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The Foodie Column

THE RESTAURANT circle of life continues. Recently we’ve said good–bye to Saigon, CafÉ on 37 and Lime Grill. This week, we greet a newcomer and welcome others who push past comfort zones to remain relevant.

New in the Village

Brian and Jennifer Husky opened the fifth concept in their Gaslight Group with, fittingly, The 5 Spot, an American bistro serving the busy Habersham Village neighborhood.

The former Clary’s CafÉ location has had a significant facelift and presents itself as a hip, urban eatery that capitalizes on the large offset dining room, the wide open front rooms and huge windows. In fact, all of the windows have unobstructed views of the street, and even at dusk it’s bright and cheerful.

The bar area and the big window seats at the bar were full when I stopped in, and dining tables were beginning to fill. The Five Spot is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a menu that plays heavily on favorite local flavors and an accessible range of salads, sandwiches and some interesting plated dishes.

It was opening night, never a good time to review any restaurant’s food. I’ll be back in a few weeks with a full report.
4430 Habersham St./

The Fox v.2.0

Foxy Loxy, the popular neighborhood coffee shop near the Bull Street Library, has opened a similar concept downtown at Whitaker and Broughton streets dubbed The Coffee Fox. Among all of the city’s coffee joints, these guys take the time to craft perfectly constructed and dare I say beautiful–to–look–at coffee drinks. Great, fresh made food and baked goods and carefully selected menus of wine and beer set these baristas apart.

Staying relevant

“Relevancy.” It’s a phrase I use a lot when working with restaurateurs. Whether a venerable 80–year–old like Johnny Harris or a newcomer, savvy restaurant owners must constantly assess if they are delivering – even over–delivering – the menu and service that customers expect.

To that end, several local eateries are making changes to do just that:

Diner on Abercorn: I had not been back to the Diner since just after its physical remodel from being the Pankake Palace. A stop last week revealed a significantly ramped up menu that features more choices and some Greek–flavored dishes. This menu more closely resembles a true, urban diner. Don’t miss the big case of cakes and cheesecakes – all baked locally.

Savannah Rum Runners: Newly relocated to Montgomery Street, the familiar bakery is no longer just about rum cakes. A daily menu of soups, salads and quick sandwiches has been added and there’s a new emphasis on high–end custom cakes.

Taco Abajo: An expanded menu launches on Dec. 12 that will include an evening time selection of authentic Mexican dishes like chicken mole or pork carnets, new appetizers and new side dishes. The ala carte tacos, burritos and salads are still there – but gone are the plastic baskets and waxed paper. (Full disclosure: I’m a partner in this restaurant.)

Sapphire Grill: The Saturday late night (beginning at 11) cocktail menu continues at this long–time downtown fine dining destination. Great small bites and handcrafted cocktails form the basis of this fun night out.

Ruan Thai: This menu at this Broughton Street restaurant took a huge jump in variety within the past few weeks. It’s a true lunch value with meals beginning at just $6.95 and enough options to please even the pickiest eaters. A sign out front last week indicates the restaurant is on the craft beer bandwagon, with half dozen or so choices.  cs

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