When you get a hankering for good barbecue while visiting Savannah, Georgia, let your nose guide you to a vintage Streamliner in the city’s Victorian District. The winged pig on a tall neon sign will let you know you’ve arrived at Sandfly BBQ.
Let’s start with the location. You’re likely to see a lot of college-age students hanging around. It’s across the street from an elegant 1892 Queen Anne Revival style building known as Eckburg Hall. While it started out as an elementary school, today it’s used by the Savannah College of Art and Design – or SCAD, as everyone refers to it here.
The college originally purchased the 1938 Streamliner in Massachussetts and brought it to Savannah in 1990. For years, it served primarily students and faculty wanting a quick meal between classes.
After sitting empty for a while, it was purchased by Sandfly’s Keith Latture, who had been operating a successful location outside the city’s historic district since 2007.
Latture cut his culinary teeth in Memphis, one of a handful of American cities synonymous with barbecue. He likes to describe Sandfly’s take “Savannah-style,” noting that it fits right in with the eclectic tastes of the Lowcountry.
Eating inside this cozy space is a real treat. The vibe of the restaurant is laid-back and unpretentious. Sit on a stool at the counter or grab one of the original mahogany booths where you can people-watch out the large windows. It seems students are always running to class (probably late) with a project in-hand.
The Sandfly’s menu gets the job done! Try the “World Famous” Brunswick Stew in a cup or in a bowl, a Sandfly sandwich (pulled pork, beef brisket, pulled chicken, smoked sausage) or, if you haven’t had a decent meal in days, the Hog Wild Platter, which includes pulled pork, beef brisket, pulled chicken, smoked sausage, 2 ribs, 2 sides and Texas Toast.
Sides include: baked beans, coleslaw, collard greens, mac & cheese, hand-cut french fries and potato salad. Wash it all down with an iced tea or bottled Mexican soda.
But the real fun happens when applying Sandfly’s special sauces. The flavors are out-of-this-world good. According to the restaurant’s website, the sauces are a reflection of their regional travels. There’s a Memphis-style sweet sauce, a zesty, mustard-based Savannah sauce, and a spicy, vinegar-based Western North Carolina sauce. The sauces only enchance the flavor of the meats, which are traditionally seasoned and smoked over a combination of pecan and hickory.
There’s never a rush on the bill. But when the server brings it, the ticket will probably be in a vintage tin cup of some sort. Neat touch!
Most menu items range in price from $6.50 to $13 for some of the plates. If the Hog Wild Platter is calling your name, you’ll pay $23. Not bad for all the food you get.
The downtown location of the Sandfly is at 1220 Barnard Street. Hours are Monday-Saturday 11am until they run out.