Rooftop bragging rights: VICI setting the tone for locals

EAT IT AND LIKE IT | Presented weekly by SAVANNAH TECHNICAL COLLEGE

Updated February 7, 2023 at 8:02 p.m.

It seems like all we do is talk about how much Savannah has progressed. I know a lot of you get tired of it. I know a lot more of you don’t like what has become of the Hostess City of the South. Can’t stop progress, and we aren’t alone in that department. The South has been having a moment for a few minutes. That, ultimately, is good for business.

I haven’t been around but 50 something years, but I am guessing that Savannah has been compared to Charleston more than several dozen ways. Of course it has. A Google search will tell you that. 

Most recently, I found myself having a conversation with someone about rooftop bars. Yes, the comparison by which a lot of the younger crowd that is visiting our city measures our arrival. I can see a lot of you rolling your eyes, but, once again, these are realities.

On the fly, I counted 12 in Savannah. The person I was talking to failed to come up with that many in Charleston. Silly measuring stick? Not really if you are paying attention to the landscape. It is absolutely something to brag about if you are part of the food and beverage crowd. Hey, Charleston still is considerably ahead of us when it comes to the amount of great eats, but we are running neck and neck for our ‘big city feel’ as enjoyed from our rooftops.

Savannah’s newest rooftop is one of the better looking ones...in the most unlikely of places.

It’s called VICI, which rhymes with "Chee Chee," and it has the chance to be one of Savannah’s most popular rooftops with the local crowd.

I can say that because, for starters, it is blocks away from downtown Savannah’s ground zero for visitors. A lot of us define that zone as North of Liberty. Certainly North of Broughton.

VICI sits tucked away on Charlton Street a quarter block off of MLK, Jr., Blvd. A block of so over from the very popular Rancho Alegre Cuban Restaurant.

The space, co-owned by Anthony Scarpulla and Danny Fulgham, was built from scratch. Two guys from Los Angeles doubling as handymen and building a space they thought Savannah would enjoy. Anthony was here first. He’s a Hunter Army vet, came here to be a filmmaker until 2020 happened.

Danny, very successful in the Los Angeles food truck game, wanted out of the City of Angels and set up shop here with his buddy. The two of them had the vision and the skill to pull it off. VICI rooftop is beautiful. From the rooftop space, to the lighting to the indoor seating area.

They opened back on January 5. They’ve gotten a great reception since. Yes, like every other roof out there, they’ve been fighting the cold here and there, but that what happens when you open your doors in the dead of winter.

The guess here is they were ready to start making some money.

You see, a year or so ago, I got a call from Anthony. I’d met him when we featured his Lobster Roll shop on MLK a while back on our television show. GB Lobster was very popular, but food costs (Lobster!!!) post pandemic, ate his business alive. He had already been eyeing a rooftop space down the street.

When I saw it last year, I liked it. I thought it had a lot of potential. He told me hoped to be open by Summer. Then we sat...and waited and waited.

Nearly a year after that first tour I got, I found out they didn’t like what they had built. They ripped it out in its entirety and started all over again. Yes, that was the year-long delay.

They are glad they did. I am glad they did. What they have created is worlds better than what it was. As I’ve mentioned already, VICI is a great looking spot.

It’s not just a bar. There are some small plates and raw oysters. Everything I’ve had was good. On March 4 they are kicking off their weekend brunch service.

I’ve had more than a few conversations with Anthony and Danny about this space. They love it because, outside of Perch on Bull Street, it really has a chance to be Savannah’s first true locals rooftop. A full parking lot across the street offering free—YES, FREE—parking, is another indicator that they are serious about asking Savannah to come see them.

The biggest draw, they feel, is the fact that you can get a downtown vibe without fighting the crowds a little closer to the river. That is a significant advantage. Especially for residents from Liberty to Victory Drive. VICI has been a draw so far. As soon as the temps rise, it will be a bigger draw.

If you enjoy the rooftop thing, you should check this out. If you like to Eat It and Like It while doing the rooftop thing, then join us for their brunch kickoff on the Fourth. Tickets are available now at eatitandlikeit.com. And yes, it will sell out.

Or you can wait. Enjoy it at your leisure, but I’m guessing you will enjoy Savannah’s 12th rooftop. Then you can brag to your friends about it.

Published February 7, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.

Jesse Blanco

One of the most recognizable personalities in the Savannah/Hilton Head Island television market, Jesse Blanco is sometimes called "Savannah's Anthony Bourdain." His 'Eat It and Like It' show has become a major regional brand in the foodie world.
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