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Breakfast with a side of nostalgia
The Diner's new look

A wave of nostalgia swept over me as I stepped through the door of The Diner on Abercorn Street -- "Pankake Palace" is still woven into the entryway's ceramic tile floor.

The classic-style diner had become worn, I'll admit that. Booths were torn, table tops were nearly rubbed through from the scores of plates and wipe downs that had burnished the pattern indecipherable. Stools wobbled beneath counter diners.

The makeover is snazzy. Lots of hot pinks and blues make it cheerier. New Stools feature gleaming chrome posts that shine under new lighting. Even the uniforms are brighter and warmer.

But, I wondered as I carefully opened the menu, what had been done to the food? Nothing.

Yes! The $5.99 breakfast special (two eggs anyway, three pancakes and bacon -- grits if you want 'em) was still there, nestled in a cozy box on the menu. I had it for lunch.

The bacon is crispy, the eggs just right (scrambled today, please) and the pancakes fluffy and hot enough to melt a generous slather of butter.

It's an all day menu, and the only place I know that on one table, at any time of day, you can find one diner with breakfast, another with a burger, another with quail and another with a still sizzling T-bone. The coffee is hot, the servers generally outgoing and full of character. It's affordable, fast and filling.

The grand re-opening will be celebrated at the restaurant July 20 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. There will be a limited number of free T-shirts and coffee cups -- and of course, breakfast served all day.

7202 Abercorn St./356-5877

Spice it up

I was so mesmerized with the wall of flavored salts and a "blend your own" dry rub station, that I didn't give the teas at The Spice and Tea Exchange of Savannah a second look.

Not to fear, I'll be back often.

This new downtown shop opened July 7 and should soon become a must-visit site for local foodies and chefs alike. In addition to sever flavored salts, there are huge selections of ground peppers, a myriad of spices and, of course, the teas I overlooked. Quantities can be bought in bulk or in small, easy to consume packets.

The store is a natural counterpart to Lowcountry Gourmet Foods, 123 E. Liberty St., where you will find a tasting room lined with exotic olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

14 W. Broughton St./790-1669/