Georgia Travel Articles
Have you ever dined with a pirate’s ghost? The Pirate’s House in Savannah is reputed to have some lurking in its attic and in the old tunnel once used to shanghai drugged sailors. Almost as old as the city itself, the Pirate’s House began its career as an inn in 1853. It catered to the seafaring men who frequented the port city. The line between honest seaman and bloodthirsty pirate was thin in those times. Blackbeard, himself may have visited the inn on one of his forays into Savannah. Robert Louis Stevenson enjoyed the inn. He is said to have modeled the infamous Captain Flint of Treasure Island on one of the habitues.
Whether or not you spot the ghost of the infamous Flint searching for his bottle of rum, you are sure to discover treasure at today’s Pirate’s House. However, today the treasure is culinary not pieces of eight. Their daily luncheon buffet is a great way to sample their extremely varied menu.
Honey Pecan Chicken is one of their very best choices but it’s hard to make a wrong choice here.. Be sure to save room for their mouthwatering desserts.
The Pirates’ House rambles like an old salt’s tale. It has 18 separate dining areas. The most fascinating being the "Old Herb Shop". This section was believed to be built in 1734, shortly after the colony’s founding. It housed the gardener of Savannah’s Trustee’s Gardens and is believed to be Georgia’s oldest house.
The Pirate’s House is a legend in Savannah and would not be the same anywhere else.
If you wander into Churchill’s Pub, it’s easy to believe you are back in Merry Olde England. Located in the historic district, the bar, built in England in 1860, is the oldest in Savannah. The food is typical British fare. You can order a chip butty (French fries on toasted French bread), Bubble and Squeak, (mashed potatoes with boiled cabbage seasoned with ham, beef and turkey), Bangers and Mash, (mashed potatoes and peas with sausage) or Toad in the Hole ( Yorkshire pudding with sausage). Fortunately, the menu contains a dictionary to help you discover the American equivalent of the dishes. The atmosphere here is the biggest attraction.
The Crab Shack
Savannah is filled with dining establishments of all types but the good food isn’t confined to the city. If you cross the bridge heading for the beach, you find Tybee Island. Here the main emphasis is on seafood. The Crab Shack , located on Chimney Creek, is the place to go to get a feel for Low Country Cooking at its best. My favorite is Capt’n Crab’s Sampler Platter. This is served for one or two but believe me the platter for one feeds two amply. There is just the slightest chance you will have room for dessert. If so, try the Key Lime Pie (the Jimmy Buffet music playing and the water view will put you in the mood for it). You need to sample one of their frozen drinks, too.
The style here is "down and dirty". I defy anyone to eat a fat blue crab or juicy snow crab legs neatly. The tables all have a hole in the center for you to toss the shells and a handy lavatory to wash your hands right in the dining room. The outdoor patio area is great in the warmer weather (most of the weather in Savannah is warm) but the dining room with its rustic marina look and lots of windows has an atmosphere of its own.
If you movie goers experience déjà vu on your first visit it’s probably because you saw this same setting in The General’s Daughter. The opening scenes were filmed in the restaurant. The food is unique and hard to beat which backs up the restaurant motto, "Where the elite eat in their bare feet".
Two other restaurants on Tybee are noteworthy for their seafood and atmosphere. Bubba Gumbo’s and Café Loco’s . Both are on Lazaretto Creek and offer waterfront dining. For Buffalo wing enthusastists, try Bubba’s Buffalo oysters and Café Loco’s Buffalo shrimp. If you have to decide between the two, Bubba’s offers almost all seafood dishes including a great low country boil while Café Loco has a mix of beef and seafood including a build your own burger. They also offer a Low country Boil. Café Loco offers live blues music. Both offer a great sunset view.
Breakfast is too often the "forgotten" meal. Not so if you enjoy it at the Breakfast Club, located on the beach at Tybee. Here you will find no atmosphere to speak of but you will find some of the most delicious and unique breakfasts anywhere. In fact, the owner, Joseph (Jody) Savowsky, is such a great chef he was invited to cook for JFK at his secret wedding on Cumberland Island. He didn’t know who he would be cooking for when he was invited to come there and perform his culinary magic. When you sample his Pecan Waffles , Egg Florentine, Helen’s Solidarity AKA The Grill Cleaners Special or any of the special dishes that start your day off with a bounce. If you don’t like anything on the menu, Jody invites you to create your own omelet choosing from over a dozen additional ingredients to toss into the golden egg mixture. When I told the waitress I was a grits lover, she informed me Jody had a special secrete ingredient that made his grits the best ever. After I sampled it, I agreed but could not decipher the magic ingredient. She told me his secret. He cooks the grits in chicken stock instead of plain water. Try it. You won’t regret it.
River Street Sweets and Savannah Candy Kitchen
Daren and Andrew make peanut brittle
If all this food starts you sweet tooth acting up, take a walk on River Street next to the Savannah River. Once it was a hodgepodge of cotton warehouses. After the Civil War dethroned King Cotton, they sat empty and decaying until the 1970’s when a urban renewal project turned the derelict warehouses into galleries, shops, restaurants and other attractive incentives to draw tourists instead of wharf rats.
River Street Sweets is the candy lover’s browsing experience. You can sample a variety of their candies as you see them made right in front of you. Darren and Andrew were cooking peanut brittle when I visited and the aroma alone added several pounds.
Mother and daughter team, Georgia Nash and Pamela Strickland opened when the wharf area was first being renovated. The first shop was a gift shop called The Cotton Bale. When Pamela traveled to Atlanta in 1978 to make some purchases, her young son spied a huge fudge kettle being demonstrated. The rest is history. Within a week the fudge pot was installed in the shop. Soon fudge sales outstripped any other item. They developed their own recipe for pralines and River Street Sweets was born. Thanks to people’s fascination with watching the candy made, there are now several branch stores.
If you want to double your fun, stop just down the street and visit Savannah Candy Kitchen. Here too, you will find candy being made and samples to tempt your sweet tooth.
The entire river walk area sports more restaurants than even the most dedicated food connoisseur can sample in a vacation. So, whether you eat to live or live to eat, Savannah is the spot for you.
Recipes Recipe from "The Pirate's House Cookbook" by Sarah Gaede; ISBN 0-939-114161-5
1 qt. oysters, drained 4 slices bacon 1 medium onion, chopped 2 ribs celery, chopped 1 small bell pepper, chopped salt and pepper to taste Fry bacon in heavy Dutch oven until crisp. Remove bacon. Sauté onions, celery and pepper in bacon grease until onions are translucent. Crumble bacon and return to pot. Add drained oysters and cook until they release juice, 1 to 2 minutes. Serves 4.
Helen’s Solidarity AKA Grill Cleaners Special from the Breakfast Club
A healthy portion of diced potatoes, Polish sausage, green peppers and onions, scrambled with two eggs and topped with Monterey Jack and American Cheese. Serve with grits and toast
Egg Florentine Special from the Breakfast Club
Poach one egg in a nest of spinach topped with sautéed mushrooms and onions. melt Swiss on top. Serve on whole wheat toast points
Pirates’ House 20 E. Broad St. Savannah, GA 31401
Churchill’s Pub 9 Drayton St. Savannah, GA 31401
The Crab Shack Chimney Creek Tybee Island, GA
Bubba Gumbo’s Old Hwy 80 Tybee Island, GA
Café Loco Old Hwy 80 Tybee Island, GA
Breakfast Club 1500 Butler Ave Tybee Island, GA
River Street Sweets River St Savannah, GA
Savannah Candy Kitchen River St Savannah, GA
Provided by American Roads Travel Magazine - Visit American Roads Travel Magazine website.
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