Cracker Queen: South Magazine

Grab a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, light up a cigarette, and get ready to meet Lauretta Hannon, author of The Cracker Queen: A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life. Hannon sugarcoats nothing in this collection of stories about the characters and conflicts that have defined her life, starting with her early years in Warner Robins, Georgia, and extending to her current residence in Atlanta, with a few stops in Savannah (Pinkie Masters, anyone?) along the way. Armed with a raucous sense of humor and an arsenal of specifically Southern experiences, Hannon gives us an alternative to the classic Southern Belle: the Cracker Queen. “She cusses, laughs inappropriately, and raises t-total hell when the line is crossed,” Hannon writes. But, more importantly, a queen knows “loss and hurt; these things have made her beautiful, resourceful and, above all, real.”

Read more of this article in the South Magazine.


Power of Pine: South Magazine

Armed with one of the Peach State’s most abundant resources, one Georgia-based company is stepping up with an answer to the world’s energy crisis.

Deep in the South hides a material that could revolutionize the way the United States—and the world—consumes energy. It’s renewable, plentiful and probably in most backyards. It’s the Georgia pine tree. Disbelievers need only ask Ross Harding, senior advisor at Energy Launch Partners, about the power of the pine.

“Georgia has over 24 million acres of pine trees,” Harding explains. “New Mexico has solar energy, Montana has wind energy, and here in Georgia we have the ability to turn woody biomass into cellulose-based energy.” According to Harding, the Peach State lucked out in the natural resource department—unlike other forms of energy, wood can be used to produce not only heat, but also power, electricity and liquid fuels.

Read more of article post on in South Magazine.

Detective, Demystified: South Magazine

After nearly two decades solving Savannah’s mysteries, Private Investigator Ron Palefsky reveals the truth about sleuthing―one story at a time.

Ron Palefsky sits in the dead silence of his recently purchased converter van, swiveling in the captain’s seat, waiting for any movement from within the house he is watching. Hours pass. I want a coke, he thinks. I wish I could run down the street and just get a coke.

That’s impossible—he could miss crucial information and draw attention to himself.  Maybe a cigarette will help. He lights one, watching the cabin fill with smoke. He can’t crack a window to let the cool night air in without giving himself away, so he forces himself to stub it out slowly.

As Palefsky stares out onto the softly lit streets of Ardsley Park, it starts to drizzle. Tiny droplets of water gather on the van’s windows, blurring the view into splotches of colors. In the house beyond, there is no movement. Admitting defeat, Palefsky starts the van and pulls away, leaving the quiet neighborhood behind.

Read more of article post on in South Magazine.

Driftaway Cafe: South Magazine

Kirk Blaine has an advantage over most chefs. Every evening, he walks through Driftaway Cafe’s dining room and knows what customers will order even before they open a menu. “Our customer base comes in here five to seven times a week,” Blaine says enthusiastically. “We pack the house every night—not many restaurants can say that.” But there’s another reason Blaine knows all of the hungry faces lining Driftaway’s mural-painted walls: he’s been working there since he was 16 years old. He left for a short time to attend the Culinary Institute of America in New York City, but before long he was back in Savannah—mostly because he hated the cold, but also because of his loyalty to Driftaway owners Robin and Michelle Quartlebaum. “They are amazing owners who have given me the opportunity to explore with food.”

Read more of article post on in South Magazine.

T-Rex Mex: South Magazine

If you aren’t looking for T-Rex Mex Restaurant, you just might miss it as the restaurant is tucked deep beneath the pavement of Broughton Street, off the well-worn tourist track. However, the one thing that does stand out is its glass door painted with a ferocious, lime-green Tyrannosaurus in a sombrero, and it’s just a taste of what lurks inside.

Owners Anton and Tammy Withington brought their burrito-brimming menu to life about a year and a half ago, after eight years working in a burrito restaurant in Atlanta. Their inspiration for the theme of the restaurant was twofold: first, their son, Thurston Rex (the initials behind the T-Rex moniker) and second, their friends who happen to be artists.

“When we started, this place was just four walls,” Tammy Withington says, gesturing to the warm, ragged brick walls that envelop the restaurant.

Read more of article post on in South Magazine.

Masterpiece Meals: South Magazine

Two artists at the Telfair Museum’s Jepson Center work under a particularly challenging set of circumstances: Their paintbrushes are sharp and made of metal, their paints are perishable and from the earth, and they create their artwork every day, in a tiny, hot studio for a set of buyers with a seemingly insatiable hunger for their work. Their names are John Deaderick and Michael Pritchard, and together they’re the chefs behind Café Zeum.

Last year, when the Jepson Center decided to open up their in-museum cafe to outside restaurateurs, Pritchard and Deaderick were high on their culinary wish list and approached the pair with the idea. Evidenced by a cult like following at their other restaurant, the Starland Cafe, the chefs were comfortable with the lunchtime setting, but had their doubts about how they would fit into the museum environment. “We walked into the meeting just to see what they had to say,” Deaderick says. “For about an hour and a half, they described our business and our philosophy. It was a perfect fit.”

Read more of article post on in South Magazine.

The Golden Goose: South Magazine

Express Cafe and Bakery has been a Savannah staple for decades, but longtime regulars turned owners, Beth and Michael Meeks, are shaking things up a bit. The couple recently changed the name (although not the soul food) and decided to cook up a whole new business plan.

Before Beth and Michael Meeks shared a last name, they spent many a date in the dining room of the Express Café and Bakery, a quaint breakfast/lunch/brunch restaurant tucked to the side of Broughton on Barnard. “This restaurant has been here for 24 years and was a really special place for us.” Michael says. “Everyone has a Café Express story.” The Meeks’ story however is a little different from most.

Read more of article post on in South Magazine.

Can’t Stand the Heat: South Magazine

Leave it to Roberto Leoci, the sizzlin’ Sicilian who specializes in homemade pastas, fresh fish and all other ingredients necessary to bring a traditional trattoria to Savannah.

Walk into Leoci’s Trattoria on a Saturday or Sunday night, or Monday or Tuesday or any day for that matter, and you’ll find the same scene: the dark, slickly appointed dining room humming from the duos and trios of diners, and the lamplit patio, lined with long tables stretching under massive umbrellas, smelling of bubbling cheese and crisping crust as the smoke from the pizza oven wafts overhead.

Everywhere discrete waiters circle patrons, blending into the dark-walled restaurant until they emerge from the tiny, open kitchen with a white plate heavy with dewy pasta or fragrant mussels. Watch the food disappear, and sooner or later you’ll see a man in chef’s whites circling the restaurant, shaking hands, and clapping people on the back. It’s Chef Roberto Leoci, and this restaurant is his baby.

Read more of article post on in South Magazine.