We stopped in last week at Epazote, another good addition to the downtown restaurant scene.
The new Mexican spot opened recently at 5 West Broughton St. with a hearty, casual and inexpensive menu. A friend and I got there when it was pretty slow, so I can’t guarantee that everyone will get the lightning fast service we experienced.
The menu contains a mix of burritos, tacos, tostadas and combo platters. We had a couple of hearty burritos that were on special and two sodas, which totaled just $13. Most menu items are in the $6-8 range.
Hard to beat those prices downtown, especially for a filling evening meal.
Named for an herb used in some traditional Mexican dishes, Epazote features counter service with the food brought to the table. A small salsa bar includes some fresh pico de gallo.
The space most recently was occupied by SubDogs. Before that it was Ramino’s Gelato, an Italian restaurant. Epazote has added some booths along one wall, expanding the seating options, and has opted for bold colors on the interior. It’s easy to imagine the restaurant becoming popular with downtown’s growing lunchtime crowds.
But evenings have proved the real test for many downtown restaurants. On many nights there just isn’t much foot traffic on Broughton, and, as I’ve noted here before, the traffic diminishes dramatically with each block further away from the bustling City Market area.
New Save-A-Lot already changing the neighborhood
The new Save-A-Lot at the corner of Bull and 40th streets seems to be coming along really fast.
And the store’s positive impacts are already being felt.
The old David’s grocery had a certain quaint charm, but it was becoming increasingly blighted as it sat empty month after month. The sidewalk was being claimed more and more by loiterers.
The loitering on that corner greatly diminished while construction was underway, and I’m assuming that security will prevent such problems when the store opens.
Save-A-Lot has shifted the entrance to 40th Street, across from the small parking lot.
As regular readers know, I’m no fan of surface parking lots, especially on key corners in urban settings, but this one appears necessary.
With large live oaks in the Bull Street tree lawn and with new plantings along its edges, the newly refurbished parking lot will look pretty good too.
I’m guessing that a large percentage of the store’s shoppers will arrive on foot or by bike. So maybe that stretch of Bull Street will finally get a crosswalk — there’s not a single one between Victory Drive and 37th Street.
The additional traffic should further boost commerce on that key and largely underutilized stretch of Bull Street, Savannah’s civic spine.
A few final thoughts on last week’s election
In the Savannah elections in 2011, we saw some interesting results that confirmed the importance of swing voters in the city.
The city limits are overwhelmingly Democratic territory, but there are a growing number who are crossing racial lines in some races. Consider last year’s relatively easy win for alderman-at-large Tom Bordeaux against a black opponent.
In last week’s countywide races, we saw a willingness of ticket-splitters to cross both racial and political lines. District attorney-elect Meg Daly Heap and sheriff Al St Lawrence are both white Republicans. The new Chatham County Commission chairman, Al Scott, is a black Democrat.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama won Chatham County with 55.4 percent of the vote, just slightly down from his 56.8 percent in 2008. Republican Congressman Jack Kingston, now representing all of Chatham County because of the most recent redistricting, took 52.6 percent of the local vote.
On the one hand, that seems pretty low for Kingston in his home county. On the other hand, Chatham has a definitely Democratic lean in national races right now.
Despite all the interest in the presidential contest and in local races, turnout fell significantly from 2008. The population of Chatham County has probably increased about 5 percent in the last four years, but Romney barely bested McCain’s 2008 vote total and Obama fell more than 2,000 votes short of his.
Despite the lower turnout, I thought there were some really positive trends in the willingness to split tickets. That’s a clear signal to elected officials that they have to represent the interests of the broader community if they hope to put together a winning coalition.