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Three bites: Chen's, Firehouse Subs, Pankake Palace
Firehouse Subs - Tim's four-alarm favorite.

Chen's Chinese Restaurant

Unlike so many of the ubiquitous Chinese buffets in Savannah, Chen's is neither "giant" or "super-sized." It's comfortable and approachable.Steam-table pans are changed frequently, which insures freshness. I gravitate to the Sesame Chicken, small and crispy spring rolls and egg drop soup. Ingredients are fresh, the food hot and satisfying. More attention could be given to seasoning, especially on spicier dishes that should pack heat. For dieters or members of your group who don't like Chinese food (Yikes!), there is an ample salad and fresh fruit bar. For heartier appetites, as if an endless buffet is not enough, there is also a dessert bar. Buffet service is offered at both lunch and dinner.

20 E. Derenne Ave./ 231-8891

Firehouse Subs

This newest entry in the Savannah sub wars is my new four-alarm favorite. Fresh and made-to-order has become commonplace among serious sub shops. But Firehouse subs seems to go the extra mile with cold subs and hot subs that are toasted or steamed. One of my favorite steamed offerings is the New York Steamer. A mound of corned beef brisket and pastrami are served hot on a tender steamed bun with provolone, mayo, mustard and Italian dressing. My Firehouse Meatball -- small size -- still offered four nice meatballs, flavorful marinara sauce, Italian seasoning sprinkles and gooey, melted Provolone cheese. Sides for combos are your choice of chips. Beverages are from a self-serve fountain. Nicely themed, clean and remarkably busy at lunch.

8108 Abercorn St. # 430, 920-4161/ 1955 E Victory Dr., 354-3473

Original Pankake Palace

Man, I just gotta give props to this Abercorn Street diner. Wassup with you guys? You are missing a gem! This 24/7 haunt is my go-to for hot pancakes and bacon. Add an egg and coffee and you're still under 8 bucks -- and you won't go home hungry. This is old-school diner fare: fresh, made-to-order and a treasure on the Southside. This is probably the ONLY restaurant I repeatedly visit where I've never had a bad meal. Burgers are equally tasty and the quail dinner is an amazing bargain and a delicious surprise from a line cook whose quail cooking skills are apparently equal to his short-order talents. Great meeting place with friends; lively give-and-take with staff -- and you never know who you'll see dining here.

7202 Abercorn St./ 356-5877