Dining Out

Locals Only: Restaurants in Savannah

By: Hannah Lee Leidy

Founder of Big Bon Wood-Fired Pizza and Big Bon Bodega Kay Heritage is constantly inspired by the restaurants in Savannah. From museum eats to ‘za, there’s a lot to this coastal city’s blossoming food scene.

As told to Erin Byers Murray

Seriously Good Bread

Auspicious Baking Co. is probably the city’s most legit bakery—beautiful breads, focaccias, croissants, a lot of pastries. They do all kinds of good stuff and they’re starting to do pizzas, which I think is really fun. They call themselves a community-supported bakery and they’re only open two days per week for retail; the rest of the days are for wholesale to restaurants and coffee shops. We are supposed to do [owners Katie Bryant and Mark Ekstrom’s] wedding reception but, well, they’re too busy to get married right now! Hopefully soon.

Caffeine Fix

There’s a coffee and bakery called Troupial that’s nearby and it’s a really unique and beautiful space. And I have to give a shout out to Foxy Loxy Print Gallery and Cafe, owned by Jen Jenkins. She has five coffee shops, but here they do a lot of pastries and especially nice vegan pastries. That’s really me and my husband’s go-to morning for coffees and pastries to share.

Brunch and Burgers

The Collins Quarter is solid for breakfast and lunch, but they’re really known for their brunch. Owner Anthony Debreceny is from Australia, and he has several locations, including one inside Forsyth Park, which is wonderful. It’s quite eclectic—from burgers to really great salads and bowls—he brings different cultural backgrounds together. Oh, and by the way, the best burger in town is going to be at Husk Savannah.

Dinner, Served

Common Thread is the new kid in town, which just opened during pandemic from chef Brandon Carter, who also has FARM in Bluffton. It’s very elevated and he uses beautiful, bold ingredients, and does a wonderful presentation. That and Cotton & Rye, which I want to applaud—it’s traditional American cuisine but so well done. Those are my two favorites for dinner.

Other People’s Pies

When I’m not cooking pizza, I go eat Kyle Jacovino’s at Vittoria Pizzeria. The restaurant is in Starland Yard, which is kind of like a fun adult park. Kyle serves a Neapolitan-style and it really is the next best thing to [ours at Big Bon Pizza].

Jay Langfelder, who was a top pizza-maker in Buffalo, New York, got tired of the weather and he moved down here. We got connected and now we’re partners. He is doing a traditional New York-style, which is different than Kyle’s but people really like it. So, now Big Bon Bodega is wood-fired bagels in the morning and pizza at night. I’d love to see Jay soar. I told him, and I tell all my team members, “Listen, my job is to give you the support you need to launch your own place.” I would love for Big Bon to be that for others.

Family Fun

Locals go to Starland Yard not only for Vittoria but also the local food trucks, which are on a rotational schedule. It’s such a fun place and a lot of families go as well since it’s very safe for the children.

Stay in Style
The JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside District built by Richard Kessler, who’s actually a local and a hotelier, is just out of this world. It’s right on the water, it has several restaurants, and it’s truly a remarkable place. It’s got wood-fired pizza, which I’m always interested in, as well as Mexican food and sushi and a great rooftop bar.

Time for Tea and Art

I used to be a coffee drinker but now that I’m older, I’ve converted to tea. I had friends visiting [recently] and we got to visit Savannah College of Art and Design [SCAD] and then I took them to the Gryphon for afternoon tea, which is part of SCAD.

SCADStory is like a museum for the school. Super fun. President [and founder] Paula Wallace and SCAD have done an amazing job by using so many buildings that just wouldn’t have gotten love otherwise—they really have restored the city. It’s neat how they claim the whole city as their campus.

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