Get your parade grub on

Continuing Savannah’s Irish-American food traditions

Green grits and breakfast at Clary's Cafe
Green grits and breakfast at Clary's Cafe

Around Savannah this St. Patrick’s Day, you’re sure to find green beer in any restaurant or bar. 

However, if you’re looking for some of the best Irish fare to add to the experience of the day, there are a few food traditions in town to get you fueled up for the day ahead.

You can start your parade day off with a hearty breakfast from several restaurants on or near the parade route, but The Rail Pub, 405 West Congress Street, is hosting their 26th annual Kegs ‘n Eggs complimentary breakfast on Thursday at 8 a.m.

“You just need to buy one drink and then we’ll give you a token to get a complimentary breakfast,” said a manager at The Rail Pub. “We’ll have free t-shirts for the first 80 customers, but get there early because everything goes really fast.”

Another option for breakfast is just off Chippewa Square, McDonough’s plans to put it on big for St. Patrick’s Day. A party all day long, there will be a breakfast buffet, a DJ spinning all day, and buckets of beer. 

Several blocks south, Clary’s Café is carrying on its long-standing tradition of being one of Savannah’s institutions most any day, but especially on St. Patrick’s Day.

Jan Wilson, originally came to Savannah some 30 years ago from Tennessee when her husband took a job with the Corps of Engineers. She bought Clary’s Café 20 years ago and, as she sits at a corner table near the kitchen, watching the ballet of servers moving about, Wilson says, “I’ll probably die right here in this chair.”

Clary’s is a Savannah institution, known in popular culture around town and to tourists alike thanks to being featured in the film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

 “We’ve been around a while,” Wilson says. “But we’re consistent and good. We try for that.”

And they’ll be trying extra hard on Thursday the 17th when they host guests in the restaurant again for St. Patrick’s Day.

“We’ll be here at 6 a.m.,” she says. “With COVID, we were just doing to-go orders outside. This year, we’re planning on feeding—” Wilson pauses a moment. “How many people are coming to town. About 700,000. Well, I’m going to feed them all,” she says with a laugh.

In addition to serving a lot of breakfast, featuring their green grits, Wilson says their corned beef hash is something that draws folks in. 

“People really love the corned beef hash. We make it right here from a family recipe that has never changed.”

Wilson says their Rueben sandwiches are pretty popular, as well. “They’re perfect for after the parade. Anything else folks want, we have it. We’re planning on having a great time like we always do. The girls are already wearing their green shirts in anticipation of the week.”

While of German heritage, Jan says she’s always Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. 

“Well, everyone is Irish, especially here in Savannah. I stopped drinking nine years ago and had a better time than I do now,” she kids.

Clary’s closes off their parking lot for their employees and families to have a guaranteed place to take in the parade. 

“We rope things off the night before and it’s just a fun, family environment for everyone to watch the festivities together. It’s a family for us.”

Like most all Savannahians, Wilson is overjoyed to see the parade back. 

“It’s going to be fantastic to have everyone back in town. We just love the parade and everything it represents. Sadly, a lot of our military have been called up to duty, so we don’t know if we’ll have the regular local military presence in the parade. We’re sad the Clydesdales won’t be here, but we know there will be lots and lots of fun stuff.”

“We’re happy to have a feast and dress up in our beads and shirts and just have a great time. We’re going to be right here, doing what we always do, like we’ve done every other year,” she says proudly. “I’m blessed.”

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment
  • or

Right Now On

Now Playing

By Film...

By Theater...