Walking into The 5 Spot on its first full day in business, I was immediately struck by the airiness of the space and the beautiful windows facing west and south.
Most of the tabletops are made from zinc, and so is the bar, which comfortably seats about 10.
In addition to the tables and a few booths, the new restaurant offers a variety of seating options for those dining alone, enjoying a cup of coffee or accessing the wireless Internet.
I found the bar to be an exceptionally comfortable spot for a late lunch.
Open from 7 a.m. onward every day, The 5 Spot seems likely to become a vital neighborhood gathering place.
The space at 4430 Habersham St. in Habersham Village was most recently occupied by Clary’s but was taken over by the Gaslight Group earlier this year.
The 5 Spot’s menu is broad. The lunch and dinner offerings stay the same from 11 a.m. onward and feature a nice selection of sandwiches, burgers, appetizers, salads and entrees.
The sandwiches and burgers are all priced under $7.50. Entrees — including ribs, grilled salmon, crab cakes, a pork chop and tofu rancheros — range from $11-$16.
There’s also a nice breakfast menu, from which patrons can order until 2 p.m.
As he gave me a quick tour of The 5 Spot, owner Brian Huskey noted that closing hours will probably be either 9 or 10 p.m., but that a final decision will depend on demand in the coming weeks.
Huskey noted he chose to stay open throughout the afternoon to take advantage of the many visitors to the vibrant shopping district.
The opening of The 5 Spot is a boon for those who live in Ardsley Park and adjacent neighborhoods. There certainly seems to be plenty of pent-up demand for a restaurant and bar that’s open throughout the day.
The Gaslight Group also owns and operates Blue Turtle Bistro & Bar, B. Matthew’s Eatery, Abe’s on Lincoln and Blowin’ Smoke BBQ. That’s an impressively diverse selection.
B. Matthew’s — at the corner of Habersham and Bay streets — celebrated its grand reopening in late November after being closed for a few weeks for renovations.
Café 37, Sol closed last week
The opening of The 5 Spot isn’t the only big news for the Savannah restaurant scene.
In late November, chef and owner Blake Elsinghorst posted a warm message to Facebook announcing last week’s closing of his great restaurant Café 37.
He even served a special $5 lunch menu on the final day that included items like duck liver mousse and the café’s excellent salad with pears and Roquefort.
Café 37 occupied a postage-stamp sized carriage house behind 37th @ Abercorn Antiques. The small space and personal service were part of the charm that attracted area foodies.
Elsinghorst and Café 37 will continue to offer a small number of products — including a couple of flavors of aioli — through http://wegourmetco.com.
Sol also closed last week, quite abruptly.
The casual spot at the corner of 33rd and Habersham streets had a loyal following for its inventive, inexpensive menu and for its friendly service. I had an especially nice meal there one night recently — just a couple of days before the doors were shut for good.
There are already rumors of other restaurateurs interested in Sol’s space, one of the best spots for eating outside in the greater downtown area. It’s also one of the few restaurant spaces within easy walking distance for a significant number of Thomas Square residents.
Reimagining the southside
The planting of trees in the Abercorn Street median on Savannah’s southside will certainly beautify some pretty barren stretches of roadway.
I hope the new emphasis will lead to some broader thinking about retrofitting southside neighborhoods and commercial strips to meet the needs of 21st century residents.
Increasingly, Americans want to be able to walk or ride bicycles to nearby services, but suburban areas like the southside weren’t designed with those needs in mind.
But it’s not hard to imagine a series of modifications that could make southside streets feel friendlier and safer. That would add value to both commercial and residential properties, while improving quality of life for residents.
I hope to develop a few such ideas more fully in an upcoming column.