Best New Restaurant

Cotton & Rye

It’s the casually elegant midtown eatery we’ve all been waiting for: Cotton & Rye opened in the Thomas Square neighborhood last August, and the adoration was instantaneous.

Located inside an old bank that has hosted a slew of other fine eateries, Cotton & Rye upped Savannah’s fine dining game and delivers exactly what you’d expect from the name: Classical inspiration and damn good cocktails.

Owner Zach Shultz and Chef Brandon Whitestone have developed a clever, contemporary take on Southern fare with dishes like Andouille-spiced Carolina trout and shrimp ‘n’ grits topped with crumbled bacon and seared tomatoes.

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Chef’s wife Kimberly Whitestone rounds out this highly palatable partnership as general manager and chief bartender, shaking and stirring up a delightful array of concoctions with selections from the wall of craft whiskeys. (The Antebellum with its dash of Dijon mustard is not to be missed.

The “rye” also applies to C&R’s signature bread, baked fresh daily and served in a white cotton cloth. But don’t spoil your appetite for the generous appetizers and entrees.

“The menu is simple and each dish exudes a farm-to-table freshness that makes you want to order just one more,” Connect food writer Cheryl Baisden Solis advised in her review.

Dessert is a whole other bowl of wonderful, from sweet confections to traditional cheese plates piled with chutney and fruit. We’re currently obsessed with the Chocolate Buttermilk Pie, a sinful caramel-infused indulgence topped with salted whipped cream.

Menus change seasonally which means you’ll have to stop in often to enjoy the full range of Cotton & Rye’s culinary capacities. But considering its undeniable popularity, you’d best make reservations. —Jessica Leigh Lebos

Runner up: The Grey

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