THIS IS A PRETTY BIG DEAL.
And it wouldn’t be a stretch to say Savannah owes it to a global pandemic.
Andrew Brochu, a rising star on the culinary scene in Chicago, has signed a lease to bring a brand new concept of his own to Savannah’s Starland neighborhood. What kind of food? He tells me it will probably center around fried chicken and seafood.
“We had it all ready to go, then 2020 happened.”
The ‘it” Andrew refers to was a restaurant concept he had been putting together in Chicago. After roughly 15 years building a name and a following in that city, the time finally felt right to try something on his own. It didn’t hurt that he had picked up a couple of Michelin rating stars at a couple of his stops in the process. No easy feat. But it was time.
“We were almost to the end. We had liquor licensing and were just about done when everything shut down,” he says. “We had been working on it for 2 years.”
Left with essentially nothing at that point, he and his wife Sophie began to discuss the possibility of moving to Savannah. Her hometown.
“We had visited. And I was familiar with the South. I attended high school in
Lawrenceville, Georgia.” He says. “It kind of just happened,” he adds referring to the move.
“We loved Chicago and it was pretty slow here, but I always knew I’d be in love with the South again.”
Once they were settled he started looking around. Kicking a few tires here and there. He talked to a few people who were familiar with the area and decided he wanted to try to set up shop in the Starland area. He loved everything about not only what it is today, but what he sees it becoming.
He was shown the development at 2400 Bull Street. The former Save a Lot Supermarket that has been re-done into several retail slots. They all face Bull Street directly across from the very popular Back in the Day Bakery and Starland Yard. But he wasn’t sold.
“Something kept drawing me to that back space.” He says of the spot he finally decided to make his own. The space is huge. It occupies a huge area a half block down 40th street.
Essentially behind the 2400 Bull structure.
Some might call it a back alley. I call it genius.
“Once I started looking at the drawings and design,” he says. “The energy of Savannah and the lifestyle.” He knew he had a perfect fit. I think he does as well. And we are not alone.
“The Starland district is about to get a culinary treat! This new tenant will just add to the burgeoning concept mix in the neighborhood.” Is what Beth Vantosh of Vantosh Realty had to say about it. She and Katie Chancy at Dai Commercial were instrumental in making this happen in Starland. It’s a home run for the neighborhood.
Andrew’s resume speaks for itself. The list of names he rattled off that made up his time in Chicago should impress anyone. But it is equally as important to note that he has no intention of bringing ‘super fine dining’ to Starland. Not at all. He mentioned “casual and loud” more than once.
It’s fitting too. He’s a very high energy guy who is bringing a ton of excitement and passion to this project. He’ll be 40 years old in October, which makes him old enough to know better, but young enough to have the energy to pull it all off.
“After 3 years at (Chicago’s) Roister, I like that,” he says. “Super casual place and loud. But
Roister was a little more designed.”
“This is less about the chef and more about delicious food. That’s definitely what we are going for here. I love the energy here.”
The look, as I have been told is going to be a little more rustic than you will find in the big city. Andrew understands he is opening a restaurant in the middle of a quirky and developing neighborhood. It’s obvious he is motivated by that, but at the same time, just wants to fit in.
They have a working title, but I won’t share so there are no misunderstandings. Suffice to say this is going to be higher end casual eats and very family friendly. That was all part of the deal when they agreed to move here and open a restaurant.
“Our family is all out at The Landings.” He says, “I have family from all over the South including New Orleans. We want some of that here.”
If you are excited, you should be. This is going to be great all the way around.
“Right now, unless something happens with permitting, we are shooting for Spring
At least he didn’t say “St. Patrick’s Day.”