Rumors can get you in trouble. Most of us are old enough to know that. We also know that rumors repeated often enough tend to have a bad habit of being passed off as fact. Over the last few months I’ve gotten a little of both every time the topic of Husk comes along, celebrity chef Sean Brock’s highly anticipated restaurant in the heart of dowtown Savannah.
It’s been just about a year since the official announcement was made last April. It had been a rumor (there’s that word again) for almost as long before that. A long line of denials or silence were all that we had. That official announcement from the Brock camp via Food and Wine Magazine revealed not only a Husk for Savannah, but also one would open in Greenville, South Carolina.
Then came the silence.
There’s not been a peep from Team Brock since that announcement. All we had to go on was the fact that Greenville would open first, then attention would pivot to the Savannah property located in an old BPOE Lodge at 12 West Oglethorpe Street between Bull and Whitaker Streets. The project was a complete rebuild. A lot of the interior had been lost in a fire almost a decade ago. There a lot of work and restoration to be done in there, not the kind of project that wraps up in 6 weeks.
Fueling the speculation and the wonder was a lack of movement by anyone inside of the space. It’s pretty easy to pardon dust when you know something is coming, but for a good length of time there was nothing. No movement. No hammers, no table saws. Considering it is widely regarded as one of the most haunted buildings in Savannah perhaps there were a few grim grinning ghosts hanging around, but beyond that? Nada.
That’s when “Savannah” took over. Of course, I use quotes respectfully because we are, after all, in the South. Absent any facts, sometimes people will pour themselves a favorite beverage and start throwing theories onto a flame. The next thing you know? Boomtown.
“Brock is getting cold feet” I was told. “Husk will never work here.” Was another beauty. “The space will be too big, they won’t be able to fill it.” from yet another. The most frustrating part of all of that was the negativity associated with all of it. Haters gonna hate I suppose.
The most feasible theory I was shopped by an old neighbor friend was “Brock backed out because he’s having trouble with his eyesight.” At least someone tried to tie this particular theory to a wonderfully written article in GQ last November about Brock’s struggle with a rare condition that severely affects his vision. It’s a struggle he has dealt with for a couple of years now. The problem with this association was that the same article in GQ mentions the fact that Brock -while still having some trouble-has gotten treatment and is planning to move forward with his Husk projects in Greenville and Savannah after that. Which brings me full circle. Where does the truth lie?
Wednesday morning I received word from a spokesperson for Neighborhood Dining Group, the parent company for Husk and other Brock-related brands. “Construction is progressing rapidly and we are hoping that we can get open by late fall of 2017. We are very excited about creating an estimated 60-70 jobs and being a part of the Savannah culinary scene.” that quote straight from NDG President David Howard.
Unofficially, I was also told plain and simply that the Greenville project has taken much longer to complete than was expected. The original timeline had been Greenville in the fall of 2016 with Savannah the following spring. Greenville hasn’t opened yet but work in Savannah does continue. Clearly, Husk is still a go. It’s just taking longer than we’d like. Historic restorations always do, especially in Savannah.
Just stop believing everything you hear.
See you on TV,