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Driftaway to Sandfly
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Sometimes you’re in the mood for fine dining, and sometimes you just want some really good grub. And then there are the eventual times when you may want the former, while your dining partner prefers the latter. What to do?

Here’s a suggestion: Go to the Driftaway Café in historic Sandfly (that’s approximately one blink north of Isle of Hope, for those who aren’t familiar).

Since 2001, the husband and wife team of Robyn and Michele Quattlebaum have been serving up a wide array of seafood (and some beef, for you landlubbers) to those lucky enough to have heard of the restaurant.

“We’re not too heavily advertised, but somehow a lot of people have found out about us,” Robyn says with a chuckle as the lunch crowd begins to, um… crowd.

When asked about his job title, he simply replies, “My wife is the owner, I just do what I’m told. I helped design the restaurant and the menu. lawn maintenance, dish-washing, placing orders; anything that needs to be done to ensure a smooth operation.”

Robyn’s easy-going attitude is reflected in the ambiance at the Driftaway Café. From the moment you set foot in the restaurant, you feel as if you are on a secluded island. The walls of the Driftaway are one big seascape, complete with lighthouse, boats and a gigantic three-dimensional shark. It’s like being surrounded by the Atlantic while you dine.

“That’s what happens when you shop on eBay late at night,” Quattlebaum jokes, referring to the mammoth great white adorning his wall. “It adds an authenticity to the place, though.”

But while the décor at the Driftaway Care may be impressive, it still takes a back seat to the food.

“When I opened this restaurant, I wanted to offer Savannah the opportunity to ‘eat out,’ but also the opportunity to ‘dine’ if they chose,” says Quattlebaum.

The menu showcases that “eat out” or “dine” duality in every area, from their appetizers, with such offerings as the Wymberly crab cakes and Seared Tuna Tartare (Ahi Tuna seared “tatake” style with black and white sesame seeds, tossed with a sesame-ginger vinaigrette and diced cucumbers on a bed of rice stick noodles and crispy wontons and crowned with pickled ginger), to their entrees, where you can order anything from the low-key flash-fried shrimp and oyster Driftaway Seafood Combo, to haute cuisine like Pistachio-crusted Salmon (Fresh Atlantic salmon fillet crusted with green pistachios and finished with a key-lime mustard butter).

And while I’m on the subject of their menu selections, let me take this opportunity to clear up any misconceptions that readers may have about fish tacos. They seem to be all the rage now, and Driftaway’s got ‘em, but if you are like me, the mental combination of “fish” and “taco” may not sound too appealing.

To my relief, a fish taco is not a taco in the traditional sense, with the tomato-based taco sauce and Mexican spices. The Baja Fish Taco is actually grouper fingers flash-fried in Killians beer batter, with shredded lettuce, homemade salsa and a creamy (Mayo based) Baja taco sauce served in a hot tortilla.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds infinitely better than what I was imagining!

Quattlebaum is quick to give thanks to those who make it all happen.

“I have a staff of some of the greatest cooks in Savannah,” he brags. “I can’t say enough about them. They’re what makes our food so great.”

So come in, sit down, and dine on gourmet fare, or if you prefer, kick back and munch some great food. Either way is just fine.

The Driftaway Café has two locations: 7400 Skidaway Rd. (Sandfly) and 216 Johnny Mercer Blvd. (Wilmington Island). Hours of operation are Monday thru Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. with live music on Wednesday nights. Friday open till 11 p.m. Saturday open from 10 a.m. till 11 p.m. Sunday Brunch is from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., close at 9 p.m. Call 303-0999 or visit them at