Shrimp Factory – owned by Cheri Harris Power
First, my Dad, Frank Harris, went to work for Herb Traub at The Harvest House, on Highway 17, in the early 1950's. During that time Mr. Traub introduced my father to my now mother, Janie, who also worked for Mr. Traub at The Our House on Victory Drive. They were married shortly thereafter.
In about 1960, our then mayor JC Lewis, opened The Dowtowner Hotel, (which is now Oglethorpe Row), which is where my father opened his very successful restaurant, still well remembered by many Savannians, The Regency Room Restaurant. He remained there until the early 1980's until the hotel closed, bought out by SCAD for dorm use.
My parents also owned the Liberty Inn, buying it, completely renovating and preserving it, residing there for many years, while running a very successful B&B. Ironically, this is the same structure that my parents had their first date, which housed a small tavern in 1950.
My parents, Frank and Janie Harris brought The Shrimp Factory in July of 1977, where I worked as general manager, and then purchased The Shrimp Factory about 1990, became an independent owner, still enjoying to this day, especially being located on River Street catering to guests from all over the world.
In 1979, my parents bought The River House which my brother Frankie Harris ran very successfully and also purchased from my parents about 1989. When Frankie passed away, unexpectedly in 1998, I purchased The River House and ran for the next few years. In early 2002, my son Eddie Ivie, after completing several degrees, including The Culinary Institute of America, at my request, came home to Savannah to take over The River House, which he took to a new, higher level of success. During all of the time at The River House, my brother Sam Harris worked not only as the Pastry Chef but also ran a successful Pecan Pie mail order company, shipping pies all over the country and was featured making the Pecan Pies on the food network many times.
In 1996, my sister Charlene & brother in law Philip Branan came home to Savannah and have been successful owners & operators of the Boar's Head since that time.
My son Eddie, who passed away in an accident in July, 2005, was the very proud owner of The Pirates House and 45 South, purchased in November of 2004. During the short time he was there, ironically, Herb Traub, the original & long-time owner of The Pirates House, became a mentor and good friend visiting Eddie every day for the short seven months he enjoyed his work at The Pirates House & 45 South. For the following two years I owned The Pirates House & 45 South, finally selling to the very capable and successful, Savannah restaurateur, Bob Turner.
With The River House being sold after Eddie's passing over, bought by good friends, Ansley Williams and Stan Strickland, my brother & Pastry Chef Sam Harris, located a terrific location to open The Harris Bakery, in the bottom floor of The Drayton Towers.
My husband, Vic Power, owner and operator of Kevin Barry's Irish Pub, will celebrate his 30th year on October 31 of this year. KB's has become world famous, voted as the top ten pubs in America by AOL, with an unusual large Listening Room for live entertainment & voted top ten in the world for military folks to visit, with the 2nd floor of KB's becoming a huge tribute (actually almost a shrine) to all who have served to keep our country safe and free (PS: He's the one who should receive an award).
Cheryl Harris Power served as Board member of SWA for many years; and President for two years. Served on CVB Board for 2 years.
Supported Savannah Music Festival since the 1st year, support Susan G. Komen raising funds at Shrimp Factory, 2nd Harvest Food Bank, Georgia Southern Eddie Ivie Scholarship Fund, American Cancer, Lymphoma Foundation
Shrimp Factory since July 1977. No other locations.
The Boar’s Head – owned by Philip and Charlene Harris Branan
We purchased the Boars Head back in July of 1998. My sister Cheri heard that Heinz & Geisla Lindeman were looking to retire and fortunately with my family's history in the restaurant business and my husbands’ culinary knowledge and experience we were able to get a loan and opened in October 1998. The Boars Head is the oldest restaurant on River Street. It opened in 1959! The year I was born. We toyed with the idea of changing the name of the restaurant before we opened. I'm really glad we kept the original name because so many service men at Hunter had their first dates, first drink, anniversaries, etc!!! Quite a good many people celebrated special occasions back in the day! A lot of people walk in the restaurant and just want to reminisce. The Boars Head was the place to have a wonderful meal and Philip and I are keeping the traditions. The pianist Emma Kelly played with groups back in the day along with Mr Rody from Rody's Music.
We were fortunate to find a restaurant on River Street. Locals and tourists love our food. River Street is a great place for locals to bring family and friends when they are visiting from out of town. Tourists love our restaurant and once they eat with us once they usually try us again for another great meal. We pride ourselves in not being the typical touristy restaurant on River Street. Everyone visits River Street and that keeps our business thriving! Plus we have a long term lease with a great landlord!
Philip and I met when I moved next door to him when I was 15. He loved eating special family meals that my dad prepared, and that is where he learned his love for food. My dad was passionate about his trade and so is Philip. He worked in the Regency Room, The Shrimp Factory, and The River House. Philip is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and was one of the opening chefs at the Ritz Carlton in Naples Florida. Sammy and Philip have also traded recipes for breads and desserts. My son helped my brother Sam open the Harris Bakery. I guess food is just in my family genes! Even our girls work in restaurants and love the energy you get from a busy satisfying day or night.
We purchased a farm about 5 years ago and Philip is really interested in organic farming and we hope to incorporate that into our restaurant. This is our first year growing fruits and vegetables and our second year in bee keeping. We are members of Georgia Organics and the Coastal Beekeepers Assoc. We also are members of the Savannah Waterfront Association, TLC, and Savannah Chamber of Commerce.
Philip is a hands-on chef owner. He makes all the desserts, breads, soups, and sauces and creates all the recipes. We are lucky that we have a wonderful staff working for us.
Brother Sammy Harris, owns Harris Bakery.
Friedman’s Fine Art
Friedman’s Fine Art has been in business since 1902. It was started by Mrs. S. K. Friedman as an art supply and picture framing gallery on Telfair Square. The business was passed down through Horace and Pearl Friedman and then to Izzy and Bernice Weitz. The current owners, Jean and Julian Weitz joined the business in 1975. They have opened three stores on River Street to serve both Savannah residents and the many who visit throughout the year.
Friedman’s has been in its current location on the corner of State and Whitaker since 1925. It has been an active partner in promoting Historic Savannah through the years. Julian Weitz has been a member of many of the organizations in the community to include the Telfair Museum, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Savannah Jewish Federation. He currently serves on the board of the Savannah Waterfront Association. The generations of the Weitz family have been Savannah boosters for many years. Friedman’s has believed in Downtown Savannah and has been a proud member of the downtown business community through good times and bad.
Johnnie Ganem’s has been proudly serving Savannah patrons and visitors for almost 70 years. Johnnie Ganem’s has been a family owned and operated business since opening their doors in 1942. They are now welcoming the third generation of family members into the business.
Johnnie Ganem’s, started by the late Johnnie Ganem Sr., began as a package shop on the corner of Price and Gaston streets. Johnnie married Louise Ganem in 1945 and together they opened the current location at 501 Habersham Street in 1949. The current location was originally a package shop, bar, lounge and soda fountain with curb service and bicycle delivery. It did not take long to become famous for their handmade burgers and deviled crab. Lunch was doing so well Johnnie and Louise expanded to the Habersham House Restaurant in the early 1950’s. As the late 50’s approached the Ganem’s purchased the adjacent building and the ground floor was utilized for the famous Steak Ranch known for hand cut steaks cooked over live charcoal. It did not take long to become famous for the “Garbage Steak” which was a 12 oz choice cut of prime tenderloin bought and aged to perfection. The choice tenderloin had to be cut and eaten in the same day, if not it was garbage, hence the “Garbage Steak.” Johnnie was also famous for his renowned creamed crabmeat soup.
The “Rebel Room” housing the local supper club was opened in 1961. It was designed up-stairs, only open on Friday and Saturday evenings. There was a three-piece band with a dance floor and private bar. Off the Rebel Room is the “Uncle Willie Room” which was designated for private parties only. Johnnie named it the Uncle Willie Room because he said, “everyone in the deep south had an uncle Willie!”
Johnnie Ganem Sr. could usually be found at the restaurant to greet all patrons with a warm and welcoming smile. He was a proud Savannahian! He was the president of the restaurant association and participated in several civic organizations.
Johnnie passed away March 17, 1972. He enjoyed all holidays but especially St. Patrick’s Day. This holiday gave him the opportunity to visit and reminisce with many old friends and family. He often referred to himself as Johnnie O’Ganem! He loved a celebration of any kind, his family still gathers the weekend closest to St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate his memory.
With the migration of many activities moving to the south side of Savannah, Johnnie Ganem’s closed the restaurant in 1982. The building was restructured to offer a larger wine selection while maintaining the finest catering service. The package shop also remained open along with a fresh deli.
Now, in 2010 Johnnie Ganem’s is proud to offer Savannah the best selection of domestic and imported wine and beer. Johnnie Ganem’s has the southeast only temperature controlled wine cellar. They still specialize in the best bar catering around. Johnnie Ganem’s also offers wine counseling to those in need of assistance with wine pairing, terms, and flavors. The Rebel Room is still available for private parties and they host wine tastings at least once a month.
Why did you all choose downtown? In the 1940's & 50s Savannah's whole business district was what is now downtown Savannah. The city started at the river and the south end was near Victory Drive.
And why have you stayed downtown all these years? (During the Good and Bad) Our restaurant was a popular full-service dining establishment through the 50s, 60s, and into the 70s. In the mid seventies, with the development of, and migration to the "south-side", downtown was in decline. We survived with package shop services and late night breakfast in the restaurant, believing that downtown Savannah would turn around once again.
How has your family and your business impacted Downtown?
Our grandparents were immigrants who came to Savannah in the early 1900s and operated a small grocery store on West Broad Street. They instilled in us, through our parents, a love of country, community, religion, family values, and honest work ethics. The Ganem's have been involved in the growth and development of downtown Savannah working with government and business leaders from the days of Johnny Bowen to John Rousakis, with the Mingeldorff's, the Demere's, and the Lewis'. Economically we have been a viable, self sustaining business for over 65 years, with growth for most of those years, and plan to continue with the third generation now being groomed.
Will you give more detail on the community organizations you have been involved with or currently participating in?
Knights of Columbus (Catholic Fraternal Service Organization)(42 yrs) : Johnny Ganem Sr. was a 4th degree knight and passed the saber to his son Paul Ganem.
Lions Clubs of GA Paul Ganem has served 24 years with the Chatham South Lions club, holding several positions in both the local and district levels, until that club disbanded. He is currently a member of the Port City Lions Club.
The Artrithis Foundation The Johnny Ganem Sr Memorial Golf Tournament was started in 1993. For seven years funds were raised to benefit the foundation's service in Savannah.
Second Harvest Food Bank for the past 15 years Paul Ganem has been an active chef for "Chef's Table", to benefit Kids Cafe. He also donates an auction item to raise funds at that event
Paul also donates his time, talent & product for the following events and organizations:
"The Starfish Cafe Gala" to benefit the Union Mission in it's effort to train young people to work in the restaurant & food service industry.
"The Artful Table" to benefit the Telfair Museum of Art "Gourmet Soiree" to benefit The American Red Cross