chef creation, something different each night. I appreciate the thoughtful consideration of guests with special dietary needs. Everything we tried was beyond delicious.
After three incredibly rich meals on Saturday we felt like a light breakfast on Sunday. The Coffee Fox is an adorable coffee shop with a Texas-influenced menu. (Does it get any better? Basically, I could live here.) I had a cold-brewed coffee and a sausage and cheddar kolache. Josh had the huevos rancheros quiche. I will definitely be going back to this place.
Gryphon Tea Room
If I had to choose, this would be my favorite. The Gryphon Tea Room is owned and run by Savannah College of Art and Design. The space used to be a pharmacy, and still has some of the original elements from its past life: a stained glass border with a mortar and pestle motif, a stained glass dome in the ceiling, and a tiled entrance with the former owner’s name spelled out in black tiles. The walls are lined with mirrored bookshelves, with vintage books arranged monochromatically. The food menu is small but elegant, and they have a several types of tea you can order by the pot. I ordered tea sandwiches. As formal and genteel as the atmosphere felt, I didn’t feel uncomfortable. Patrons dress casually, and the servers are incredibly friendly and accommodating. As someone who shies away from the stuffy, I can recommend this restaurant whole-heartedly.
Unfortunately it seems the Gryphon Tea Room does not have a website, so I’ll link you to their page on Urban Spoon.
Thanks for reading!