A taste of France and New Urbanism along the Savannah River
By all means, eat some grits 'n' greens down South...but don't fall into the trap of thinking that all local food is fried when traveling in the region. Check out Manuel's--one of the culinary highlights along the Savannah River in Hammond's Ferry, SC.
Originally from Lyon, chef/owner Manuel Verney-Caron has created a neighborhood gathering place that features local produce from literally just up the street at "Blue Clay Farm." This community garden is one of the centerpieces of the "New Urbanism" that has built this pedestrian-friendly neighborhood near the site of a late-18th-century water crossing. Jog along the river, stroll on sidewalks within 'conversation-distance' of front porches, kneel down among the chickens and ducks--and make sure to end up at Manuel's.
The residents of Augusta, GA have voted Manuel's as having the best bread in the city--you can chew on his loaves in restaurants around town and buy them at the Saturday morning Farmer's Market at the Riverwalk. Technically, though, Manuel's is out-of-city and out-of-state--but it's a quick jaunt to North Augusta, SC.
Go to the source, and there's much more than bread: duck confit and croque-monsieurs are served along with burgers and pulled-pork BBQ at lunch; a more substantial taste of France can be indulged at dinner in this bouchon-inspired interior.
Most visitors to Augusta come for The Master's Golf tournament; leave the chain-restaurants around the Augusta National--the drive to SC is worth it.