A Savannah Landmark
Last January, Don and I stayed at a hotel adjacent to this fun landmark of Savannah.
The Olde Pink House was not always this color. In 1771, when wealthy planter, James Habersham, Jr. built the mansion, the exterior was brick.
The house became known as the Pink House, when the soft native brick began to bleed through the plaster, changing the wall color. Eventually pink painted stucco covered the brick.
As usual, we were traveling with our vintage cookbook, for dining adventure inspiration. There was only one listing for the state of Georgia in the book and it happened to be for a Tea Room, right next to our hotel.
However, we could have overlooked the page, since it was called The Georgian Tea Room, in our 1950 book. Evidently the house, became many things between the time it was a home and a tea room.
Over the Years
After checking into our hotel, we wandered over to have a peek. We walked up to the Greek portico, which was evidently added when the home became a bank in 1811. During the Civil War, it became headquarters for Union General York. The building held law offices and many other things before in became The Georgian Tea Room in 1929.
When we wandered in, it was 4 pm, but a welcoming staff invited us to look around
The hostess pointed out the steep stairway with the narrow twist. "They used to tax the number of stairs and doorways." She explained.
We headed up to see the dining rooms on the second floor.
The view of the beautiful arched window was sort of blocked by flags on the outside. Once upstairs we could see the diamond panes and window seat and the view of trees in Reynolds Square. Luckily the mansion was spared in 1796, when fire destroyed much of Savannah.
The first dining room we entered was elegant and formal. I could picture ladies having tea here in 1929 when it first opened as a tea room.
In the 1990's the Pink House was totally renovated, so the wood floors and chandeliers were spotless. Our waiter told us later that there are only 2 employees who are allowed to clean the chandeliers.
I kind of liked the purple, corner room with white fireplace warming things up. But it was awfully formal. We were not traveling with dress clothes.
We asked the hostess which was her favorite room and she said "The Office" which did indeed look the coziest. There was no fireplace, but the small room felt more comfortable with the wood beams and white painted brick walls.
We walked to the basement to see the Tavern before it opened. When the mansion became "Planter's Bank" in 1811, iron vaults were added in the basement. Today the vaults store wine. We also heard rumors that Mr. Habersham hung himself in this basement and there is much ghostly activity. Not sure about that.
Back to Enjoy
We returned at 7:30 and had our name put down for an 8:30 dinner. We got the last 2 chairs at the bar and took in the great atmosphere, lit by 2 fireplaces and numerous real candles.
Music and Candles
The tavern was pretty full by the time this fine woman started up at the grand piano. She wore a black feathered hat and white fur. She also seemed to be wearing black gloves, but I couldn't see her fingers. Maybe the tips were removed.
She was taking requests, so I figured I'd make it easy for her by asking generally, "Do you know any show tunes?" There was an awkward pause so, I quickly changed my request. "How about Frank Sinatra.. Strangers in the Night?" She seemed nearly giddy to play that one. It fit well, with the dark room and tall candle that flickered on the bar.
The hostess found us when our table was ready. But suddenly we were winding back into some newer banquet room addition. It was loud with large groups and I hated to be picky, since we had made no special request earlier.
But our waiter was gracious. Suddenly the manager appeared and happily ushered us to a wood paneled room with 4 tables and a fireplace. We couldn't have been happier.
I'm not sure how many additions and renovations have occurred over the years. Our dining room was on the second floor looking out over the terrace. Our waiter said it was added in 1992. Rats, that meant we weren't dining in Mr. Habersham's bedroom. But it was warm and cozy and it felt old.
Tom & The Book
Our waiter Tom, was pretty excited to see our cookbook with the recipe for Carolina Trifle, which sadly was not on the menu.
He shared the book with the manager who had been so nice. Tom also served us an incredible meal.
My pecan crusted chicken with blackberry bourbon glaze, sweet potatoes with pecan/vanilla butter and collards was pretty decadent. Don's hefty, 16-17 ounce braised pork shank with pineapple glaze was very sweet and juicy. His came with macaroni and collards. How fun and Southern. Sadly there was no trifle for dessert. But we didn't have room anyway.
From the Tavern experience to dinner in our cozy room, we had a great experience. Big thanks to Tom and the whole staff of friendly folk, who greeted and served us!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.