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Sep 29, 2023

Savannah Food Crawls With Jesse Blanco

Jesse Blanco

Photography By

Special to CH2/CB2 Magazine
And speaking of Christmas, this book would make an excellent Christmas gift for anyone you know who enjoys visiting Savannah or will be visiting Savannah sometime soon.

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A funny thing happened on the way to the bookstore…

If you are keeping score at home (and I realize only a few of you are), then you probably know I wrote a book in 2022—my first of what I hope will be many. I’ve since written a second book, and there is a third in the works. But for now, I have this one—almost literally in my hands. It’s called Savannah Food Crawls, and I’d like to think it is one of the best resources ever put together on Savannah’s ever-evolving food scene.

I mention a funny thing happening on the way to the bookstore because this book, believe it or not, caught me by surprise. I had a chat back in June with my publisher who told me the book would be released in April or May of 2024. By that math, it would be a year behind schedule. Deflating to say the least.

On September 1, I got a text from a friend in Tampa. She had just pre-ordered my book on Amazon. “How could that be?” I asked. “It’s not out until spring.” Long story very short, it was a misunderstanding. Savannah Food Crawls was released on October 1.

Jesse Blanco’s new book, Savannah Food Crawls, is now available for purchase.

What it is

I wish I could take credit for the idea, but it was not mine. Globe Pequot (the publisher) produces a series of books across America about food-centric cities. They have Portland, Oregon Food Crawls, Austin Food Crawls, Philadelphia Food Crawls, and others. Savannah was their latest at the time. I have since written one about Charleston as well.

For this book, I was tasked with curating 13-15 “walkabouts” throughout Downtown Savannah’s Historic District. Not all of Savannah’s best food and drink is located there, but it is fair to say most of it is. So, how does someone who isn’t familiar digest it all? Pun intended.

I hid myself in a hotel room in St. Petersburg, Florida during the summer of 2022 to figure out how to break Savannah into sections. There were maps and lists everywhere. It was my job to break it all down.

There is a River Street Crawl and a Bay Street Crawl. There is a guide to City Market and a tour of Bull Street—Savannah’s main walking corridor. There is a tour of the up-and-coming Starland District, and there is a comprehensive list of Savannah’s rooftop venues. It’s all there in one book.

Within those crawls are suggestions on where to stop for a bite or a sip and why. The book is three parts food, two parts drink, and one part history. The manuscript is sprinkled with historic tidbits of interest as well as some of those “hidden gems” that so many people are eagerly in search of.

One thing you won’t find in this book is fine dining. I can’t say it was forbidden by my publisher, but it was discouraged. Their Food Crawl series is aimed at being affordable and approachable. Do I mention places like The Olde Pink House and The Grey? Well, of course I do. Those are a must in any food guide to Savannah. But I worked them into the fabric of a proper crawl, giving readers an idea of not only where they are located within Savannah’s Historic District, but also how you can absolutely enjoy them on a budget.

How can you get your hands on one?

As I mentioned, they are available via Amazon delivered to your door. Beyond that, we are scheduling several signings and celebratory dinners in the area between now and Christmas and into 2024. Right now, I can tell you there will be a signing at Burnt Church Distillery in Bluffton and a dinner at Pomodori on Hilton Head Island, dates are TBA. There will be more. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone.

And speaking of Christmas, this book would make an excellent Christmas gift for anyone you know who enjoys visiting Savannah or will be visiting Savannah sometime soon. How do I know? Well, clearly there is bias involved, however… About 4-5 months after I turned the book in, I was sent a file to go over it one last time to make any final changes. I printed the entire 200- plus pages and sat at my desk meticulously going through every syllable with fresh eyes. When I was done, I smiled and thought, yup, it’s all there. So obviously I’m very proud of this thing. I think you will enjoy it, and at the very least, I know you will Eat It and Like It.  

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