Where to eat gray in the middle ground – Robb Report
From the roof terrace of Bar Juliencargo ships, some the length of the Empire State Building, slowly make their way along the Savannah River, where, at first glance, they will stay for the long haul.
Arguably one of Savannah’s hippest, if not most scenic, places to sip Georgia juleps these days, freight isn’t the only thing stopping by the shores of the harbor town these days. -this.
Twelve floors down, on the contemporary ground floor of the newly opened Thompson Savannah, fleeting A modern take on seasonally inspired Southern cuisine is just one of many restaurants ushering in the new wave of Southern dining right now.
“I think the renaissance or the new fascination with Southern cuisine has been going on for a decade, but I think what could happen and something that I’ve been a believer in is this embrace of different cultures that is infused in Southern cuisine,” said Executive Chef Robb Newton.
Hailing from Arkansas, Newton’s take on traditional Southern classics, like his Duck Confit Cookies and Carolina Gold Red Rice Crazy Salt and Pepper Shrimp Congee, is inspired entirely by the richness of ingredients from season found along Georgia’s waterways and morning trips to the local farmer’s market. Only recently, and after a few deliberationwhich he decided to add peppered chestnut oatmeal and pickled habanadas to the mix.
“It’s very close to me to cook in this region, the seasons here are different from what I’m used to, but the seasonality and variations in seasonality is something you don’t get elsewhere and so making a menu like in a restaurant called Fleeting, and capturing those micro-moments over the seasons is exciting.
Located in a former 19and Victorian century, the atmosphere at Common denominator couldn’t be more different in appearance than Fleeting, where the cozy, candlelit nooks and deep cups of A Tribe Called Quest serve as a romantic backdrop to savor dishes like jelly ponzu oysters, chicken shawarma and wahoo ceviche .
“It’s a really fun and exciting time in Savannah, and the Lowcountry in general,” said Common Thread executive chef Brandon Carter. Robb Report. “I think we have some of the best food in the country right now in this part of the world, access to great ingredients and phenomenal fresh seafood and I think we’re about to see something happen in Savannah that looks like what we’ve seen in Charleston.
For Carter, who cut his teeth as an executive chef at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff (now Montage Palmetto Bluff) and the Ritz Carlton Naples, it was once anything but easy to get a farmhouse restaurant to gain ground in table in the area, as he discovered when he first opened Farm in nearby Bluffton in 2016
“The farm was tough at first, there was nothing like it in the area yet,” Carter said. “It’s cheaper for me to buy products that are made in other countries and then shipped here, but we’ve stayed true to our mission and built this Farm family that’s ride or die.”
You could say the groundwork for places like Fleeting and Common Ground took years. Just as it seems you can’t discuss popular food towns in the South without bringing up Charleston, neither can you explore Savannah’s food scene without talking about Mashama Bailey and Johno Morisano at Grey.
The Gray opened in a deserted 1938 Greyhound bus terminal in 2014 and the accolades have been pouring in ever since. Bailey serves what she calls Southern Port City cuisine, cuisine rooted in southern ingredients but not cut off from the world that has passed through this old coastal town. It’s a model of Southern cuisine that embraces global influences and has established itself here. Bailey’s dishes like liver and grits, sizzling smoked pork, and mashed potatoes with brewer’s yeast have drawn diners time and time again over the years. Gray’s arrival, with Cotton & Rye opening soon after – helped establish Savannah’s dining scene, and it’s only growing.
“We’re starting to see more and more restaurateurs and chefs taking risks on Savannah,” said Gray Spaces co-founder and managing partner Morisano. Robb Report. “For a long time, the culinary scene was a bit static, but that’s no longer the case.”
The scene now extends beyond the historic district of the city. the Starland District— part of a revitalization project by two Savannah College of Art and Design graduates — is not only home to a budding contingent of artists and entrepreneurs, but Starland Yards features a rotating roster of some of the food trucks the city’s best-loved and local favorites like Pizzeria Vittoria.
“I think the South has really been on fire from a food and culture perspective and you have to give a lot of that ode back to Charleston and chefs like Sean Brock (Husk) and Mike Lata (Fig) who really started to put this region on the map,” said Chef Kyle Jacovino Pizzeria Vittoria.
An early adopter of Savannah’s Starland DistrictJacovino, a disciple of the slow food movement, is also in the process of Lucia openinga neighborhood pasta concept that he hopes to open this spring or summer.
One of the most anticipated restaurant openings also slated for the end of the year, Andrew Brochu will open Brochu’s Family Tradition in the Starland District, but said his goal is to deconstruct the concept of fine dining by serving five courses stars in an accessible setting.
“In order to have a Michelin star meal that wows you, I started thinking, do you need nice lights and a nice design, or can you find a space and can you still cook at the same level without too much overhead, and I kept coming back to the same answer: yes.
In 2018, Brochu, who became a chef working in Michelin-starred restaurants and ran Roister’s kitchen for Alinea Group, was opening a similar concept for his restaurant in Chicago. But, when the project fell through and Covid-19 reared its ugly head, Brochu said he and his wife, Sophie, took a step back to reevaluate.
“For once we took a step back and said, ‘You know what, let’s see what happens. “”
Brochu said this step eventually led to them moving to Savannah where he and his wife have family and after finding the right space for their reimagined upscale casual restaurant concept in the Starland District, the stars all started to line up.
“I just want it to be a place where you can go, where you can come and have a fried chicken sandwich and you can sit at the bar and you can hang out and have a good time, or if you want to come in and do -the really, you can order all the seafood you want and make it an upscale meal if you want,” Brochu said. “There’s this groundwork that’s being laid for a phenomenal culinary scene here, and we were just happy that we could come in and contribute to that and hopefully have a positive influence on what’s to come. pass in the years to come.”
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