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.
Tag Archives: Restaurants of Coastal Georgia
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).
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.
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.
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:
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).
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.
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.
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!
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.