The Live Oak Restaurant Group is making another run at the west end of River Street with its high–end bar food project Dub's Pub.
The group tried Cobblestone Conch House in the same location several years ago. On all counts — food, service and versatility— that project was a winner in every area except bringing in customers.
Now, with a better view of the river due to some recent demolition and a bit more traffic at the west end, Dub's Pub may just make this location go.
The menu, designed by Chef Jonathon Massey, formerly of Rocks on the River, is lean, mean and inventive. There is not an overwhelming range of selections but that's the formula to push out consistent dishes.
Service is casual — plates are kitchen sheet pans lined with disposable paper. Menus are sheets screwed to wall paneling. Other serving dishes are a hodgepodge of shapes and sizes.
But we weren't looking at what was under the food; we were taken with the food itself. My party of three started with an appetizer of big, soft pretzels served with jalapeno beer cheese. The pretzels were hot and doughy, the beer cheese rich with chunks of fresh diced jalapeño pepper.
Ms. TJ opted for a green salad and another appetizer for her main course, Mediterranean Hummus. The big, deep bowl served a generous portion of housemade hummus, accompanied by Kalamata olives, celery stalks and cucumber cubes. Restaurant hummus is usually served with about half as many pita points as needed. That was not the case at Dub's, where both the hummus and the toasted pita bread were generous enough to take some home.
I chose the Falcon sandwich, a beautiful brioche bun stacked high with roasted chicken topped with peppered bacon, roasted tomatoes, honey mustard and herbed mayo. A lot of great flavors came out this humble sounding sandwich: The roasted tomatoes added a pleasing variation from the usual slice of hot house tomato found on most sandwiches around the city. House made chips are the staple side dish for sandwiches.
Dub's bar was hopping with diners and the accompanying game room was seeing some action, especially at its vintage shuffleboard machine, and the upstairs event room was full —all good signs that the west River Street location may be the right thing, at the right time.
225 W. River St., liveoakstore.com/dubspub
Betty Bombers, the diner inside the American Legion on Bull Street, is now open for service 11 a.m. through late night Tuesday–Saturday. Diners find plenty of great causal food on Betty Bomber's menu but I gotta say, the Philly Cheesesteak sandwich is my favorite. 1108 Bull St.
Vegheads, the Asheville–based vegetarian restaurant, has opened at 35 Whitaker St. The vegan/vegetarian eatery opens at 10 a.m. daily and closes at 10 p.m. Monday–Thursday; midnight on Friday–Saturday and 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Beer under the stars
The construction barricades are down and it looks like the remarkable transformation from vacant lot to beer garden at Moon River Brewing Company. This is stunning space adds an entirely new dimension to the historic (and haunted) building that houses Savannah's only brewpub. The corner at Whitaker and Bay streets has been a boarded up eyesore since I came to Savannah in 1998 and it's great to see a new, dynamic venture claim the space.