Best Coffee Shop
Savannah Coffee Roasters –Downtown Savannah
There are coffee shops where you can have coffee and an average bialy, then there is Savannah Coffee Roasters. Some of the best breakfast sandwiches in the city, white table cloth dinner service and mystery murder theatre on Fridays? Yeah, try topping that. You can’t.
Runner up –Corner Perk, Bluffton
Best Drunk Food
Treylor Park –Savannah
Owner Trey Wilder set out to do something different. He succeeded. PB&J Wings, Pancake Chicken “Tacos” yeah and a great bologna and cheese sandwich all hit the spot when you’ve been over served. Hey, it happens.
Runner up – Parkers Market on Drayton
Circa 1875 –Savannah
Chef David Landrigan was among the first in Savannah to do it very well. Now it seems everyone is doing it –and that’s great- but we’ve loved the lineup at Circa for a long long time.
Runner up –Cotton and Rye
One of 2 hotly contested categories. Many many times with burgers they are apples and oranges. All things considered across the board Betty changed their burger slightly after the fire and subsequent year-long remodel. I wasn’t a fan of their burger before. Now, it’s fantastic if not messy. Same goes for a new burger at HH Prime in their sports bar. That thing is a religious experience. Seriously. We couldn’t ignore it.
Runner up –Collins Quarter
Collins Quarter -Savannah
The weekend mob scene at the corner of Bull and Ogelthorpe every weekend morning underscores the fact that Savannah will embrace something slightly different if it is done well. Anthony Debreceny and his staff are to be commended for pushing the envelope away from home fries, hot sauce and omelettes and doing it well. Want to spend a few bucks on a treat? Head over to the Westin.
Runner up –Westin Savannah Harbor
Best Craft Cocktails
The craft cocktail scene in this city has grown from really only 2 spots 3 years ago to a number of fantastic venues providing tasty beverages. It really was tough to pick one. Ultimately the attention to detail at The Grey is what set them slightly apart. The picture perfect venue doesn’t hurt either.
Runner up –Cotton and Rye
Best Place to Eat on River Street
I’ve heard a rumor that Nick Pappas was the first person to serve James Ogelthorpe a meal when he rolled up on River Street as Wet Willie’s wasn’t open yet. Yeah, Nick has been there a long time. Has a serious following among locals. When you can pull that off on River Street, then you know you are doing something right.
Runner up –Dub’s Pub
A 3-time winner here. Still banging out perfection after all of these years. That is all.
Runner up – Sunset Café Hilton Head Island
We’ve got a few great steaks in this area, but if you are looking for a true steakhouse experience where sometimes the dry aged beef comes from some of the same spots as the biggest steakhouses in New York City, then you need to try HH Prime. Those cuts will cost you, but they are the closest you will get to Old Homestead or Keen’s. And they are prepared perfectly.
Runner up –Bluffton Room
Best Fried Chicken You Don’t Have to Wait in Line For
Lil’ Chick – 2901 West Bay Street, Savannah
This roadside stand on Bay Street doesn’t look like much, until you see not only truck drivers and city employees arriving for lunch, but then the phone starts ringing with multiple hundred piece special orders from the likes of International Paper or Gulfstream. Yes, it is that good. Meanwhile, Cotton and Rye’s is on the gourmet end of the spectrum. Their spicy honey glaze is crazy good.
Runner up –Cotton and Rye
Pomodori –Hilton Head Island
Chef/Owner Amanda Russ took a big risk when she set up shop a couple of blocks away from Island Heavyweights like Michael Anthony’s and Ombra Cucina Rustica, but she is absolutely thriving in a tiny corner of a strip mall. A little more ‘mom and pop’ than the others, the flavors are heavenly, the pillow-like gnocchi eye-rollingly good. You will need a reservation for this one. Especially on weekends.
Runner up – Ombra Cucina Rustica
Best Local Brewery
It is impossible to overlook what a fantastic year the guys and gals at Service Brewing have had. From their community involvement and charitable contributions to tireless marketing, which included pouring their beers at the annual Army-Navy Football game, they have officially planted their flag as a major part of our craft brew scene. Throw in a shout out from the White House in early May and you have a clear winner.
Runner Up –Southbound Brewery
Best Pizza You Can’t Find in City Market
We’ve been pounding this drum since they opened. Great pizza is an art form and there is no one more knowledgeable about that art who’s making pizza in this area than Kyle Jacovino. No they aren’t cheap, but neither are Ferrari’s.
Runner up –Local Pie Hilton Head Island
Best Fried Shrimp
Gerald’s Pig and Shrimp –Tybee Island
Gerald takes everything he does seriously. Especially when it comes to food. His fried shrimp is a delicately crafted thing of beauty. Every single time.
Runner up –AJs Dockside
Don’t laugh at sushi at a French place. Before they opened, they told me they were really going to invest in their sushi program. They have and it has paid off. You know it’s a hit when my sushi snob friends approach me and ask if I know about it. Why yes, yes I do.
Runner up – OKKO Hilton Head Island and CO Savannah
These guys have taken the city by storm. Their downtown location is always jammed and now Sandfly is doing the same on weekends. The reason? It is solid well-made Mexican food with tremendous attention to detail. They also sport a knock-out tequila bar that is growing by the day.
Runner up – Carlito’s
Best Place to Blow an Entire Paycheck
The Bluffton Room specializes in steaks, so it can get pricey right there, but they do everything well. From burgers to a signature tableside Bananas Foster that lights up the room every time the flame is lit. More importantly than all of that is the fact that a meal at The Bluffton Room is an experience with Old School hi-back booths offering guests a view of the entire dining room and the promenade in Old Town Bluffton. It’s a special place where you are invited to take your time and enjoy the lost art of ‘dining’ for a few hours.
Runner up –The Grey
Best Place to Eat When You are Broke
Munchie’s BBQ – 2110 Montgomery Street Savannah
There are a few roadside BBQ stands in Savannah if you know where to look. They all do great BBQ, however, it’s tough to beat Munchie’s $2 ‘Buck Box’ where you get chicken and a side. For $2? Yeah, you can’t even get anything off of the drive thru dollar menu for two bucks anymore. His crab rice for $5 is crazy popular as well.
Runner up –Parkers on Drayton Street
Best Shrimp and Grits
441 Public Kitchen and Bar – Statesboro
Seni Alabi-Isama is an Atlanta boy who came to Georgia Southern and stayed. He tells me he worked on his shrimp and grits recipe for almost three years. It’s phenomenal. The dish at Cotton and Rye also deserves very high praise, but ultimately, it’s an appetizer. Delicious, but an appetizer nonetheless. Apples to Oranges there, but you need to try them both.
Runner up – Cotton and Rye
The Grey for Patty Melt with Comeback Sauce
Is a Patty Melt a burger or a sandwich? We wrestled with that one quite a bit. Ultimately, we think it is a sandwich. In this case with perfectly toasted and buttery bread a special grind of beef from Smith Brothers combined with a hint of ground lamb? Boo-yah!
Runner up – Ultimate Chicken Sub Betty Bombers
One of our few back to back winners. Solid, consistent and delicious down in Thunderbolt.
Runner up –King and I
Best New Restaurant
When the Foodie Awards started 3 years ago we only had a couple of candidates for ‘new restaurant’ so we decided to scrap the category. Now the competition is pretty awesome and it’s impossible to overlook what they’ve done at Cotton and Rye in less than a year. From the Fried Chicken to the Burgers to the Shrimp and Grits and the desserts, it’s all phenomenal. I joke that the only time it’s not full when I drive by 5 minutes after they open. It is a smallish dining room, but it is jammed. All of the time.
Runner up – 39 Rue de Jean
The addition of a café at the corner of Bull and Park was a huge one for Brighter Day. None of us are vegans or vegetarians, but we know where to send someone if they ask. No question.
Runner up –Beetnix Superfoods and Juice Bar
Best Wine List
Elizabeth on 37th
We’ve got a few good ones around town, but the best goes to a Savannah classic. Spend any amount of time talking to a Sommelier in Savannah and they will more than likely agree. The list at 37th and Drayton is top notch.
Runner up – The Grey
Everything they do at The Grey, they do well. The oysters are no different. Their program is great assortment and variety across the board. Fair price points as well.
Runner up –Chive Sea Bar and Lounge
Three time winner for Gary Gordon. There are a lot of great wings in this area and trust me, we enjoy the research quite a bit, but 520 is solid across the board. Meanwhile, if you haven’t tried Orchid’s wings at One Hot Mama’s you should do so tomorrow, if not sooner.
Runner up – One Hot Mama’s Hilton Head Island
Matthew Garappolo –The Original
2nd win for Matt in 3 years. The reason is simple, he’s a solid bar man who took quite possibly Savannah’s most treasured beverage institution in Pinkie Masters and has seamlessly transformed it into one of the best spots in town for a drink. Orange peels for Manhattans during the week become fresh squeezed orange juice mimosa’s on Saturday afternoon. That’s just the beginning for the space too.
Runner up – Scott “Bagodonuts” Waldrup, The Grey
Midnight Baker – 14 Promenade Street, Bluffton
Back to Back wins for Robert Plantadis –Old Town Bluffton’s Mad Scientist Frenchman who turns out wave after wave after wave of pastry that could rival anything in Paris, and I am not exaggerating either. Even the stuff that is a day old is amazing.
Runner up –Back in the Day Bakery
Wood’s Kitchen –Bloomingdale
Without question our toughest category to choose. So much good BBQ out there. But Michael Gottlieb and his brother Laurence have jumped in to the Savannah scene again with a solid product. The buns for their sandwiches are the best in town. I wish I liked their BBQ sauce a little more, but everything else is phenomenal. Then you get to finish it off with Gottlieb Bakery’s signature desserts like chocolate chewies and more? We have a winner.
Runner up –Sandfly BBQ
Best Coffee Roaster
Old Town Bluffton’s coffee shop of record also roasts some of their own beans and they are fantastic. Some of the best cups of coffee I’ve had in this area have been at Corner Perk. We realize that is incredibly subjective, but it’s essentially a one-man show over there. That deserves some praise
Best Food with a View
Chef Tony Seichrist tells me he couldn’t have imagined a more perfect location for what he was hoping to do when he moved down from Atlanta last year and opened The Wyld. The makeover the old Bonna Bella has gotten has been fantastic both inside and outside of the kitchen. When you see a family of three in one corner or a group of SCAD execs at a private function in another, then you know something great is happening there. Oh yeah, and then there’s the sweeping view of life in Savannah on display.
Runner up –AJ’s Dockside Bar
39 Rue de Jean – Warm Apple Tarte
Executive Chef Drue Longo tells me they want to blend something ‘southern’ with something French last Fall when they opened on the West side of downtown. Nailed it. This is a spin on apple pie topped with a custom made Leopold’s French Vanilla Ice Cream and Cream Anglaise and caramel. Divine.
Runner up –Cotton and Rye – Twix Candy Bars or House made Pop Tarts
Best Meat and 3
Sisters is legendary around here. It’s a culture club on the weekends, which is the best part. Families coming out of church, SCAD kids in their pajamas, even some grabbing some quick take out to finish off their walks of shame. Sisters serves everyone well.
Runner up – Holland House
Best Chef you Don’t Know about but Probably Should
Dusty Grove – Pacci Italian Kitchen and Bar.
It would be easy to say the host of our party gets an award, but Dusty Grove is a serious talent who’s been around the block in Savannah a time or two. Lately, he’s been working in the shadows at Pacci Savannah inside of The Brice Hotel, behind the departed Roberto Leoci. Dusty has his own new menu at Pacci and it is wonderful. A well deserved honor.