Shopping in Savannah: Whitaker Street

Peter Frank Edwards

The oldest city in Georgia is building on its reputation for great dining with new stores (and exquisite antiques) in the design district.

Tucked into an 1890 brownstone, Jerri Thomas’s Savannah Bleu (14 W. Jones St., 912-239-4540; bleucompanies.com) carries fashion and home items that skew more cool girl than Southern lady. The year-old store offers small independent labels such as Byron Lars and Thomas’s own collection of furnishings, including refurbished Chesterfield sofas and sconces festooned with local oyster shells.

Design-minded “general stores” are a thing these days, and Savannah has one of the best. Scot Hinson stocks his PW Short General Store (414 Whitaker St., 912-349-6378; pwshort.com) with all things midcentury modern—his German oyster knives are hard to resist—along with rations from Savannah’s Lebanon Plantation (must-buy: hand- pressed ginger syrup). The folks at Number Four Eleven (411 Whitaker St., 912-443-0065; numberfoureleven.com) will embroider your initials on just about anything, from Matouk bedsheets to baby bibs. Locals order up throw pillows emblazoned with family crests for their boats and private planes, and devoutly Southern Reese Witherspoon recently tapped the store to create a line of monogrammed linen cocktail napkins for her Draper James collection.

Much of the city’s polish and international reputation is due to its restoration by the Savannah College of Art and Design. The school’s Shop SCAD store (340 Bull St., 912-525-5180; shopscad.com) offers art, fashion, letterpress stationery, and home items created by students, alumni, and faculty. The furniture is the standout if you have a truck or a shipping budget to get it home. Recent SCAD fashion grads Qiqi Lai and Jing Ren have opened Thread + Onion (412B Whitaker St., 912-308-6558; threadandonion.com), with shirting, skirts, and denim—each all-American and one of a kind. And while there are no clothes to buy at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room (107 W. Jones St., 912-232-5997; mrswilkes.com), it’s a can’t-miss in the neighborhood. At this lunch-only restaurant, family run since 1943, meals are served at tables for ten, where strangers become fast friends over chicken that was sea- soned, floured, and “fried with love.” The line starts at 9 a.m.