Old School Eats – Part 2
On the more ‘hip’ side of the scale here is a restaurant and bar that has a very old sensibility, modernised to a point, The Grey will instantly send you back in time. Using a painstakingly renovated old greyhound bus terminal that had been sat in Savannah since 1938, the art deco surroundings of this highly sought after diner brings not only a sense of history but also of high class. The designer Gatsby styled seating, walls and ceilings are not the only thing here that are classical though, much of the menu is based around simple dishes, a lot of which are fish based as they would have been back in the day. Their menu is even broken down into old style sections such as water (for much of the seafood), pasture (for animals raised on the farmlands) and even dirt (for anything grown in the soil). The simplicity here is part of its appeal, and therefore because there are no overly elaborate additions to your foods it allows the quality of each dish to shine through. Oysters are served on a bed of ice with lemon, mashed potatoes with butter and black pepper and so on, meaning those with classic palates to enjoy the spoils here which do get a little pricey.
Beginning its journey in 1943, when a young woman took over the occupation of a boardinghouse in historic downtown Savannah, this place to dine continues in the style of the eating habits of old. It was southern tradition that most towns used to have a boarding house where one could join others for a communal meal one or two times a day, these places were visited by labourers, teachers, bankers and more helping bridge a divide between classes as each person shared a need for one thing – good food. In Mrs Wilkes Dining Room you will dine like a giant family, sharing all the food between guests and sat amongst strangers, who will be passing round the bowls of typical southern provisions. Expect sausage, beef stew, meat loaf and of course fried chicken here on the list of meats, accompanied by a range of home cooked grains, greens and root vegetables. This is a dining experience is exceedingly rare (and popular yet does not allow bookings so get ready to queue) and one which delivers a real feel of times gone by.
Narobia’s Grits And Gravy is a highly rated local favourite and the place to come for some classic unadulterated southern food. Those unfamiliar with grits will no doubt want to try the much loved, all purpose, maize-based porridge that has filled the bellies of many men and women in the area over the last century. Accompanying the titular foodstuff is some real authentic gravy that is lovingly slathered all over the plates here alongside eggs, meats and biscuits. There is nothing fancy about this cheap and cheerful shack that seats only a limited number, but if you want to get a sample of something truly from Georgia then the shrimp and grits here is a must.