How to Eat Like a Local in Savannah

Whether you're in town for business or just for pleasure, here are a few must-try eateries in Savannah as recommended by the locals who really know their stuff.

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Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia which means its had lots of time to perfect things. So whether you're here for the culture, the climate, or the cuisine it has something for everyone. But we won't blame you if the food is your favorite!

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Leopold's Ice Cream

No matter when you're headed to Savannah, Leopold's Ice Cream should definitely be on your must-try (or re-try!) list. Located Downtown on Broughton St., Leopold's has been a Savannah tradition since 1919. You'll find its current owner dividing his time between producing in Hollywood and scooping what is arguably Savannah's best ice cream. Leopold's offers soups, sandwiches, and ice creams made fresh in-store every day.

It's especially nice to enjoy Leopold's on a warm day and, if you happen to be traveling with a four-legged friend, they're welcome, too!

To tide you over until your next visit, Leopold's now delivers and you can make Leopold's Huckleberry Sauce at home.

The Grey

In true Savannah fashion, The Grey occupies a beautifully restored Greyhound Bus Terminal located in Historic Downtown Savannah on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. At the helm is Chef Mashama Bailey, trained in France with over a decade of work experience in New York City. After a road trip through the South, she was inspired to get back to her family's Southern roots. The Grey offers her take on soulful favorites like Smoked Collards and Roasted Yardbird. Which is chicken, y'all.

The Grey features the Southern hospitality you've come to expect from a city like Savannah in elevated style. The restaurant prides itself on serving locally sourced meats, produce, and seafood with a side of European wines and Atlantic Trade liquors. It's a destination in itself, and it isn't to be missed on your next trip.

Lulu's Chocolate Bar

Photo credit: Kelly Spivey

Lulu's Chocolate Bar, voted Best Desserts in Savannah by the readers of Connect Magazine and Savannah Magazine, offers a fun and relaxed atmosphere in which to enjoy from-scratch desserts served alongside fair-trade coffees and specialty drinks. Try the Triple Chocolate Mousse Tower and be sure to tell you server when it is your birthday. You'll get a free chocolate-covered strawberry!

Located on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., these award-winning desserts are available for your whole family to enjoy -- but if you're looking to add a little chocolate to your nightlife, Lulu's is 21 and over after 10 p.m. nightly.

Cotton & Rye

If your new and favorite neighbor was a restaurant, they'd be Cotton & Rye. Located at 34th and Habersham, they've stayed true to their Thomas Square neighborhood. Housed in an old bank turned restaurant, Cotton & Rye added a new kitchen and outdoor dining space to the 1950s structure and wound up with a sleek and modern look with a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Cotton & Rye is passionate about food just they way you'd expect. They pay special homage to U.S. farmers and ranchers and the roles they play in our food and drink supply. Paying careful attention to seasonal items, the menu sources local but never at the expense of freshness. Grinding their own meat for burgers, making and curing their bacon in-house, and scratch-made breads are what Cotton & Rye is all about.

So even if you aren't from around these here parts, Cotton & Rye is your stylish (yet approachable) neighbor fusing modern with traditional. Shrimp and grits, fried chicken thighs, pork chops, and cheeseburgers are paired with things like fingerling potatoes, raw cheddar, spicy honey, caramelized onions, and roasted cauliflower with raisins and almonds -- because they're hip like that.

The Florence

The Florence is named after Florence Martus, better known as The Waving Girl, who took it upon herself to become the unofficial greeter of all ships entering and leaving the port between 1887 and 1931. Legend has it she never missed a single one. The Florence restaurant boasts that same dedication in their food and community as evidenced by their homemade pasta and local and regional ingredients.

Located in Downtown Savannah on Victory Dr., The Florence occupies a restored ice factory built in the late 1800s and offers coffee, spirits, lunch, and dinner with Italian flair. With pizza, pasta, coffee, and cocktails that are Italian-focused but Southern-grown, The Florence boasts house-cured bacon and pizzas baked in an authentic Neapolitan oven. Their promise? To be a place with thoughtful local food, great coffee, a quirky wine program, and beautiful digs. And you'll find them delivering on that promise every day except Monday (and that's only because they're closed at the start of the week).

Back in the Day Bakery

Photo credit: © 2016 Back in the Day Bakery

Is there anything better than enjoying desserts, artisanal breads, and free Wi-Fi at a local bakery? That's just what you'll do at Back in the Day Bakery. This from-scratch mom-and-pop bakery offers award-winning cupcakes, every bakery item you can think of, breads, pastries, and specialty sandwiches. Some local favorites include the sea-salt sprinkled chocolate chip cookies and the banana pudding. While you're there, be sure to pick up their New York Times best-selling cookbook.

Watch Back in the Day Bakery make cupcakes!

Visit Savannah

Do you see a trend with these favorite local restaurants? They get what it takes to be a local asset: dedication to your community, commitment to your neighbors, a passion for your craft, and that warm and welcoming Southern hospitality. And they'll greet you with open arms, too. For more on great places to visit and eat, check out VisitSavannah.com. Come visit, y'all!

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