The Savannah Bar & Grille, one of the West Side’s most popular blues and concert venues for many years, is back in Westlake.
Judging by the crowd that turned out to welcome it and former owner Jim DePaul back on March 12, it was like the club returned without missing a beat.
DePaul opened The Savannah in August 1994. He turned the keys over to Bay Village resident Doug Lufkin in April 2011 so that he could devote more time to his other endeavor, four-year-old Jake’s on the Lake restaurant in Avon Lake.
Lufkin remodeled The Savannah and renamed it Rock West. However, Lufkin abruptly abandoned the club earlier this year. When it became obvious that there was once again activity inside the venue, patrons speculated about the identity of the newest owner. DePaul’s announcement that he was back on the scene and that the restaurant and bar would reopen as The Savannah struck a happy chord with many of his longtime customers.
“We’re going to feature live entertainment whenever we can, and we’re going to do what we have always done … blues and oldies and good old-fashioned rock-and-roll,” DePaul noted. “The place was remodeled in my absence, so it has a fresh look.”
DePaul said he gutted the kitchen prior to reopening, and is in the process of installing a new computer system. In the meantime, the restaurant is operating with a limited menu of Savannah favorites like homemade gumbo, the Savannah club, patty melt and signature fried Lake Erie perch. A children’s menu is also available. DePaul said the full menu will be up and running, along with the new computerized ordering system, in the next couple of weeks.
“The menu will combine some old Savannah with some Jake’s on the Lake, which offers more salads and wraps, along with some new, added items,” he said. “I’m fortunate to have some new people in the kitchen who are bringing with them some great ideas. And we’ll be back to doing chicken paprikash and all of those things that people loved about The Savannah.” Customers will also see some familiar faces among the waitstaff.
Colin Dussault’s Blues Project provided the entertainment for The Savannah’s reopening party. DePaul said the band has agreed to return on several future dates. “The Geezecats will be back on Tuesday nights. That’s definitive,” he said. He added that a number of other area bands, including Eddie & the Edsels, Frank and Dean and The Four Lads, have contacted him about appearing at the club.
The Savannah Bar & Grille, 30676 Detroit Road, is open for lunch and dinner, from 11:30 a.m. Happy hour is Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Catering is available. Phone 440-892-2266. Major credit cards are honored.