Southerner's Guide to Grits

We visited six of Savannah's finest restaurants to see how they cook up their rendition of this Southern classic.


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In the same family as shrimp but closer to a lobster, crawfish is a seafood that tends to scare outsiders away. Don't fear! These mudbugs are delicious additions to any shrimp and grits dish. (Above: Lowcountry Shrimp and Grits at a.Lure)

 

“What the heck are grits anyway?” a tourist in Savannah was recently overheard asking his waitress at a local breakfast joint. “They are manna from heaven, honey,” she replied. “Why don’t you have some with butter?” “OK, I’ll try a bowl,” he said, rubbing his hands in anticipation of a new culinary adventure. “Lord, child, we can’t serve you grits in a bowl! It is not cream of wheat! I’ll take care of you honey,” she said walking away, shaking her head and likely wondering if he would ask for a spoon to boot. Grits are always eaten with a fork in the South.

Shrimp, Grits and Greens at Belford's

Belford’s

This downtown spot offers some of the greatest Southern cuisine and some of the liveliest people-watching. One of Belford’s most innovative specialties is their Shrimp, Greens and Grits. This dish is grounded in a grit cake with smoked Gouda cheese and Parmesan topped with collared greens and Georgia shrimp. The best thing about these grits—other than the taste—is that they are available any time from brunch to dinner.

Lowcountry Shrimp and Grits at a.Lure

a.Lure

One of the most unique grits dishes can be found at Savannah’s a.Lure, located on Congress Street. Settling on top of a grits base, these Lowcountry Shrimp and Grits combine creamy mascarpone with savory Georgia shrimp sautéed with bacon fat with a medley of other divine flavors. To complete this dishes flavor profile, they serve it with a sweet treat of biscuits and pineapple cardamom jam.

Shrimp and Grits at J. Christopher's

J. Christopher’s

This iconic breakfast, lunch and dinner joint is always welcoming crowds of people to experience their Southern comfort food. J. Christopher’s serves a hearty Shrimp and Grits  topped with cheddar cheese , bacon, jalapeños, Georgia shrimp and Andouille sausage. This hotspot has hosted the likes of visiting movie stars, resident musicians and notable politicians.

Shrimp Cheddar Grits and Gravy at The Olde Pink House

The Olde Pink House

At Savannah’s most famous historic restaurant, they take the classic shrimp and grits to another level by adding a third component: Gravy. Shrimp and Cheddar Grits and Gravy is a staple at The Olde Pink House. Executive chef Vincent Burns explains that the key to the dish is the country ham gravy poured atop the stone-ground grits and freshest Georgia shrimp.

Shrimp and Grits at b.Matthew's

b. Matthew’s

This tavern-like spot is headed up by Savannah native chef Will Oglesby. He melds fresh herbs, garlic and ham with a rich moray sauce to enhance the depth of flavors in b.Matthew’s Shrimp and Grits. To create the perfect texture of grits, Chef Will takes pride in his slow-cook method.

Bourbon Brisket and Blue-Corn Grits at Hotel Indigo
Photograph by Michael Schalk

Hotel Indigo

Even a grits traditionalist cannot resist Hotel Indigo’s Bourbon Brisket and Blue Corn grits. This twist on a classic Southern dish features a bourbon and brown sugar marinated brisket sitting on top of blue-corn grits. Its lavender color offers an aesthetically pleasing eating experience without having to sacrifice any of the taste.

 

For more culinary hotspots, check out South Magazine's dining guide.

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