We’ve seen a flurry of activity in recent weeks for the Savannah restaurant scene. Several promising new spots have expanded the options for residents and visitors in the downtown area.
The newer establishments include Green Fire Pizza at 236 Drayton St., the vegan restaurant Natural Selections Café at 1526 Bull St., the coffee shop and bakery Henny Penny Art Space & Café at 1514 Bull St. and Fork & Dagger, a breakfast and lunch spot at 609 ½ Abercorn St.
One evening last week, a friend and I decided to make our first trip to Green Fire Pizza, which is located in a former gas station. There’s a Woof Gang Bakery adjacent to the restaurant, and the interesting old building is nestled between Drayton Tower and the Perry Lane Hotel, which is still under construction.
From the patio, diners can also see the DeRenne apartment building and the DeSoto Hilton, which makes Green Fire’s cozy space feel like an oasis in an urban corridor. Green Fire Pizza is caddy-corner across Drayton Street from its sister restaurant McDonough’s Restaurant & Lounge.
Green Fire provides counter service inside, but all the seating is outside. We were immediately drawn to the Smokin Green Fire Pizza, a delectable combination of roasted red pepper cream sauce, sausage, basil, cheeses and red, yellow and green peppers. The 16-inch ($20.95) pie turned out to be just perfect for two hungry adults, but we should have restrained ourselves and taken a couple of slices to go.
Including a beer, a soda and a tip in the jar, dinner for two was just $30.
If you want to design your own pizza, Green Fire offers more than two dozen standard toppings, but on future trips I’ll likely try some of the other specialty pizzas, like the Pizza Alla Vodka with vodka sauce, Romano, Mozzarella, mushrooms, peas and prosciutto.
Green Fire’s brick oven produces a great mix of flavors, and I really liked our thin but still slightly doughy crust.
The restaurant also offers a handful of other menu options, including salads, appetizers and oven-baked frittatas. In addition, Green Fire serves wine and a fairly broad selection of beer.
Green Fire also sells loaves of homemade French bread. I haven’t tried the bread yet, but it has been getting raves.
A fair number of Savannah restaurants are dog-friendly, but many of those only have seating on the sidewalk, so dogs are routinely interacting with pedestrians. But Green Fire’s comfortable patio and widely spaced tables easily accommodate dogs, and the proximity to Woof Gang Bakery creates a nice synergy.
Some of the seating is covered by the part of the building that once extended over the gas pumps, and the rest of the tables are shielded to some degree by green umbrellas, which brighten the space considerably.
As much as I enjoyed my first trip to Green Fire Pizza, I suspect the restaurant will improve as things settle down. Our service was friendly and prompt, but there wasn’t any ice on the evening we were there. With summer approaching, the dining area might soon need some fans or misters.
All in all, Green Fire Pizza seems like a wonderful addition to the downtown restaurant scene. It’s a casual, inexpensive, centrally located spot that seems likely to attract downtown workers, residents, families, tourists – anyone who might be in the neighborhood.
Green Fire Pizza is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Check out the restaurant’s Facebook page for more information.
Changes in the works for downtown parking
If you typically have to drive to get downtown, I would recommend trying Green Fire Pizza on a weekday evening. It’s extremely likely that you’ll find free, on-street parking after 5 p.m. nearby on Oglethorpe Avenue or Abercorn Street.
Despite the general availability of parking on weeknights, city officials seem ready to move ahead with an overhaul of parking rules that includes the extension of parking meter enforcement to 8 p.m. throughout the week. I’ve argued in previous City Talk columns that extending the hours of enforcement will deter area residents from coming into town in the evening, and I don’t see any clear justification for extended enforcement hours in most of downtown from Monday through Thursday.
I’ll be circling back around to parking matters and checking out other new restaurants soon.
City Talk appears every Tuesday and Sunday. Bill Dawers can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org. Send mail to 10 E. 32nd St., Savannah, Ga. 31401.