SAVANNAH IS keeping up the pace of regularly opening new bars and restaurants. For two years now, the former law firm on the corner of W. Congress and Jefferson Streets has undergone revitalization.
But now, the mystery of the clean-lined stately white building has finally been solved.
Marking its grand opening March 22, The Grove is a restaurant and bar owned by the food and beverage mogul Daniel Simmons. Simmons scoured our city for two years prior to purchasing the building, and then spent two more years refurbishing the space.
“Good things come to those who wait,” Simmons declares.
Simmons was born and raised in Columbus, Ga., and has been in the food and beverage industry for many years. He has revitalized restaurants all around the region from Atlanta and Nashville to Birmingham and Charlotte.
He expounds, “I like to go into an area and ask, ‘what’s missing? What can I bring that’s different for the people of this area?’”
Simmons was inspired to create a fresh open concept in City Market, steering away from brick and wood and highlighting a modern coastal flair.
The Grove’s location in the heart of City Market is not its only perk, as the three-story building boasts four bars. When entering from Congress Street patrons pass through the grand entry and step across the Instagrammable and iconic tiled floor labeled “The Grove.”
The fresh white walls, geometric design elements and abundant natural light, exude a vivacious vibe. The bar in the center of the first floor sets the tone.
On the Jefferson Street side, floor to ceiling doors open wide to a walk up bar, where patrons can sit at bar and watch sports or just grab a drink to-go.
This bar’s features make it clear that Simmons did his research on the Savannah way of life.
The second floor has the “Blue Bar” with deep dark hues that convey a swanky Prohibition era ambiance, one where you would order a whiskey on the rocks. Enjoy street views from windows surrounding the space while sitting on leatherback sofas.
Simmons is in the process of completing an event space on the second floor as well. This room can hold up 75 people for a seated dinner and possesses towering windows that open to balconies with city views.
The third floor, a new addition, is a rooftop bar with spectacular views of other rooftops and historic buildings around our city. Abundant outdoor seating with couches, coffee tables, high-top tables and stools lend to a laid-back southern-living atmosphere.
The kitchen at the Grove is helmed by Chef Hoss, an Ohio native previously living in North Carolina. Hoss is a graduate of the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University. He has developed a Southern inspired menu meant to cover all palates and appetites.
Small plates that can be shared include Forsyth Fried Okra, Low Country Kale and Southern Cheese Dip of spiced turnip greens with a cheesy sauce. But if you truly want something that pairs well with a boozy sip, the Honey Drizzle Fries are a must. These crispy shoestring fries are dressed in a jalapeno honey sauce that lends an irresistible sweet heat.
For something light, salads such as the Caprese, a classic Italian salad with Roma tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella, or the Savannah Salad, with baby spinach, strawberries, candied pecans and feta, are stellar choices.
The Grove also offers mouthwatering burgers and colossal sandwiches, which can be washed down with an ice-cold beer. The Hudson is a Grove-fan favorite. The sandwich is comprised of juicy grilled chicken breast, smoked bacon, pesto aioli and the trifecta of toppings lettuce, tomato and onion.
If you are staying for dinner or looking for a comprehensive meal, large plate offerings such as Atlantic Salmon and The Grove Stir Fry grace the menu. A crowd-pleaser is the Ribeye Mac and Cheese.
A mammoth medium-rare rib eye steak is sliced on top of creamy macaroni and cheese, studded with Conecuh sausage and capped with pickled green tomato relish. It’s satisfying and hits all the notes of carnivorous decadence with a fresh briny finish. You are not going to want to share.
Simmons reflects on The Grove’s presence in Savannah, hoping that in time the restaurant and bar will flourish into a cornerstone of the downtown scene.
“What we have has been so well received that it gives (Hoss) and the rest of our team confidence that Savannah is a great place to expand with the food and beverage market,” Simmons endeavors.