Savannah’s always been on my list to visit, and I was excited for this Savannah birthday trip for weeks beforehand. Only having one day set aside to spend in Savannah made it tough to narrow down the best way to use such a limited amount of time, but pre-planning the first part of the day and leaving the evening open-ended worked out pretty well to get a good feel for this historic city without feeling rushed.
The Walking Tour
Traveling into the city with friends, we started the day out right with some homemade mimosas for our morning walking tour. There were a lot of tour options to choose from — walking tours, coach tours, Segway tours — but we opted for a walking tour from Free Savannah Walking Tours. The tour group met in Johnson Square and ended in Forsyth Park.
Along the way, our very energetic and knowledgeable tour guide gave us the history behind the origin of the squares, monuments, and stories of many historic homes and historic figures. As a first-timer to the city, this tour also was a great way to help me get my bearings in order to navigate around later.
The walking tour lasted a little less than two hours, then it was on to the food tour.
The Food Tour
We opted for the Famous & Secret East Side Food Tour from Savannah Taste Experience. The tour began in a Smith Brothers Butcher Shop, where we arrived a bit early and I got to taste the best butter I’ve ever had in my life. Seriously, this butter was like no other butter I’ve ever tasted. To the point that a week after the trip, I was still thinking about that butter. Luckily, they will ship their butter so I don’t have to go without it for very long.
Stop #1: Smith Brothers Butcher Shop
Once the actual tour began, the group gathered around a table covered in charcuterie and dove in. The meat options included a Tuscan sausage, Blueberry sausage, and Andouille. We were also given baguette slices, a cheese dip mustard, pickles, pickled carrots and pickled cauliflower as accompaniments to the sausages. My favorite of this mix was the Andouille — it was perfectly spicy and flavorful.
Not only does Smith Brothers carry meats, they also have different snacks, condiments and a variety of chilled drinks. This would be the perfect place to come buy a few things for a picnic and find a nice quiet space in one of the squares to enjoy it. We also learned that Smith Brothers will even pack a picnic for you!
Stop #2: Walls’ BBQ
Walls’ was a place that I would have never found on my own just wandering around Savannah. It’s off on its own, down a gravel street in a nondescript, tiny building. But what Walls’ lacks in coolness and prominence, it more than makes up for with the quality of the food. While here, we sampled the pulled pork sandwich, which you’ll just have to trust me when I say that the pork was incredibly tender and flavorful because I ate it before giving a second thought to taking a photo.
They had a method I loved for displaying items on their menu — the items being made that weren’t quite ready yet had the letters scrambled, and the items that were ready were unscrambled.
Stop #2.5: 17 Hundred 90
17 Hundred 90 wasn’t technically included in the tour, but since our food tour guide needed to wait a bit for the food to be ready at the next stop, she recommended we stop here if any of us wanted a quick break for a drink. They had a delicious fruity drink called Hippie Juice that a lot of us ordered. That drink was incredibly refreshing for a nice break during our walk.
Stop #3: Zunzi’s Takeout & Catering
Zunzi’s was a stop that was just a takeout place, so the group found a nice area in one of the squares with some empty benches to split a couple of the Chicken Conquistador sandwiches. I’m a huge fan of sandwiches in general and this one was spectacular! In particular, the bread and the sauce they put on top were amazing.
Stop #4: Savannah Seafood Shack
Savannah Seafood Shack wasn’t originally in the lineup and I was a little worried I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the item being sampled here because of my shellfish allergy. The sample food here did end up being a shellfish bisque, but just my luck, there was also a Below Zero ice cream counter in the store and I was able to take advantage of that as a substitute for the chowder.
I had never had rolled ice cream before, so it was a fun experience to see the guy actually go through the ice cream rolling process and make my dessert. I ordered the Health Nut, which was avocado and pistachio, with coconut, almonds, and cheesecake on top. Incredibly delicious, though with our limited time, I was only able to eat about a third of it before we needed to head to the next stop.
Stop #5: Our Daily Bread Cafe
At Our Daily Bread Cafe, each food tour participant was given a pimento and cheese sandwich. The crust was light and flaky like a croissant, and the pimento and cheese filling was smooth and rich.
Stop #6: Mirabelle Cafe
We passed Mirabelle Cafe on our way to get to the start of the walking tour, and I thought it was a cute little shop, so when I saw that it was on our itinerary to visit, I was happy to get a chance to check the place out. Here, we were served peach cobbler liege waffles and PERC cold brew coffee. The waffle was excellent, but being a coffee-addict, the cold-brew was what I was most impressed with. It’s the first I’ve tried that I legitimately did not feel the need to drown in cream and sugar to make it more palatable. I immediately ordered some of their coffees online to try after this experience. The flavor just blew my mind.
An Evening in Savannah
After the food tour, our first stop afterward was at Paris Market. I really didn’t know what to expect with this store, but I loved it! There were all kinds of home decor items, as well as other things like perfumes, accessories, and snacks. The store reminded me a little of Anthropologie, but with a lot more stuff. Although I spent quite a while in this store, I walked out with just a couple of their logo mugs and a perfume.
After Paris Market, we wandered around a bit, eventually stopping at Rocks on the Roof for a break from walking to get a drink and take in the river view.
From there, we continued on to the shops on River Street (mostly the candy shops!), eventually making our way to Wild Wing Cafe. After having enough time to have walked off everything we at during the food tour, wings sounded like a great choice to all of us. Unfortunately, it took over a half hour to get a table, then nearly another hour to get our food, but at least once it came, it was all delicious! We ordered spinach artichoke dip and pretzel bite for apps, and a variety of wings for our main meal – lemon pepper, hot, ranchilada and red dragon. Of those, the ranchilada flavor was by far my favorite. With the insane wait, I don’t think this would be a place I would plan on returning to in any future visits to Savannah, but based on food quality alone, it was a winner.
With the insane wait, I don’t think this would be a place I would plan on returning to in any future visits to Savannah, but based on food quality alone, it was a winner. And, bonus, a lady at the bar bought a birthday shot for me while we were waiting! Her husband’s birthday was also the same day, and apparently, we both decided a birthday called for wings.
Overall, I loved Savannah just as much as I thought I would and would love to come back and spend at least 2-3 full days here to both see and eat more things.