Well, I'm back home in Chicago and think I did well on all the "hoops" left in my grad program. Now all I have left is to tap out my thesis. Since that trip may be the last I ever make to Savannah, I figure I should make a little list of my favorite places to eat and booze for any of you who will be visiting this cute little town.
Savannah Tea Room (cost: $ - $$)
7 East Broughton Street • link (website has music)
My favorite place for lunch. Robyn and I went here at least once a week while she was living in Savannah. After she left to NYC I continued to go weekly on my own. Anyway - you can get full afternoon tea here as well as a light nibble. I would recommend that you skip the fancy afternoon tea for the lunch tea, which is the best bang for your buck. You get a pot of tea, soup, entree and a sampling of their sweets (normally two small cakes, shortbread, small scone, and fruits) for $12-$20, depending on what entree you order. I would suggest that you get any of the other fancy teas only if you are celebrating something like mother's day or similar. In general though, I feel it is too many sweets and you get a better meal with the lunch tea. My favorites are the egg salad sandwhich or the talpia and their soups are always amazing. The ultimate is the carrot soup, but its rare that they have it. If you want to get fancy, they also have champagne tea, which is what we did to celebrate Robyn & John's wedding. Super plus - the decoration is very Deco / Arts & Crafts. If you decide to eat here, make sure to try to get a table in the library - best room in the house. If you want to eat there on Friday or the weekend, call ahead to make a reservation.
Lulu's Chocolate Bar (cost: $ - $$)
42 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd • link
My favorite bar - great martini's, sweet music and fabulous sweets. I have to warn you, they mix the drinks strong, so take it slow. I really don't know what else to say about this place except that you must stop here if you are in Savannah. (Note: Bars aren't open on Sundays in Savannah - it is the south after all.)
The Crab Shack (cost: $ - $$)
40 Estill Hammock Rd, Tybee Island • link (website has music)
OK - so this is a 30 minute drive to one of the islands outside of downtown, but well worth it. Most of the Crab Shack's seating is outside, overlooking the water and makes for a splendid twilight view. The seafood is damn fresh, the service is quick and the drinks will blow your mind. If you so please, you can ask for your cocktail in a coconut! The drive there is a simple two-lane highway through swampland and is very very dark at night, so please have a DD or sober-up before you head back to the city. Luckily, the view from your table will be lovely while you wait for the alcohol to wear off.
Queenies (cost: $)
1611 Habersham Street
I am so tired of the Paula Dean explosion, as many Savannah locals are. If you want to try seriously good southern food, skip Lady & Sons and go for Queenies. It has great outdoor seating and the best damn fried food in the universe. I'm in love with their mac & cheese and they have good beers.
Mrs. Wilkes (cost: $)
107 W Jones Street • link
Another great alternative to Lady & Sons is Mrs. Wilkes, who has great southern food in a family style atmosphere. I mean true family style, you sit in their living room, serve yourself and clear off your own table. The lines tend to go around the block for this place, so be prepared to wait.
Pinkie Master's (cost: $)
318 Drayton St
If you are into dive bars, this is the place. Great jukebox, electronic darts and entertaining customers. This place fills up fast and its not a bar to ask for complicated mixed drinks - none-the-less, it has got some serious character and history. Gerald Ford stood on the bar and announced he was going to run for president - how's that for classy? Note: this place is cash only and closed on Sunday.
The Pink House (cost: $$ - $$$)
23 Abercorn Street
Do not make a reservation for the regular Pink House resturaunt - go to the basement. It has a seperate entrance, takes no reservations, has a guy playing the piano during dinner and has a kick-ass wine list. I always take visitors to this place and they all fall in love with it. The basement has a great atmosphere and the food is well worth the price tag. Best dessert is the praline basket with ice cream and seasonal berries.
The Soda Pop Shoppe (cost: $)
114 Bull Street
There are plenty overpriced ice creams shops in Savannah that cater to tourists. If you want to go where the locals are as well as the city's characters, go to the Soda Pop Shop. The prices will give your wallet a break and they have everything from hot dogs to deli sandwiches and the best darn soda float you'll find in downtown. This place is also great because it sells coke in a bottle, which several tourist places do, but locals hate heading to that part of town. The main reason to go here is for the owner, who will surely put a smile on your face. The hot dogs aren't half bad either. To add to the ambiance, the pop shoppe is right next door to an old style barber who also does shoe shine, if you are so inclined to get a cut and shine.
There are, of course, plenty of other great eats and drinks in Savannah, but these are my favorites and the ones I most frequently went to. If you end up visiting Savannah and go to any of these places, let me know what you think!