Putting Down Roots

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Erica Davis Lowcountry Catering

Photography by Katie McGee

 SAVANNAH NATIVES ERICA and Dwight Davis have a built-in taste for the Lowcountry. Since 2002, the pair have explored both local cuisine and the Lowcountry itself — from Charleston to St. Simons Island — with their catering business, Erica Davis Lowcountry Catering.

Recently, the two have grown roots in Thunderbolt, renovating an old gas station and transforming it into Erica Davis Lowcountry headquarters at 3209 E. Victory Drive. And here’s the most deli­cious detail: there’s no need to wait for a special event. Guests can enjoy Lowcountry delights like seafood boils, pulled pork and fried shrimp at the on-site restaurant, open Wednesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

ON EXPANDING THE BUSINESS: Erica Davis Lowcountry catering started as a side project, but quickly became popular, and we decided we wanted more. Our priorities were getting bigger, and we were having to rent out larger facilities to use. When Dwight came on in 2015, he expanded the menu and made it more extensive, so we needed a bigger kitchen — that’s when we ran into the property that we operate out of now. Our catering business thrived from there and gave us the opportunity to utilize the space as a restaurant three days a week.

ON THE LOCAVORE MENU: The focus is on foods that we ate growing up here in Savannah and South Georgia with an emphasis on family recipes. The spice mixtures that we’re using are true to the cuisine here. We pretty much always have pulled pork, beef brisket and smoked chicken. Our Lowcountry boils feature local shrimp, fresh corn shucked that day and sausage that’s hand-cranked. We’ve got lots of fresh fish, shrimp and crabs. If we want to try something new, we order it a couple of weeks before we put it on the menu to give us time to experiment.

ON HIGH-QUALITY FOOD: People are so used to farm-raised fish and shrimp, and we just don’t do that. We built our business on food quality and freshness, so it’s a noticeable difference in the taste. The great thing about living in the area is the combination of seafood and fresh vegetables. If we were in Atlanta, the seafood would all be imported. The accessibility aspect really makes a difference in our cuisine. Every ingredient that we use is a fresh ingredient, from the green beans to coleslaw. If the quality of the product isn’t what we want, we’ll wait until it’s better seasonally.

ON SAVANNAH’S ENDLESS INFLUENCE: There’s a lot of family history between the two of us here in Savannah, and our food at Erica Davis Lowcountry represents the culture. The flavors that we’ve grown up with come out in our cooking. If you go back and look at the recipes and celebrations Savannahians had in the last 100 years, they always had really big barbecues with lots of fresh vegetables, oyster roasts and Lowcountry boils where they just threw whatever they had in a pot. We’re extending tradition and putting our own spin on it.