Twenty years of travel, 17+ years as a chef in four countries with three AAA Diamond awards for three different restaurants. This is just a small glimpse at what Executive Chef Jose Rodriguez brings to Five Oaks Taproom, a farm-to-table, industrial-style eatery inside Hotel Indigo, just one block away from Ellis Square.
“The cuisine here is just American Taproom, it has a great flair to it, utilizing local products,” Rodriguez said. “We are making sure we respect the classical techniques, but at the same time giving it that little oomph.”
This spring, he transferred from his position as a food and beverage director at the Hotel Indigo in Pittsburgh to be the executive chef at Hotel Indigo’s Five Oaks Taproom in Savannah, where Chris Nelson got the menu moving in the first year as the head chef.
With Rodriguez comes a knowledge brought from his travels and experience all over the world, from New York to Ireland and Panama to Pittsburgh. He’s been on an opening team for Four Seasons in Ireland, the executive chef at resorts in Panama and riveras in Mexico, where he lived for 10 years in Cancun, slowly becoming an expert on chilis.
“My background stems from a passion in the Caribbean and Dominican Republic, so I’m into the Latin flavors,” Rodriguez said. “Being able to add my travels to the Southern cuisine just gives me a great feeling that we’re going to be making good stuff here.”
Together with Sous Chef Luigi Monroi, who’s well versed in the Savannah food scene, this team at Hotel Indigo is working on a new summer menu. With a focus on incorporating local products and organic ingredients into their dishes, they are excited to debut some fresh fare full of flair each season, keeping classics while introducing exciting new entrees.
“Being able to pick Luigi’s brain and really see what our guests here in Savannah are looking for, I think that’s going to give us an edge.”
Right around the corner of Barnard and Bay streets, their bustling kitchen and bar awaits with an eclectic menu of beloved dishes with a modern take and fresh twist. In addition to having omelets, croissant sandwiches and pancakes, their breakfast menu also features a Breakfast Flatbread with a sunny side up egg, prosciutto, tomato, basil pesto, fresh mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano as well as their Asperagus, Bacon and Blue Cheese Scramble and chorizo skillet.
Perfectly grilled pitas, seamlessly seasoned seafood and flavorful burgers are found on their dinner menu, along with the Bacon Brown Sugar Lollis—thick cut bacon seasoned with cinnamon brown sugar—and Poutine, steak fries topped with cheese curds and gravy with the choice of Georgia shrimp or braised brisket. Savory Shrimp & Grits are a hit at Five Oaks Taproom in Savannah and other intriguing options include their Fried Oyster Flatbread and Peach Salad.
These fresh and flavorful offerings are made possible by their many local partners, which include Hunter Cattle Co., Southern Swiss Dairy, Savannah Coffee Roasters, Cane Water Farms and Savannah Bee Company.
Stop in and sit down, even if it’s just for one of their classic cocktails or craft Georgia beers. The restaurant may have an upscale modern look, but the atmosphere is the perfect mix: low key yet trendy. Who knows, you may just go for a drink and end up staying a bit longer.
Five Oaks Taproom is located at 201 W. Bay St. and open for breakfast from 6-10:30 a.m. on weekdays and 7-11 a.m. on weekends with dinner from 4:30-11 p.m. every day. For more information, call (912) 236-4440 or go to fiveoakstaproom.com.