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Seaport Cuisine opens to fuel Savannah's longshoremen
Tonya Makinye (left) and Shericha Spence at Seaport Cuisine. - photo by Brandy Simpkins

SAVANNAHIANS AND visitors alike drop their jaws in amazement as monstrous ships pass by on the Savannah River carrying thousands of tons of cargo. Though the sizes of the ships are larger than life, the true astonishment is the relentless labor of local longshoremen that make the transfer of international goods possible.

With the Port of Savannah serving as the largest single-terminal container facility in the United States, the work of the longshoremen isn’t to be taken lightly − and neither is their appetite.

To fuel these hardy workers, a new soul-food and seafood restaurant, Seaport Cuisine (11 Bird St., Savannah), will be hosting a family-friendly grand opening on Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. to introduce their services to the longshoremen yard and the surrounding community. Wrapped in hand-painted ships by a late local artist, the little red building sits right next to the yard, and the longshoremen love the easy access to breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The grand opening will feature a bouncey house for children, music, vendors, a raffle drawing, popcorn and cotton candy, and a tasting of menu items.

“We chose to open up a restaurant in this location to support the longshoremen, so we can cook them some great home-cooked food,” said LaDonna January, one of the eatery’s three owners.

January said that she and her partners, Tonya Makinye and Jamar Pryor, were conflicted about opening a restaurant amidst a global pandemic, but they put the longshoremen first, being essential workers who have not stopped working since the COVID-19 crisis started.

“When you have people working without nourishment, how healthy can they be to get the job done?” said January.

Makinye says that though they have not had an official grand opening, she already has regular customers who enjoy the food − especially the burgers − and the prices.

Accommodating the long hours of a longshoreman’s shift, the restaurant will be open from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily except Sundays. And while port workers are the primary customers, anyone who would like to enjoy a home-style meal is also welcome.

“The longshoremen are already very supportive of us. We’re ready to be known by the rest of the community now, too,” said January.