For as many long hours and weeks as he has put in over Summer 2021, you’ll have to forgive Brian Torres if he’s a little excited these days. The wait, and it’s been a long one, is almost over. Then the hard work begins.
For those that don’t know, Brian and his business partner Sky Hoyt own and operate Fork and Dagger Latin Diner at the corner of Anderson and Habersham. A increasingly popular weekend brunch spot featuring a unique blend of flavors from Brian’s Puerto Rican heritage and Sky’s influences from the South.
The neighborhood knows all about Fork and Dagger, they opened a few years back in what can be generously described as an eye sore of a location on Abercorn Street in the ground floor of the Chatham Apartments building near Huntington Street.
They cleaned it up beautifully and made the neighborhood sandwich and comfort food spot one of the most popular in that particular corner of downtown Savannah. With dishes like “Pig and Grits” topped with a fried egg and very possibly Savannah’s best Cuban sandwich, the following grew and a niche was born.
It wasn’t uncommon during busy times to see a line out the door during peak downtown Savannah seasons.
With a star on the rise, the opportunity came up to take over an under utilized diner down the street. The math worked, the need for space was significant and the appeal to offer an expanded dinner menu featuring beer and wine was too much to pass up. So they took it.
The idea of running two Fork and Dagger locations was daunting, sure, but Brian and Sky have never been afraid of long hours. The potential reward was significant. Breakfast and lunch on Abercorn Street, then lunch and dinner blocks away at The Latin Diner.
What was it someone said about the best laid plans?
Not long after they signed a lease at The Diner, they found out that the building their original location was in was being sold. They knew they had some time remaining there, but the clock was ticking. I had many conversations during that time with Brian. Getting a beer and wine license was critical to the Diner space. The plans were falling in place. We even held a special Eat It and Like It Pop Up Dinner at the Diner in January of 2020.
The rest of 2020? Well, we now know how that went.
By the time Fork and Dagger returned after the shut down last year, Brian and Sky had essentially been given notice. Chatham Apartments were being shut down for a complete renovation. By early September of last year, they made the move exclusively to the diner. Brunch and lunch. Dinner has been ‘coming soon’ for nearly a year.
Well now it is here.
To be fair, while there has been a sense of urgency at Fork and Dagger, there really hasn’t been a rush to open for dinner. The state of the labor pool is the biggest reason. Another is the absence of students at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Summers are typically slow in the neighborhood. Brian and Sky both know that. Patience was key.
Menus for the their dinner service were printed early Summer. They knew the time would come. It was just a matter of when. Last month they decided to use Savannah’s Summer Restaurant Week at their launching point.
“We are excited to have this dinner soft open during Restaurant Week.” Brian told me “We have our 4 people working, which means a lot of doubles for me, but that’s ok.”
As they wade into the dinner pool and wait for temperatures around here to cool off, they will be offering dinner at Fork and Dagger on Friday and Saturday nights only. They’d like to expand on that, but first things first.
Brian also tells me he’s very proud of his wine list too. with what he says are Savannah’s most aggressive bottle prices. That doesn’t surprise me. That’s always been his style.
The menu for now is pretty simple. Short Rib, Arroz con Pollo and their now famous Pig and Grits are some of what you will find on it. Of course there is more and that menu is subject to change. That’s part of the fun Brian and Sky are planning. In addition to their already very popular weekend brunch service.
They are also planning on live music on the patio deeper into the Fall but that’s down the road. Right now the focus is dinner, which after waiting this long to roll it out, you can expect it to take up a majority of their focus.
A perfect opportunity for you to eat it and like it.