Savannah is known for seamlessly honoring the past while updating for the future, making it the most well-preserved city in America. Every building has a story to tell. Some of these stories are told by the people who remember, and some are told by the buildings themselves.
The Vault Kitchen + Market opened in 2017 and quickly became the Hostess City’s dining locale de jour that had everyone talking. Three years and a pandemic later, they’re still talking about this chic Asian-fusion restaurant tucked into Savannah’s emerging Starland District, which is why you’ll still find more locals gathering there than tourists. Owners Sean and Ele Tran took the former Bank of America location that served the community for more than 50 years and transformed it into a sleek restaurant with a funky industrial vibe.
From the artful lockbox sculpture of a bull decorating one wall (a nod to Wall Street, one would imagine), to an intimate dining space inside an actual bank vault, The Vault’s atmosphere is a treasury created by clever deposits of whimsy. Stacks of safety deposit boxes adorn the bar and even the restrooms are paved with nickels. Despite its conservative and clerkish origins, the modernized space is open and airy with high, beam-exposed ceilings and an open-view kitchen—that is, if you get there before the crowds.
While the interior space is intimate, the outdoor dining option is an excellent option. The covered space is expansive to accommodate large groups and social distancing.
Locals are a discerning lot when it comes to dining, but they’ve long been won over by the success of The Vault’s owners who have a collective of 11 stellar restaurants throughout Savannah. With each new opening, Savannahians may fear that the culinary couple may be spreading themselves too thin, but we quickly eat our words—with a heap of steaming pork and duck dumplings, and thick slices of fresh sushi aptly named The Bank Roll.
The dishes at all of Sean and Ele’s restaurants are fresh, thoughtful and delicious. At The Vault, you can bet on the Spicy Tuna Tartare from the appetizer menu and the flavorful Miso Salmon as a main dish, and with menu prices running between $4.95 and $16.95, you won’t break the bank.