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CITY TALK: What will Husk's arrival mean for Savannah?

Just inside the front door of Husk in Charleston, you’ll find a chalkboard with a long list of the current sources for various foods on the menu.

Curiously, when I first had dinner at Husk in 2012, there wasn’t a single Georgia-based vendor on the list, but it definitely added to the overall dining experience to see so many regional vendors acknowledged.

Bon Appetit magazine selected Husk as the best new restaurant in America in 2011 and had high praise for chef Sean Brock.

“Brock isn’t reinventing Southern food or attempting to create some citified version of it,” wrote Bon Appetit. “He’s trying to re-create the food his grandma knew – albeit with the skill and resources of a modern chef. As a result, he (and Husk) has become a torchbearer for an honest style of home cooking that many of us never truly tasted until now.”

Today, you can also find Husk in Nashville, and last week Food and Wine magazine confirmed that Brock plans to open new Husk restaurants in Greenville, S.C., and here in Savannah.

It’s no secret that Brock had been considering an expansion to Savannah for a long time, but I’ve never heard the reason for the apparent delays.

Bizarrely, the Food and Wine piece says the Savannah location will be on “Fourth Avenue” (huh?), but the presumed location is 12 W. Oglethorpe Ave., a gracious century-old building that seems about the same scale as the original Husk.

You know the building. It sat empty for many years and then part of it burned. It was a depressing sight.

Or maybe you know the building because it has been touted as one of the most haunted places in the city.

Or maybe you actually remember its previous uses.

According to a 2014 staff report prepared for the Historic District Board of Review, the building dates to 1898. It was intended as a home for Bernie Gordon, Juliette Gordon Low’s brother, but he died before it was completed.

According to the history detailed on their website, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks bought the home in 2008. About 70 years later, the Elks sold the structure to a Montessori school.

So what does it mean for Savannah that Sean Brock and Husk are officially on their way?

Over the years, I’ve written often in this space about the rebirth of traditional cooking in the South and about the broader national trends toward fresher, locally sourced ingredients.

Brock has been a key figure in these movements, and his plans for a Husk in the heart of Savannah will no doubt be followed closely by chefs and restaurateurs around the country.

 

City Talk appears every Sunday and Tuesday. Bill Dawers can be reached via billdawers@comcast.net. Send mail to 10 E. 32nd St., Savannah, GA 31401.

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