Updated: Wed, 12/19/2012 - 23:42

Tondee's Tavern to return to Savannah in former Tony Roma's space

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Savannah’s early revolutionists, the Sons of Liberty, met in a downtown bar called Tondee’s Tavern.

Tondee’s closed not long after America won its independence and is remembered today through a plaque on its original location at Broughton and Whitaker streets and a small lounge area at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center.

Come Jan. 11, Tondee’s will be reborn.

Savannah restaurateur Willie Tuten will open a restaurant and bar in the Bay Street space formerly home to a Tony Roma’s franchise. Tony Roma’s, a national chain restaurant specializing in barbecue ribs, closed earlier this month after a decade in the former 1850 bank building.

“We’re trying to re-create Tondee’s Tavern, which was the place in Savannah in the late 1700s,” Tuten said. “We’re trying to bring an old Savannah landmark back to life.”

Local real estate agents Rhett Mouchet and Kim Iocovozzi, both with Judge Realty, brokered the deal. Tuten’s lease on the 4,500-square-foot space will run 10 years and will include an option to buy the building.

Tondee’s Tavern will offer fresh local seafood, ribs and steaks in a casual atmosphere. The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and stay open until 2:30 a.m. on the weekends to accommodate the bar crowd.

“When visitors come to Savannah, they want to enjoy local food, not something a franchise ships in a box,” Tuten said.

Tuten is a Savannah native who currently operates Dillinger's restaurant in Oglethorpe Mall.

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