Tag Archives: Restaurants of Coastal Georgia

The Pirate’s House, Savannah

The history of the so-called Pirate’s House is as colorful as the history of Savannah itself, and like many landmarks in the city, its origins and history are often the subject of debate. I’ll open the proverbial can of worms here and note that though it often appears on superlative lists as the “oldest building in Georgia”, this claim is spurious at best. The Herb House, built in 1734 in General Oglethorpe’s Trustee’s Garden, has been absorbed into the structure you see today. Because its historic integrity has been almost completely lost by centuries of remodeling and expansion, though, the ‘oldest in Georgia’ qualifier is dubious to many, particularly architectural historians. I concur completely. This is not an attack on the present institution housed here but rather an attempt to consolidate disparate histories. Scores of websites, especially ‘ghost’-related sites, are driven by myth and therefore confusing to say the least.

The Pirate’s House Restaurant has been a leading tourist attraction in Savannah for decades, and though their website claims that it was built in 1753, the city’s own tourism website dates it to circa 1794. It’s clear that it had its origins as a tavern, frequented by sailors for its liberal atmosphere and proximity to the Savannah River. Tunnels were actually dug beneath the property in its early days with the purpose of smuggling rum and kidnapped sailors to the riverfront. The site gained literary immortality in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, as the scene of Captain Flint’s death. The character of Long John Silver noted that he was with Captain Flint when he died in Savannah. Of course this is a fiction, based loosely on stories a young Stevenson heard as a guest here in the early 19th century. The stories are harmless as long as they’re not posited as fact. And they are, often.

The house was purchased by the Savannah Gas Company in 1948 and subsequently restored and expanded to accommodate its present-day purpose.

Savannah Historic District, National Historic Landmark

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Filed under -CHATHAM COUNTY, Savannah GA

The Rah Bar, Jekyll Island

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I was surprised to learn yesterday that the Rah Bar is closing. Though not a landmark in the traditional sense, it’s become a bit of a local and tourist favorite for its welcoming, laid-back vibe. It’s not really a dive, but compared to many of the fancier establishments on the coast, it almost qualifies for that status. I’m saying that’s a good thing. Apparently, the restaurant with which the Rah Bar is associated, Latitude 31, is to be rebuilt. Let’s hope the atmosphere in the “new version” remains as cool as it was at the Rah Bar.

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, Jekyll Island GA

Archie’s Restaurant, Circa 1975, Darien

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First opened at a nearby location in 1940, and once known as the Shrimp Boat Restaurant, Archie’s was a longtime Darien landmark and a favorite stop for travelers along the busy Coastal Highway (US 17).

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As traffic moved off 17 and onto nearby I-95, business slowed and the restaurant was closed by 2006. The structure seen here opened circa 1975 and was demolished in 2015.

archies-restaurant-darien-ga-mural-of-coast-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-coastal-georgia-usa-2016

 

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Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Darien GA

Charlie Teeple’s, Thunderbolt

Charlie Teeple Seafood Market Victory Drive Savannah GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016

From 1975-2004, Charlie Teeple’s in Thunderbolt was one of Savannah’s favorite seafood restaurants. Steamed crabs and oysters were among their most popular offerings. This building wasn’t the restaurant, which was located on the nearby Wilmington River, but rather Charlie’s retail store, where fresh boiled crabs remained in demand. I’m not sure when it closed, but it’s been abandoned for quite some time.

Charlie Teeple Seafood Market Victory Drive Savannah GA Low Country Boil Painting Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016

 

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Filed under -CHATHAM COUNTY, Thunderbolt GA

Hazel’s Cafe, Circa 1947, St. Simons Island

Hazel's Cafe & the Hazel & Thomas Floyd House South End Neighborhood St. Simons Island GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

I panicked this morning when I heard a rumor that Hazel’s had been demolished, but concerned friends on St. Simons quickly checked and let me know it wasn’t true. To many, this place is as much a symbol of the island’s history as the lighthouse or Fort Frederica. Located in the nearly forgotten African-American community of South End, Hazel’s was owned by Hazel and Thomas Floyd. Thomas, a veteran of World War II, settled here with his wife shortly after World War II and soon thereafter they started this business, which would be a staple of St. Simons life until it closed in 1978. (Their house is to the right in the photograph). With new homes and condos dotting the island today, it’s a nice step back to a time when St. Simons, like all of the Georgia coast, was anchored by small but thriving communities who looked to family and friends as well as the rich coastal waters surrounding them for sustenance and survival. Hazel was known to go crabbing in season and bring back her catch for the night’s special of deviled crab. I’m sure they were legendary dishes in their time. Melissa Lee  has an excellent tribute to this St. Simons icon here:

http://www.thepermanenttourist.com/hazels-cafe-2/

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, St. Simons Island GA

Southern Soul Barbeque, St. Simons Island

Southern Soul Barbeque Smoke Joint St Simons Island GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

I rarely endorse businesses on any of my websites, but some places are so extraordinary they deserve a mention. One such place is the unlikely St. Simons landmark, Southern Soul Barbeque. You might have read about it in Garden & Gun, Southern Living, or The New  York Times, or seen it on the Travel Channel, or the popular Food Network show, Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives. But none of those outlets can compare to a visit in the flesh. Owners Griffin Bufkin and Harrison Sapp transformed this 1940s gas station into a mecca for barbeque and soul food lovers and their fans are legion. There’s a great beer selection and a good variety of sauces for different tastes. (I prefer the mustard/vinegar-based Carolina style sauces, none of the sweet stuff for me).

Southern Soul Barbeque Pulled Pork Plate Mac Cheese Collard Greens St Simons Island GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Everyone probably has his own favorite dish. Mine is the first meal I ever ate here. The pulled pork with mac & cheese and collard greens was truly heaven on a plate. The white bread was a fitting accompaniment to this holy trinity of Southern cuisine.

Southern Soul Barbeque Restaurant St Simons Island GA Cool Pit Cook Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

You know it’s going to be good when the employees who work in the heat and smoke all day still have smiles on their faces.

Southern Soul Barbeque St Simons Island GA Food Writing Books Cornbread Nation SFA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Books like the Southern Foodways Alliance’s classic series, Cornbread Nation, take up shelf space with modern culinary classics ranging from The Whole Hog Cookbook and Southern Belly to  Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey and Smoke and Pickles. As a reader and book collector, I was amazed!

Southern Soul Barbeque St Simons Island GA Patrons Inside Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, St. Simons Island GA

Twin Oaks Drive-In, 1943, Brunswick

Twin Oaks Drive-In Restaurant Brunswick GA Landmark Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Opened in 1943 by Maurice Zell, the Twin Oaks Drive-In is the oldest restaurant in Brunswick. The service is some of the friendliest you’ll find anywhere. Whether it’s your first visit or you’re a regular the staff knows by name, you’ll be treated the same. You can learn more about their history in this Georgia Times-Union profile. Though it’s changed owners over the years, it remains as popular today as it ever was. Check out their menu here.

Twin Oaks Drive-In Restaurant Brunswick GA Funny Pigs Sign Landmark Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

 

 

 

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, Brunswick GA