My very first cuisine feature for Connect Savannah covered Pie Society and their famous fish and chips. So, it is with nostalgia and great excitement that I am able to feature The Little Crown by Pie Society – or as the restaurateurs call it "Georgia’s Smallest Pub."
Despite uncertain times, Pie Society was able to revamp their well-established downtown City Market location to include more seating and a handmade bar. Earlier this year, they opened the doors to the new and renovated restaurant, which included a blue exterior facelift.
As I sat at the bar on one of Savannah’s rare crisp fall afternoons, owner Melissa Wagstaff told me: “We really wanted to extend into the evening business. To do that, our biggest complaints were the size. There was not a huge amount we could do, but we extended into the back and added atmosphere, as well.”
The new and spaced-out seating became available in the back of the restaurant. What once hosted an art gallery is now two quaint seating sections called “The Conservatory” and “The Snub.”
The Conservatory features an outdoorsy theme.
In explaining what “Snub” stands for, Wagstaff said, “A lot of old pubs will have a little side room. It is where people who are not supposed to be drinking would go (like priests and stuff like that).”
Although the bar is small in stature, the speciality drinks are anything but. Bar manager Josh Fethke is responsible for creating all of the playful house drinks. Little Crown’s bar menu revolves around British culture, which gives the bartenders ample room to mix creatively.
“The best part is there is so much British pop culture we just started grabbing things from pop culture and then name the cocktails after that,” Fethke said.
The signature cocktail menu features drinks inspired by James Bond, Doctor Who, Monty Python and anything else related to England.
Little Crown features a weekly cocktail special, as well as a seasonally-backed menu. As creative juices flow, new British-themed cocktails make an appearance on the revolving bar menu. As for the rest of the menu, the beer list includes as many British imports as possible.
Until I sat down to enjoy a slice of pie, side of ice cream, and stiffly made libation, I had no idea just how perfect the combination of pie and cocktail could be. The ice cream recently added to the menu is Leopold’s, of course.
A variety of cocktails
The first drink I sampled was the Doctor Who, one of the most unique mixes of liquors I have sampled in one cup. Each “Doctor” is represented, Fethke said.
“He has been different people over the years. When I start breaking down what actually goes into the drink, all of the characters are going in.”
Jamaican rum dances with light, quality gin and fresh tropical juice. Lemon peel, a cherry, and the cutest little British flag garnish the cup.
Second on deck was a Pimm’s cup. Although a well-established classic drink, Fethke managed to give it a refresher.
“I balanced the drink out by adding a little cucumber, mint leaves, and lemon juice.” Understanding how controversial admiration for Pimm’s liqueur can be for some, I am happy to report that Little Crown has managed to create an upgraded version that actually makes Pimm’s taste differently than you may remember.
By overshaking the ingredients and topping the drink with bubbly ginger ale, the finished cocktail has an airy finish. Instead of sitting heavy on your tongue, the aeration makes the drink classically heavy feel more like a spritzer.
The Uncle Grey is a crowd favorite. Fethke makes the signature cocktail with “Earl Grey-infused gin, egg whites, and lemon.” He told me, “It is nothing crazy and people buy it by the droves.”
The drink is comparable to an Earl Grey-infused whiskey sour.
Since last reporting on Pie Society, the menu has only improved. A constant stream of patrons yearning for pie streamed in and out of the restaurant while I enjoyed my own slice.
Each month all Pie Society locations feature a pie of the month. Recently, the feature was a Bayou Chicken Pie made with a special hot sauce from local restaurant Bayou Cafe. Encased in thick flaky handmade crust was a creamy spicy sauce laced with juicy chunks of chicken. For those timid of heat, a balance of pepper was present due to the herb ranch sauce.
This season’s specialty pie also will include a Thanksgiving flavored pie with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry. Other available savory pie flavors include chicken pot pie, steak and ale, chicken and thyme, vegetable, and a cottage pie similar to a Shepard’s.
As for the sweet side of the menu, pies are not the only dessert available for purchase. Apple & mixed berry crumble, mini cherry bakewell tarts, Chelsea buns, chocolate fudge cake, and Victoria sponge cake are just some of the wellmade traditional sweets for sale. For baking enthusiasts like myself, you should know that these treats would earn a Hollywood Handshake.
The food side of Pie Society’s menu will always feature the tried and true classics. Why change an expertly executed menu.
Wagstaff said it best, “A lot of our recipes are super traditional British recipes. They are delicious but they are not necessarily visually appealing.”
So besides adding special seasonal items, the only real changes to the food is its curb appeal. A dusting of powdered sugar or extra swipe of buttercream is all that is needed to improve the established delectable fare.
Go visit “Georgia’s Smallest Pub” for yourself, hunt down Pie Society’s food truck, or stop into the full Pooler Pie Society Cafe. No matter where you land, the group of local sister restaurants has been a local favorite for good reason.
The Pie Society family will continue to push forward new ideas and locations. You can be certain that I will report on anything new, mates!