“Any city I go to, I immediately check out all the coffee shops and bakeries,” says Chef Rob Newton, the mastermind behind Savannah’s hot new restaurant, Fleeting, located in the Thompson Hotel on the Eastern Wharf. Newton and his team have just opened their own coffee shop and bakery just off the Thompson’s lobby, called Stevedore. Open five days a week (soon to be seven), the menu includes cheesy sandwiches, buttery croissants, loaves of benne seed studded bread, focaccia with herbs grown in the garden out back, and even fresh eggs in the grab-and-go section.
“I love curating a creative space that is open to everyone,” Newton says. “In a coffee or bake shop, the cost of entry is so much lower than at a restaurant like Fleeting.” But he takes no less care with his creations, or with his ingredient sourcing. Drawing on his cookbook, Seeking the South, Newton and the head pastry chef, Noah Whritenour, surveyed the region for the perfect additions to the menu. Below are five of his favorite Southern purveyors, along with how they play along at Stevedore.
Stevedore’s coffee menu has all the usuals: lattes, americanos, and Newton’s personal go-to, the cortado. The beans all come from PERC, a Savannah roastery that started with owner Philip Brown riding around town on his bike, selling bags of coffee he’d roasted. Now, there are PERC locations in Savannah and Atlanta, and the beans arrive fresh from places ranging from Colombia to Rwanda.
Located in Thomasville, Georgia, this farm and creamery has churned out double cream cheese, blue cheese, their own version of spreadable cream cheese, and pimento cheese from their grass fed cows since 2000. Newton favors their tomme, an award-winning French-style cheese that he tucks into Stevedore’s ham and cheese croissant.
For more than four decades, the Hammery has cured country hams in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, following the sixty-eight-year-old recipe of its now owner’s grandfather. Bob Woods smokes the hams with apple and hickory wood and ages them for ten months; Newton loves the prosciutto-style slices.
Newton and Whritenour take special care with their breads, which are naturally leavened and take a day to prepare and bake. They call in buckwheat flour and rye flour from Columbia, South Carolina-based Anson Mills. The ingredients turn up in loaves like the Low Country seeded rye and the already bestselling benne seed sourdough.
“We sell eggs just because people like fresh eggs,” Newton says. He sources from Bootleg Farm, which produces chicken and duck eggs as well as artisan goat cheese from a fifty acre spread in Springfield, Georgia.