Grits, Gravy and Goodies: Savannah's Breakfast and Brunch Restaurants Offer Southern Fare and Standard Favorites
By Amy Pine
Sausage, grits and biscuits are breakfast staples in Savannah, but why should these Southern-inspired dishes be reserved for just mornings? Fortunately, many local restaurateurs agree, offering delicious and hearty breakfast fare throughout the day. Those staying in the Historic District will love the simple, delicious menu items and personable service at Henry’s on Drayton Street. The unassuming, diner-style eatery has a large selection of traditional breakfast food, including the creamiest grits and crispest bacon in town. Other outstanding Downtown Savannah staples include J. Christopher’s and B. Matthew’s Eatery. Sunday brunch is a must in Savannah, and no place does it better than Driftaway Café, a seafood restaurant located in the historic neighborhood of Sandfly near Isle of Hope. Though you will need a car to get to Driftaway, it’s worth the trip for the restaurant’s incredible shrimp and grits and crab cake-topped eggs Benedict. If you don’t want to venture outside the Historic District for Sunday brunch, then try Soho South Café, which boasts fantastic food in a chic setting. For brunch any day of the week, head to River Street and sample the fare at Huey’s on the River, a New Orleans-style restaurant that specializes in Creole and Southern dishes. If you’re vacationing on Tybee or plan to spend the day frolicking on the beach there, don’t pass up the Breakfast Club, a popular eatery that has a loyal local following. Even vegetarians and vegans can partake in a delicious Savannah breakfast or brunch at the Sentient Bean, a hip coffee shop and eatery near Forsyth Park. Top o’ the morning to y’all!
Fans of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil will enjoy this Downtown diner-style restaurant, which is featured prominently in the book and movie. Breakfast is served throughout the day and features standard dishes such as omelets, eggs Benedict, corned beef hash and hot griddle cakes, along with specialties such as French toast stuffed with peanut butter and bananas and homemade cheese blintzes topped with sour cream, applesauce, strawberries and cinnamon apples. A little trivia for Midnight aficionados: the actual Downtown location of Clary's was featured in the movie, though the eatery was transformed back into Clary's drugstore for filming. Midnight author John Berendt and star, the Lady Chablis, have been spotted dining at Clary's over the years. (912-233-0402)
Huey's on the River
Brunch is served every day at this New Orleans-style eatery, which occupies a prime waterfront spot on River Street. Creole-inspired dishes populate Huey's brunch menu, among them Pain Perdu, a Louisiana take on French toast with powdered sugar and pecan butter, and the Pontchartrain Omelette, a hearty egg dish with creamed spinach, artichoke hearts, Swiss cheese and hollandaise sauce. Huey's beignets--sweet donut-like pastries that are coated in powdered sugar--are one of the most popular items on the menu. The addictive beignets can be ordered three at a time or by the dozen. For those who want to skip brunch, Huey's also features a variety of lunch and dinner fare, including fried green tomatoes, shrimp po' boys, crab cakes and more. (912-234-7385)
The Sentient Bean
This hip coffee house, which is adjacent to Forsyth Park, serves vegetarian and vegan breakfast fare seven mornings a week, along with an outstanding brunch on Sundays. Coffee aficionados will appreciate the Bean's great selection of coffee, which usually includes freshly brewed single origin roasts from Africa and South America, along with an array of made-to-order espresso drinks. The breakfast menu features a vegetarian breakfast burrito with eggs and a vegan breakfast burrito with scrambled tofu, along with quiche, egg and cheese sandwiches, omelets and frittatas. The brunch menu boasts a rotating selection of specialties, among them tofu scramble loaded with fresh, seasonal vegetables and an outstanding breakfast burrito with spicy, homemade vegan sausage. (912-232-4447)
The Breakfast Club
This Tybee Island institution has been serving up homemade breakfast fare for more than three decades, drawing a steady stream of devoted local patrons. The always-packed eatery features traditional breakfast items, including eggs made to order, homemade sausage, waffles, omelets, grits and more. But it's the Breakfast Club's innovative dishes that get the most buzz, among them the Blackhawk Breakfast Burrito, a Tex-Mex bonanza with house-made chorizo sausage, onions, jalapenos, scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese and black beans wrapped in a chipotle tortilla. The PMS Omelette--a self-described "emotionally satisfying" dish with eggs, parmesan cheese, mushrooms, spinach and garlic--is also popular. Breakfast is served throughout the day, and a lunch menu is also available. (912-786-5984)
Freshly made food, good service and reasonable prices all contribute to Henry's reputation as one the best places for breakfast in the city. This relative newcomer has wowed patrons with its all-day breakfast fare that includes traditional items such as eggs, grits, hash browns, biscuits, French toast, waffles pancakes, omelets and more. Fancier breakfast options include pork chops with eggs, shrimp and grits, and fried or grilled catfish served with two eggs, grits and toast. Henry's also offers a lunch menu that's available all day, for those who are craving a burger before they start their morning. On the weekends, the restaurant offers an affordable buffet with a terrific selection of breakfast favorites. (912-232-6628)
Goose Feathers an Express Cafe & Bakery
Just a few steps away from Ellis Square in the heart of the Historic District, Goose Feathers has been a favorite among locals for more than a quarter of a century. The restaurant serves breakfast all day, boasting a great selection of traditional dishes such as Belgian waffles, fruit-topped oatmeal, eggs, quiche and bagels. The casual eatery, in which orders are placed at the counter and delivered to patrons at their tables, also features an array of inexpensive, quick bites, such as stuffed croissants, sticky buns and muffins. In addition, Goose Feathers has an extensive lunch menu for those craving soup or a sandwich. (912-233-4683)
B. Matthew's Eatery
Whether you want a hearty breakfast before a day of sightseeing or have a hankering for eggs and grits at 2 p.m., B. Matthew's Eatery has you covered. The popular restaurant's breakfast menu is served in the mornings and afternoons and boasts standards such as eggs cooked to order, omelets, French toast, breakfast wraps, waffles and more. Looking for something with a Southern influence? The eatery's biscuits smothered in gravy and shrimp and grits are both outstanding. On weekends, B. Matthew's offers an amped up brunch menu that boasts innovate items, including a salmon BLT and a decadent apple, walnut and bourbon chutney waffle. The restaurant's lunch and dinner menu are also worth trying. (912-233-1319)
This regional chain, which began in the Atlanta area, is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Housed in a converted garage in the heart of the Historic District, J. Christopher's offers a wide range of breakfast fare, which is served throughout the day. Favorites include Blueberry Crunchcakes--fluffy blueberry pancakes made with crunchy granola--and Signature Breakfast Skillets, a tasty concoction of oven-roasted potatoes mixed with your choice of ingredients and topped with two sunny-side-up eggs. The restaurant also offers traditional breakfast items, including omelets, eggs Benedict, lox and bagel, French toast, crepes and more. Those craving a sandwich, burger, soup or salad have the option of choosing an item from the lunch menu. (912-236-7494)
Soho South Cafe
Housed in an ultra hip converted mechanic's garage, Soho South Café is equal parts art gallery and restaurant. Though brunch is only served on Sundays, it's worth blocking the day off on your calendar to try the eatery's sumptuous brunch fare. The Sunday menu features a variety of mouthwatering dishes, including freshly made omelets, grilled brioche French toast and Belgium waffles. If you're craving something with local flavor, go for the shrimp and grits or the Southern cream biscuit and sausage gravy, a veritable feast with country sausage gravy served over a homemade split biscuit with scrambled eggs and choice of grits or potatoes. After you eat, take time to browse the eye-popping artwork that adorns the restaurant's lobby and interior walls. (912-233-1633)
First the bad news: Driftaway's brunch menu is only available on Sundays. Now the good news: the brunch is so delicious, it's worth rearranging your schedule to keep your Sunday morning or afternoon open. Located in the city's historic Sandfly area, Driftaway specializes in seafood, an influence that happily makes its way onto the brunch menu. The shrimp and grits--delectable, lightly fried shrimp on a bed of three-cheese grits with sherry cream sauce and andouille sausage--may be the best you've ever tasted. The Crab Cake Bennie, a take on eggs Benedict that incorporates grilled lump crab cakes with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce, melts in your mouth. For those who don't like seafood, there are plenty of other tasty options, including the Myers Jamaican Rum French Toast and Sunday Fried Chicken. (9123030999)
About Amy Pine
Amy's thrilled to have the opportunity to share her love of Savannah with the world. A Savannah native, Amy has more than 15 years of experience as a writer and editor, and her work has appeared in numerous local, regional and national publications. Prior to launching a freelance career, she was executive editor at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she served as editor of the college’s alumni magazine. Amy received a B.A. in English and communications from the University of Pennsylvania. She's currently putting the finishing touches on her young adult novel, The Girl in a Picture Frame.
Read more about Amy Pine here.