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.
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 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.