Getting satiated in Savannah

Famous restaurateur Sean Brock opened a Husk in Savannah late last year. We’ve eaten at the Husks in Charleston and Nashville and couldn’t wait to try the one in Savannah. It did not disappoint. From left, Alan Carmichael, Tess Richard and Jimmy Moxley.

I have a deal with my brother, Jimmy, to ensure that we will keep seeing each other now that our parents and grandmother all have passed away. It goes like this: Alan and I will go to the Gulf Shores area, where he lives, once a year; he and his wife, Tess, will come to Knoxville once a year; and we’ll all meet somewhere once a year.

So far, it’s working out great! Earlier this summer, we all met up for a visit to Savannah and Charleston and had a blast. This post is about Savannah and the great eateries — and other things — you might want to try should you decide to head that way.

And you should! Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia. Its historic district is one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the United States. And, thanks to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), literally scores of historic buildings have been lovingly restored and reused. We also like the fact that it is very walkable. We stayed in the historic district, but walked to the riverfront every day.

Come check out the great places we found. Let us know in the comments section if you know of other great spots because we plan to go back.

We decided to stay in The DeSoto Hotel, an independent luxury property located in the Historic District. Here’s Alan posing with a terra cotta sculpture of Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto, the hotel’s namesake.

DeSoto in the 1500s explored parts of Florida and the other coastal states, including Georgia, before going west to discover the Mississippi River. The hotel, which traces its roots to 1890, was rebuilt in 1968 and last year underwent a $9.4 million renovation. We loved its convenient central location.


The view from our balcony. The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is a Savannah landmark.

If I have one piece of advice about a trip to Savannah, it is this: make reservations! We learned this the hard way. We wanted to go to Rocks on the Roof, said to be Savannah’s first rooftop bar atop the Bohemian Hotel, but it was closed for a private party when we arrived.

We wish we could have gone up on this roof!

There are big balls in the Bohemian’s lobby! (That’s my brother, Jimmy.)

And big balls elsewhere, too! Love this light fixture in the downstairs restaurant where we just grabbed some burgers and such since our rooftop plans were foiled.

The next day called for a stroll.

Saw these cuties at FreezN on West Broughton Street.

Loved this sign at a nearby shop.

Down by the river, we were less than impressed with the display in the Savannah Clothing Company window. Note the “Made in China” messages on the shipping boxes.

But, on the positive side, we did end up at a great lunch spot, The Ordinary Pub, back on Broughton Street.

At The Ordinary Pub, brunch is served seven days a week because, as it says on the menu, “why the hell not?” Ha.

But, we didn’t have brunch. I had delicious shrimp tacos, which I highly recommend and considered to be the “best bite” of all my meals in Savannah. The red sauce is a tangy pineapple salsa.

Alan and Jimmy raved about this interesting giant salad they each had.

Then, more walking. “There’s another one of those spitting lions!” Alan said at one point. (There were a lot of them!)

After a nap, we walked over to Husk (where we did have reservations!).

The interior of Husk, 12 W. Oglethorpe Ave.

The centerpieces kind of reminded me of those at Blackberry Farm — super simple.

Alan ordered Johnnycakes with sorghum lard butter. He said it was his “best bite” of the trip.

Want to know what’s inside this little tent of benne seed crackers?

The best pimento cheese you’ve ever had in your life!

I ordered shrimp and grits with English peas and shiitake mushrooms. Fab.

Alan had roasted Carolina chicken.

Tess said this was her “best bite” of the trip — baked Alaska.

Even the bathrooms are elegant at Husk. A fireplace?

The next day, Alan and I walked down to the riverfront and selected a sweet French breakfast place, Cafe M.

It was perfect. We think you should try it if you go to Savannah.

We braved it!

A very smart move we made was getting tickets for the Hop On Hop Off Trolley. For $33, you can jump on and off an unlimited number of times. We split up and Alan and I spent the day browsing art galleries in the City Market (think of our Market Square). Jimmy and Tess went to the Prohibition Museum (America’s only one!) and other points of interest.

Haha. We saw this welcome mat in one of the shops.

In all our time in Savannah, we were panhandled two times. In Knoxville, we get panhandled that often walking the two blocks from our condo to our office! Is there a lesson our city can learn from Savannah?

Lunch found us at the Crystal Beer Parlor, the oldest restaurant in Savannah. It’s located at 301 W. Jones St., not too far from our hotel.

We sat in the bar. The place reminded me of the old Regas restaurant in Knoxville. Lots of locals came in.

Founded in the early 1900s as a grocery store, it became the Crystal Beer Parlor in 1933 and was said to have been the first restaurant to serve alcohol after Prohibition ended — “probably because booze was already on the premises,” the menu said. The place is rumored to have been operated as a speakeasy during the years alcohol was illegal.

Alan loved his salmon BLT sandwich.

My Greek chicken pizza made on pita bread was good, too. See? Greek. Just like the Regases!

After lunch, we went inside the beautiful cathedral we’d been looking at from our balcony.

A $5 donation is “suggested” to enter the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. I generally follow the “suggestions” I get in church!

And then, more walking.

The Gen. James Oglethorpe monument in Chippewa Square, one of Savannah’s 22 famous squares. Oglethorpe founded Savannah in 1733.

When you go to Savannah, you must have dinner at The Grey.

The Grey, located in a restored 1938 art deco Greyhound Bus Terminal, is at 109 Martin Luther King Blvd.

Executive chef and partner Mashama Bailey was nominated this year for a James Beard Foundation Award in the Best Chef — Southeast Region category. She was the first female African American ever to be nominated in a James Beard Best Chef category. Additionally, The Grey just this month was listed as one of Time magazine’s “Great Places of 2018” and it was named by Eater the “2017 Restaurant of the Year.”

Part of the original floor.

The bar.

Dining room.

The dining room has its own large bar.

First things first.

Boiled Georgia peanuts for the table.

Greyhound etched on water bottle.

We shared some ricotta toast with homemade chips. Loved it and thought it highly creative.

I had some cucumber gazpacho.

Tess ordered “Cacio e Pepe” — which means cheese and pepper. A super simple dish that Tess adored.

I was flabbergasted by my brother’s bold order: foie and grits! He loved it so much that he selected this dish as his “best bite” in Savannah.


Frozen sorbet palate cleansers.

Tess selected chocolate pot de creme for dessert.

And then they gave us Tootsie Rolls!

We are going to have to insist that you experience this!

Right across Bull Street from our hotel was a swanky little bar called Artillery.

Artillery was built in 1896 by a volunteer militia group of mounted rangers. It has housed a vast array of retailers and businesses ever since. It once was a Ford dealership selling Model Ts.

Here’s the beautiful interior.

The atmosphere called for a fancy drink. I had a Cosmopolitan.

Tess had an Amalfi Sour: Wheatley vodka, house limoncello, and lemon-pickled strawberries.

Our last stop was in the morning for breakfast at an Australian place called Collins Quarter. Our friend Pam Rhoades, the digital storyteller at Moxley Carmichael, recommended it.

It was just a short walk from the hotel and it specialized in breakfast. Or “brekkie,” as the Australians call it.

Well, we were on vacation, so . . .

Anyway, thanks to Jimmy and Tess for suggesting a visit to Savannah! It was a great idea that we proudly pass on to you. I’ll tell you about our fabulous Charleston visit in a subsequent post.


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15 Responses to Getting satiated in Savannah

  1. Tess Richard Moxley, on August 31st, 2018 at 7:14 am said:

    Jimmy and I had a great time in Savannah! We enjoyed seeing this beautiful historical city, and visiting with Cynthia and Alan. Cynthia you did a great job selecting the hotel, and making reservations for us in advance. It was definitely a smart move on your part! The Food was awesome! Next year, I promise I will pick a cooler time of year for our vacation! Lol! Thanks for the good memories!

  2. Kathy Hamilton, on August 31st, 2018 at 11:36 am said:

    I absolutely love Savannah! It’s home to one of my favorite restaurants – Alligator Soul. You and Alan should check it out on your next visit.

  3. Pam Rhoades, on August 31st, 2018 at 12:31 pm said:

    Isn’t Savannah the greatest?! We need to check out some of your spots when we go back next week. You also might like Vic’s On the River, Cotton & Rye, Local 10 Eleven at Forsythe Park and The Fitzroy (another joint by The Collins Quarter folks). Thanks for a great post, Cynthia!

  4. Becky Hancock, on August 31st, 2018 at 2:26 pm said:

    Thanks Cynthia, I always love living vicariously via your travel posts!

    Steve and I visited Savannah for too-short-a-time in May. Loved it and ready to go back. I would also recommend Cotton and Rye for another delicious dinner place. A little off the beaten path and outside of the historic downtown center (think: canary in the coal mine), but worth the trek. We will book The Grey on our next visit, for sure!

  5. Alan Carmichael, on August 31st, 2018 at 3:14 pm said:

    It was hot! Savannah is a charming city, and I would go back. In the winter.

  6. Cynthia Moxley, on August 31st, 2018 at 3:43 pm said:

    Tess: It was such a fun trip! Look at some of these other good ideas folks are posting. I think we need to start planning now!

    Kathy: I love the sound of Alligator Soul!

    Pam: Those are great ideas. You have not steered us wrong yet!

    Becky: That will definitely be on our list for next trip. Thanks!

  7. Maria Cornelius, on August 31st, 2018 at 3:50 pm said:

    Boiled peanuts are the best. I have never been to Savannah but just had family move there – road trip!

  8. Cynthia Moxley, on August 31st, 2018 at 3:59 pm said:

    Maria; Sounds like a plan!

  9. Gay Lyons, on August 31st, 2018 at 6:08 pm said:

    Just possibly my favorite thing: eating & drinking your way around a city–especially when you can walk everywhere. What a great trip–and I love the deal you & Jimmy & Tess have for staying connected.

  10. Cynthia Moxley, on September 1st, 2018 at 8:41 am said:

    Gay: Yep. Agree. It really helps to have good recommendations like the ones folks are posting here. Of course we read Trip Advisor and Yelp, but I have found them not as consistently reliable as advive from friends.

  11. Jayne De Fiore, on September 1st, 2018 at 1:57 pm said:

    The chef of The Grey was featured on Sunday Morning (CBS) last week. She is originally from New York. Clearly, she has embedded Southern roots. Who else would have thought of opening a restaurant in an old Greyhound bus station!

  12. Cynthia Moxley, on September 1st, 2018 at 2:07 pm said:

    Hey, Jayne: I believe her maternal grandmother is from the Savannah area and she spent time there during her childhood. In any case, it is fun – and delish!

  13. Gloria Montgomery, on September 2nd, 2018 at 3:06 pm said:

    Thanks for the tour of Savannah. We are going to Charleston, Beaufort, St.Helena island and Savannah September 16-24. We will certainly use some of the information that you’ve shared. Love that you and Jimmy and spouses have a plan to see each other. ❤️ Look forward to you next installment. Gloria

  14. Cynthia Moxley, on September 2nd, 2018 at 4:52 pm said:

    Cousin Gloria! Great to hear from you! You will have a wonderful trip! Let us know what treasures you discover – and have fun! Hello to the family!

  15. Miriam Liggett, on July 11th, 2020 at 11:27 pm said:

    The frozen sorbet is called Thrills. I grew up in Savannah and we made them in the summer. Glad you enjoyed my hometown. It is amazing!

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