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May 7, 2009 06:18 AM

Savannah & Environs for $10/entree?

We’ll be house-sitting in Historic Savannah (not far from Calhoun Square) for a week very soon. We’ll probably eat at home several times because we’re a little on the thrifty side, and we have a 2-year-old (she can be relatively well-behaved in restaurants though). But I would like to get to some of the best places in Savannah in my budget. (about $10/entrée or less). We’ll have a car, but I think we might only use it for trips out of the center (to Tybee, Hilton Head, maybe ferry to Daufuskee) My little daughter and I don’t eat red meat (eg no mammals, including pork) but everyone else in our party does. I can usually find some chicken, veggie or fish thing at a red meat place.

I’ve sifted through the board for recommended places that seem to be within my (roughly) $10/entrée budget and I’ve come up with the list below. It seems like a lot, but I'd still like to get some comments, especially on places we could go after 5pm (though we would be good candidates for any high-quality early bird specials).

Clary's Cafe
Express Cafe & Bakery on Barnard & Congress – for Bagels and Bagel Sandwiches

Sandwiches/Lunch Only:
Mrs Wilke’s Dining Room – at $16/pp, it’s a bit more than I want to spend, but I see from this board that it is a must.
Zunzi's, on E York btwn Drayton & Abercorn. Takeout counter.
B. Matthew's on Habersham and Bay – also open for dinner, but more expensive then.
Soho South on Liberty & Bull Sts.
Polk's Produce and Floral, 530 E. Liberty Street

Blowin' Smoke on MLK btwn Gaston & Minis.

For a drink (if I can leave the kid at home):
Jazz’d – live music, the tapas are probably too expensive for me unless each one is a meal.
Molly McPhersons - for a bar meal
Mansion at the Park - The bar upstairs

Vinnie Van Go Go's - Pizza

Leopold's - Ice Cream

The Breakfast Club on Butler and 14th - for breakfast or lunch
The Crab Shack – Tourist-discovered but still good
North Beach Grill – Carribean
AJ’s Dockside Grill on Chatham & 14th – fish (gets more expensive at dinner)
Flying Fish Bar & Grill: - fresh seafood on the way to Tybee - at the east intersection of Hwy 80 and Johnny Mercer (there are 2 Hwy 80/J mercer intersections) on the westbound side of 80.

Hilton Head:
Dye’s Gullah Fixins – in Pineland Station Mall – this place seems interesting
Guiseppe's – typical suburban pizza joint but recommended
The Sea Shack - 6 Pope Ave (Executive Park Rd) seafood dive with long lines
Palmetto Bay Sun Rise Café – (Palmetto Bay Rd & Helmsman Way) open ‘til 3 Breakfast & Lunch locals joint
Frankie Bone’s Restaurant & lounge – Lunch & Early Bird seems reasonable – may need reservations
May 5th Grill & Cantina – Hard to find behind Park Plaza on Office Park Rd.

Dufuskie Island:
Marshside Mama's – S End of Haig Pt Road - Secret

I would be very grateful for any additional suggestions or any help prioritizing these places for my visit.

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  1. I probably should have added Geneva Geneva's Homeplate (Bee Rd near Victory Dr) and Sweet Potatoes (Waters Ave and Eisenhower Dr) as two less-expensive outer-Savannah comfort food places that are also recommended several times on this board.

    1. You've done your homework....

      Breakfast: I'd do Express Cafe and Breakfast Club before I did Clary's, but you'll be here long enough to maybe work in all three. Express has extremely fine freshly baked baguettes, great quiches, and traditional egg dishes as well.

      Lunch: those are not bad choices you've listed. Consider lunch at Express Cafe as well - they have a roasted red pepper, warm goat cheese, and pesto on foccaccia that is mos' def in the running for best sammich in the solar system. As a veggie, you'll dig it, I suspect. Also, try Back in the Day Bakery (2403 Bull Street) for lunch - they have an excellent curried chicken sammich, and their Grilled Cheese is pretty nice as well. You could do worse than picking up some breakfast scones and coffee for breakfast there. Also, take home one of their rosemary loafs or a fresh ciabbatta and make sammiches at home. They will be very good sammiches indeed.

      BBQ: for me, Blowin' Smoke among the choices you've listed. You might also consider Johnny Harris on Victory Drive, as much for their award-winning sauce and the ambiance of their old-fashioned up-scale roadhouse dining room as for the 'que. They have exceptional onion rings.

      Pizza - Vinnie's is okay, but try Pizza Rustica (1919 Bull Street, south of Forsyth Park) for a nice pie to take back to your crib some evening.

      Leopold's Ice Cream - you may find yourself wanting to go every evening for a cone in lieu of having dessert wherever it is you're dining,

      For Tybee: AJ's, AJs, and AJs (and Breakfast Club, of course)

      For your price point, I'd add Saigon for a dinner of Pho or a vermicelli bowl - they're on Broughton Street. They'll take care of your tofu jones. B. Matthews is a good place, and they're open for breakfast as well.

      Can't help you out much on HHI or Daufuskie, but there's a popstand off the highway in "downtown" Bluffton (just on the mainland off HHI) called Squat 'n' Gobble. Even if you don't eat there, stop in and get a t-shirt. Folks back home will wonder....

      Let me add a couple of places for getting a drink. Pinkie Masters is an old Savannah bar across Drayton Street from the DeSoto Hilton. Gotta have a beer there - maybe not more than one but a beer at Pinkie's is a must. My favorite small and intimate local's dive is The Rail on Congress just west of Montgomery Street, on the west side of the market. Good happy hour deals and all the roasted peanuts you can wash down. Shells on the floor, pliz....

      Hope you have a great time on your visit.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Buddha49

        Thanks for the thoughtful comments and the additional recs, Buddha49. I especially appreciate you narrowing things down for me in Tybee (AJ's!) and giving a stronger rec to Express Cafe. I will try to check out those bars if I can, much appreciated.

        As for Sarge, below, I appreciate you taking time to write me a comment, too. And I think I understand your point - eating cheaply can indeed be a poorer overall value, depending on one's strategy. I don't want to eat at places that feel too pricey for me. I am a grad student, and I don't want to spend more when I eat out on vacation than I do when I eat out in my home city. I eat at places where really good entrees are $10 or less, no matter what city I'm in (Yes, this is even how I eat in Chicago). I want to eat like a thrifty, value-conscious, enlightened local. A local who does not have a lot of money to spend. And chowhounds have helped me to do this in dozens of cities. I just wanted to give the board a specific price to work with. I think its doable, though I wont be doing any so-called fine dining. I'm pretty happy with the breadth of my list here. And you're right, I will be eating breakfast at home most mornings, to save money.

        1. re: nico_suave

          I concur with Buddha, you did great research and have good places on your list, although I'm no Savannah expert. I was there a few weeks ago, and one place I's add to your list is the Firefly Cafe. It fits your budget for breakfast and lunch, and they do a great (and popular!) Sunday Brunch that would fit your budget, for the most part.

          I'm sure you'll find lots of good chow.

      2. A $10.00 bill is not going to get you too far in Savannah. If your budget is that tight, eat breakfast at home every day. The Breakfast Club is nothing to write home about and it'll take you 2 gallons of gas to get there and back. And it aint cheap! You wont get out of Geneva's for under $10.00 and if you do, you may wish you had kept your Hamilton Portrait.

        All in all, you'll only be frustrated if you try to stay in that budget. Savannah has tourist prices in most all of its restaurants. You may as well be trying to pull this off in Chicago.

        1. Great list, but I second the recommendation of adding Sweet Potatoes Kitchen to your list:

          1. Mrs. Wilkes is very popular in Savannah.
            Also, please allow time to just hang out with your little one around River Street. You won't need a plan.
            When we lived in the area I went to Beaufort just to walk and enjoy the scenery. It is so beautiful. A table outside at Panini's would be fun with a two year old.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Lewes17266

              I just remembered how nice it was around Harbor Town in Hilton Head. There are some nice views and a stretch of beach and a pier to walk out onto in that area.
              There were always young families enjoying strolling and ice cream in Harbor Town.
              Also in Hilton Head, The Salty Dog Cafe provides a nice atmosphere for having a beer outside and just hanging out with the family on a nice day. I am not recommending the quality of the food necessarily, rather the quality of the places for family time outside.