Chefs regularly tell me they wished they were able to do more with the 80 hours a week (on the low end) they work. Almost all of them will admit to that. Especially if they own their own restaurant. If they are working for the man, then they come in, put in the hours, smoke a cigarette or two in the lane, close out their shift, have a beer, go home and repeat. If they are lucky, they see the sun. If they are not, then it’s a hamster wheel.
Patrick McNamara is one of those chef/owners dedicated to his craft and his family inside of a tiny kitchen at the corner of Jefferson and Harris Streets in Downtown Savannah. If you dine out with any regularity, then you know that corner as Noble Fare. One of Savannah’s “off of the beaten path” fine dining restaurants.
For years “Patty Mac,” as he is affectionately known, had been wanting to branch out from his fine dining following and do a little more. There’s been some experimentation with TV dinner tasting menus at Noble Fare, but there was always a big picture “Plan B” that Pat wanted to make a run at. The problem was, frankly, his own inability to trust someone enough with Plan A. Well, the day has finally come and now Patty has opened a neighborhood sandwich shop downtown. It’s called Totally Baked. Early reviews are fantastic.
“We first talked about Totally Baked about 15 years ago. She (Pat’s wife Jennifer) was still at Kent State and I was working for a restaurant group.” Pat tells me “Probably 2 years ago. We started a catering company. What would fuel that is a sandwich shop for clean food. Then we starting looking for a space.”
The space they settled on is at the corner of Jefferson and Jones Streets. Diagonally across from the iconic Crystal Beer Parlor at the head, really of a beautiful downtown neighborhood. No real competition there, though. Totally Baked is a sandwich and salad shop, with Pat putting his skill to work creating original salads and dressings, as well as classic sandwiches.
“How many Subways, how many Jersey Mike’s can we handle?” he says. “Some of those places can’t even call that prosciutto. They have to call it Prostini-ini, I don’t know what it is.” “More and more people want to know what they are eating.”
The sandwiches he’s making are huge. Undoubtedly enough for two people. There is a Muffaletta with an olive salad of course made in house. There’s a “Great Dane” which features Roast Beef, Blue Cheese and Horseradish and there is a “Meathead” Mortadella, Serrano Ham, Roast Beef, Black Forest Ham and more. The salads, including a Wheatberry Salad he offered me as a side with Quinoa and Kale was fantastic. They’ve only been open a short time, but there is an ongoing dialogue with some bakers about providing fresh breads as well.
The question remains though, if Patty Mac is ramping up a sandwich shop, who is running the show at Noble Fare? Well, for now, he is as well. There’s a lot of double duty involved right these days. Mornings and mid day at Totally Baked, Afternoon/Evenings and Nights at Noble. That schedule, however, does have a shelf life. Pat tells me he has finally found the right person to bring along at Noble and turn them loose on Savannah’s food scene.
“My knees are getting tired” he says “You get up in age and that engine light starts coming on a little more frequently. But I have found the right person. He will be down in a few weeks and we are going to shake things up and grow them both.”
There are some cosmetic changes in store for Noble Fare after the first of the year as well as, most likely, a tweaked menu. We can chat about those another time. For now, Patty Mac is working all of the hours making two spots work, and despite those long hours, he admits to being re-energized by a new concept to bring a whole new set of ideas to.”
“Not just re-energized.” he says “I realized I’m stopping myself from growing (by only being committed to Noble Fare). “Let’s bring in some young energy to push the concept and I will show him maybe how to make a little bit of money.”
Totally Baked is open 6 days a week from 11am until 6pm. Better yet, if you’d like to see some more, you can catch Totally Baked on my television show, Eat It and Like It with Jesse Blanco this Sunday, November 19th at 7:30am on WSAV-TV. We have no doubt you will Eat It and Like It.
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