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St. Simons Island: Eat, Drink and Party Island-Style

St. Simons Islanders like any excuse to gather and have a good time—and this charming getaway offers up some of the finest restaurants, musicians and festivals.

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Photo: Andrew Thomas Lee

Southern Soul Barbeque

This BBQ joint has put St. Simons on the culinary map, not only earning noteworthy applause from Garden and Gun Magazine and Southern Living, but also landing spots on TLC’s “BBQ Pitmasters” and Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” Fame hasn’t changed the way owners Giffin Bufkin and Harrison Sapp have always made good food: slow, steady, and in full southern style. Their rubs are made from scratch daily, they bottle their own sauces and they cook in an outdoor pit using only wood. Pulled pork and sweet ribs coated in brown sugar and Tupelo honey rank among the favorites, but the Brunswick stew, homemade pimento cheese and smoked chicken salad can’t be overlooked. Meat and three? Yes, please.

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Photo: The Darkroom Photography


This restaurant seamlessly blends laid-back island environment with upscale food. Owner and Executive Chef Dave Snyder consistently impresses guests with creative dishes thoughtfully—and locally—sourced. Chef Snyder recognizes that Georgia is home to some of the best family-owned farms and dairies, and with an entire ocean at his front door, his food brings new meaning to fresh and farm-to-table. The wild Georgia shrimp and grits is a must-have, and there’s a good reason why the recipe for the creamy blue crab bisque has remained the same for decades: if it ain’t broke…

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Photo: user: gaillanng

Sal’s Neighborhood Pizzeria

Come to Sal’s for authentic New York-style pizza; stay for the story. The restaurant’s owner, Sal “Rocky” Cenicola, is a former professional boxer. Born and raised to an Italian family in New Jersey, Sal turned pro in 1982 and has since been inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame and holds the world record for longest comeback in boxing history. Consequently, he’s all hard work, energy and heart. Sal enjoys table-side visits with customers, many of which have been coming to the pizzeria since it first opened. Like Sal, the restaurant and menu is no-frills; it’s simply good food served in a friendly atmosphere. Pizza from the brick oven is clearly Sal’s staple, but other traditional Italian favorites like veal picatta and eggplant parmigiana are a guaranteed “K.O.”

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Photo: Palmer's Village Cafe

Palmer’s Village Café

“The place” for breakfast, this local hot-spot, inconspicuously nestled in the The Village and tucked behind unassuming wooden doors, is home to five-star Chef John “JB” Belechak and his mind-blowing culinary creations. But it’s entirely without pretension. The playful menu features everything from poached eggs over collard greens and house-made tomato jam to what’s known as The Local (aka “The Islander”), an artistically designed egg white tri-fold with avocado, cheese and bacon served with seared tomatoes and arugula topped with cucumber ribbons. Yes, ribbons. Breakfast is so popular here, it’s served all day. But Chef JB—whose resume includes Blackberry Farm and The Cloister at Sea Island—offers an entirely new dinner menu every week based on what’s in season from local and regional farmers. You know, to keep things fresh.

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