Great salads are not easy. Anyone who appreciates a great salad will tell you that. You need a little more than shredded lettuce, some purple stuff and carrots topped with fried chicken and ranch to make a salad wonderful. You know, those kinds of salads you get at the “fast-casual” spots that by the time you finish counting the calories, you’d have been better off with the burger? Yeah, those…no bueno. Real, fresh, creative salads are a little tough to come by in the Savannah area. No, don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of spots that may have a good one on their menu, but locations with great choices for different kinds of salads and fresh offerings? We are kind of limited. It’s why the salad bar at Whole Foods, at $13 or so dollars a pound, is a very popular spot from Noon until 2pm during the week.
Two spots in Savannah are a cut above all others when it comes to things like this. Starland Café off of Bull near Victory and Kayak Kafe on Broughton St near Bull. These two spots pass the tests for greatness with flying colors. What is the criteria when it comes to salad and healthier type fare? Well, the same as any other restaurant. Freshness is obviously the most important. Creativitiy is there as well, and consistency. Consistency is the mark of any great restaurant. When it comes to good, flavorful, healthy alternatives, you’d be hard pressed to find better choices than these two places. It’s totally understandable that getting to Kayak down on Broughton Street is tough if you don’t live or work downtown. It’s impossible to drive down there, park, walk, eat, and get back to work in an hour if you, say work Midtown, for example. Well, have no fear. Brendan Pappas just took care of that for you.
Brendan has been the owner at Kayak Kafe since they opened on Broughton Street a number of years ago. In that time, it has become a go-to spot for anyone who lives or works downtown looking for something on the healthy side for lunch. Their Lime-Chicken Tacos with Georgia Corn Salsa are maybe in my top ten dishes anywhere in Savannah. I’m told their Cobb Salad is Savannah’s best by a long shot. The attention to detail with the food at Kayak is always close to perfect. I have never walked out of there saying anything but “Man, that was just awesome.” So, how does this help you if you aren’t downtown? Kayak Kafe is now open at 5002 Paulsen Street, in the old Blue Turtle Bistro space. Same menu, same flavors, same excellence, just a few miles closer to where you live.
“I had been looking for a new location”, Brendan tells me. “But I wasn’t going to just anywhere.” Toss in a little help from some local realtors who knew that Brendan was keeping an eye out for the right opportunity and you get what a lot of people in town believe is a perfect fit. “The menu is exactly the same as the downtown location”, he says. “We are going to add some specials for dinner and expanded it just a little, but anything that you enjoy at our location downtown, you will find it here.”
For those of you who visited Blue Turtle, the look is the same, but it’s been warmed up a little bit. A full bar will give it a different feel than the original location. And, of course, a TV. “We have a TV and we have beer”, says Brendan. “So, I feel an obligation to add chicken wings.” They’ll come in some creative flavors including Korean BBQ.
“We really like the location”, he says. Sitting between two hospitals it’s hard not to. Kayak has a great following in Savannah. There is no denying that it will follow them to midtown. The few people I told about this could hardly contain their excitement. Gaslight Group’s 5 Spot is doing well over in Habersham Village. Kayak is going to appeal to an entirely different audience and I have no reason to think they will do anything but succeed there. Of course, I also thought the approach Brian Huskey took with Blue Turtle was a can’t miss as well…but sometimes the best ideas don’t always turn out like you hoped.
For now, Brendan is absolutely excited about this opportunity to expand his niche market to Savannah’s midtown area. Smart money is on Kayak Kafe Midtown becoming the lunch crowd’s go-to place. If you haven’t made it down to Kayak on Broughton, you owe it to yourself to try it on Paulsen. Plenty there to Eat and Like. And not at seven pounds to your waistline. If you get there, let me know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am always curious what you are all up to.
See you on TV.