Can you believe we’ve reached the home stretch on 2014? Thanksgiving is upon us, we’ll spend the next five weeks eating and liking and promising a diet on January 1st. No? The weather has cooperated with the season and the decorations seemingly have gone up in record time. They call it the most wonderful time of the year, and for good reason. Our city comes alive at the holidays. Downtown, residents of Savannah’s famous squares pour out, set up a table with food and drink and share some time decorating those squares. And seemingly every municipality in the region gathers around to put up their tree, almost like the final scene from the Grinch that Stole Christmas but without the dog, sled, or the heist. It’s enough reason to make us smile and get all warm and fuzzy during this holiday time, but the reality is we have reason to be thankful all year long. We are fortunate enough to live in a very special place. Thirteen million people come through here every single year. You know they are coming for more than a picture of a statue or some fried chicken.
I parked two blocks away from a meeting this morning at 7:00am and walked down the middle of Bull Street in the rain. Along the double yellow lines. So I got wet? Big deal. But I was as mesmerized by this city’s glow in the morning rain as I am any other day or night in Savannah. I personally consider myself extremely lucky and am very thankful for a great many things this city has to offer.
- I’m thankful for the growth this city has seen and will see going forward. Regardless of where you stand on what is going on down on Broughton Street, I am believer that progress is good. Hotels going up everywhere and more on the way.
- We all should be thankful that new restaurants in town are forcing others to notice and “up their game.” I had one manager recently refer to “shiny new pennies” all over town that are attracting people. Pacci is beautiful. The Florence is, as well. Rue de Jean, once they open, will be a fantastic new addition to this city and The Grey at 109 MLK Blvd has a chance to the best of them all. Time will tell, but it is a good conversation to have.
- I’m personally thankful for the remarkable growth the Savannah Food & Wine Festival showed in year two. I think overwhelming is a fair word. I was told that ticket sales were up 198% leading up to that week and I think every single one of those people showed up at Taste of Savannah. If you were there, you know there were some issues with logistics. I have no problem saying that. I also do know that those issues will be addressed and corrected. Big time. Growing too quickly is a good problem to have. My two cents, anyway.
- I’m thankful for scent of shallots cooking down in rendered bacon fat. Onions work as well. Sorry, I digress.
- We should be thankful Ele and Chef Sean Tran’s dedication to their restaurants. We’ve had opportunity to enjoy King and I and Tangerine for years, but have you seen the lines at Flying Monk on Broughton Street? Right across the street from what many believe is the city’s best seafood spot at Chive?
- Thankful that the guys, Seth and Patrick, at Betty Bombers are rebuilding after a devastating fire. Yes, the city has had its say on the re-build inside of the American Legion Hall on Bull Street, but Betty Bombers is in the middle of that re-build right now. They will be open soon. No dates yet. My first Ultimate Chicken Sub will be a celebration.
- Thankful that an Australian decided to set up shop here, completely re-design a space on Bull and Ogelthorpe and call it Collins Quarter. Anthony Debreceny is working seventeen hours a day in his place. That’s a large reason why so many are Eating and Liking.
- I’m very thankful that Paula Deen got up off the canvas and got back to work this year. There is not a person reading this right now who hasn’t been challenged by adversity. How you respond to it is really what defines you. I think Ms. Paula has done just fine.
- I’m thankful for that Triple Decker Turkey Club Sandwich at Crystal Beer Parlor. Toasted Rye and Cheddar please.
- We should be thankful for young, passionate visionaries like Ruel Joyner. There is seriously not a word that comes out of his mouth I think that isn’t somehow intended for improving quality of life in his hometown.
- I’m thankful for the culinary talent that has chosen to either return to Savannah or stay here and try to create a better food scene. Karl Mace, James Levins, and Matt Roher are just three names. But there are many. So many guys and gals leave for the big city first chance they get. We need more to stay here.
- And finally, I am incredibly thankful to all of you for your support of Eat It and Like It. Those of you that take a moment to say hello in public and those of you that watch our television show. Ratings are great and 2015 will be even better. So, thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!