Where to Eat in Savannah, Georgia — According to a Local Chef

Big Bon Family founder Kay Heritage shares her go-to spots.

Pair of photos showing the Savannah skyline, and a portrait of pizza truck owner Kay Heritage
From left: Savannah at sunset; Savannah chef and restaurateur Kay Heritage. Photo:

From left: Courtesy of Visit Savannah; Mike Schalk/Courtesy of Kay Heritage

Back in 2016, South Korea–born Kay Heritage — a Savannah resident of three decades — opened a wood-fired-pizza truck with her 20-year-old daughter, Anna. “The world of pizza is so male-dominated, and there I was, this Asian middle-aged mom learning how to make Neapolitan-style pies,” Heritage told me with a laugh. “But it had always been my dream to get into the food business.”

Dreaming big has paid off. The success of Big Bon led to the opening last year of Big Bon Bodega, a brick-and-mortar deli and market serving Montreal-style bagels by day (also from the wood oven) and Heritage’s signature pizza by night. Her story parallels that of Savannah itself in recent years, as new openings bring fresh life to the riverfront and historic neighborhoods like the Starland District, where Heritage has set up shop. “We’re an old city,” she says, “but we’re also hungry for new ideas and trends. And we have such a beautiful community spirit, too.”

This Georgia city is a reader favorite — ranking No. 4 in the country in our World’s Best Awards for its distinctive architecture, fun boutiques, and phenomenal food. Here, Heritage shares her favorite spots around town.

Iced cakes from Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah, Georgia

Amy Dickerson

A Sweet Start

For breakfast (or even cake-for-breakfast), Heritage suggests popping into the pint-size Back in the Day Bakery, run by legendary baker Cheryl Day, for buttermilk biscuits, lavender shortbread, and other house-made pastries and desserts.

The Wyld restaurant, location on the Wilmington River in Savannah, Georgia

Chia Chong

Lunch on the Water

A dock restaurant on a tributary of the Wilmington River, The Wyld serves up succotash, scallop-and-corn fritters, and fish tacos made with the local catch. “It’s such a beautiful spot to look out on the marsh with a glass of rosé in hand.”

View of a brewery in Savannah, Georgia, with guests enjoying the patio and interior space

Courtesy of Service Brewing Co.

Hoppy Hour

Beer makers Kevin Ryan and Meredith Sutton took an old warehouse and renovated it eight years ago, Heritage explains, turning it into Service Brewing Co., another of the chef’s favorite places to hang out with friends. Look for special-release drafts brewed with seasonal fruits, like the Peach Grizzette, a farmhouse ale brewed with fresh Georgia peaches.

A dish from Common Thread restaurant in Savannah, Georgia

Courtesy of Common Thread

Taste of the Lowcountry

When showing visiting family and friends around the Hostess City, Heritage heads to the year-old Common Thread, an inventive restaurant within a restored Queen Anne house that sources from chef Brandon Carter’s own farm. “Everything is packed with flavor,” Heritage says. “I never knew okra could be so good!”

Artwork on display at the Savannah College of Art and Design Museum

Courtesy of SCAD

Fresh Talent

After visiting the acclaimed SCAD Museum of Art at the Savannah College of Art & Design, head to ShopSCAD for unique pieces — ceramics, jewelry, paintings, textiles — designed and made by students, alumni, and faculty. “Whether you pick up a notebook, a painting, or even a rug, this is a great way to give students a platform to sell their work and earn recognition.”

A version of this story first appeared in the October 2022 issue of Travel + Leisure under the headline "The Best of Savannah."

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