I moved to Savannah, Georgia just before Christmas last year, and began a new full-time job in March. When you work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the lunch hour is always a bright spot during the day.
It’s nice to step away from the office for a change of scenery and to recharge for the afternoon, and while sometimes lunch is a sandwich at home or a quick drive-thru run, I revel in the days when I visit a quaint eatery, read over an enticing menu and anticipate my selection as I sip on a cold, refreshing dose of caffeine.
What makes a great lunch spot? Well, to me it’s a mix of things, beginning with seasonal, local ingredients presented thoughtfully, in a clean, inviting atmosphere with friendly people. Obviously, great flavor is a huge factor, good portion size and knowledgeable staff too. An informed server–someone who takes pride in their work and knowing their menu–gains immediate respect in my book.
My family and friends are always asking about where to eat in Savannah, and lately, I’ve been on a lunchtime quest to find the very best spots to share with you.
Here are my Top 5 Mid-Day Meal Spots in the Hostess City:
Hands down, Kayak Kafe has the menu to beat. From hearty salads to flavorful tacos and quesadillas, most ingredients are sourced locally and they’re all natural. These Southwestern Wild Georgia Shrimp Tacos are packed with fresh ingredients, and just look at that chunk of creamy avocado right on top! What’s not to love? I never visit Kayak Cafe without ordering a basket of their cinnamon-sugar laden sweet potato fries. They have great cocktails too, and even offer weekend brunch. With locations in both Midtown and Downtown Savannah, this is a must visit.
Joe’s Homemade Cafe, Catering and Bakery is a hidden gem. Quaint but bursting with Southern hospitality, the inside of the restaurant has a handful of tables and each one is decked out with white table cloths and fresh flowers. The menu offers house-made desserts and pastries, plus sandwiches, salads and custom cakes. The lemon cheesecake is highly recommended.
Here on the blog, it is a rare occasion when I give a restaurant chain any play. BUT, Chicken Salad Chick is the exception. Founded by Stacey Brown, a stay-at-home mom from Alabama with help from her computer software salesman-husband, this franchise offers 15 different flavors of chicken salad! It is the first restaurant I have ever been to that has grape salad as a side option. How phenomenal! Grape salad is a special treat I only ever make at home and they do it just right with brown sugar and pecans. I could go on and on about the menu, the brand and the atmosphere. My favorite menu item is ironically, not chicken salad at all, but the Pimento Cheese BLT. I order mine spicy, always with a side of grape salad. Every plate is served with a sweet treat to finish the meal – a buttercream frosted flower cookie that literally melts in your mouth. The signage will make you laugh out loud – especially in the ladies room. Southerners, don’t miss this fine establishment.
4. Sandfly BBQ
I couldn’t possibly write a post about good lunches in the South without including at least one BBQ joint. Sandfly BBQ is an award-winning restaurant in a small community in Savannah. My office is close by, and whenever I’m craving smoked barbecue, this place hits the spot. With handcut French fries and a variety of sauces, their meat is traditionally seasoned and smoked over a combination of hickory and pecan. It’s a walk-up-and-order-at-the-counter kind of joint, with a few booths on the inside and outdoor seating. I order the BBQ pulled pork sandwich with fries, take a book along and sip on sweet tea.
If you love an eclectic atmosphere and a good Southern menu, look no further than the elegant SoHo South. With offerings like fried okra, Georgia peach salad, chicken and waffles, braised collard greens and buttermilk biscuits, you’ll feel right at home. Lunch is often accompanied by live piano music, creating a bustling yet peaceful ambiance. I love the Fried Green Tomato Sandwich (above) with toasted goat cheese and sweet tomato-oregano jam, with a side of sweet potatoes. The fish tacos with corn salsa and avocado are also noteworthy. One of Savannah’s staple lunch and Sunday Brunch spots, the restaurant morphes into an event venue easily, and gets its inspiration and namesake from a New York City neighborhood.
That’s a wrap! Where are your favorite lunchtime dives in Savannah? Let me know if I left a good one off the list. For more #SomeKindaGood food finds, follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I also host a cooking channel on YouTube. Subscribe here.
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Georgia native Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is a freelance writer, entertainer and food enthusiast who writes and speaks about her love of good food and the Coastal South. A Season 2 Contestant on ABC’s “The Taste,” she is the Statesboro Herald food columnist and host of SKG-TV on YouTube.com. A Georgia Southern University alumna, Rebekah also attended Savannah Technical College’s Culinary Institute of Savannah. To learn more, connect with Some Kinda Good on social media, or visit RebekahFaulk.wix.com/RebekahFaulk.