Just minutes from historic Downtown Savannah, Cotton & Rye was originally built in 1953 to house a bank; since then the building has seen various transformations, but none as grand as this. Building up from the strong bones given to us, we created an atmosphere of sophisticated relaxation in the dining room, with modern white brick and sleek maple butcher block with soft accents of cotton throughout. Our outdoor dining space features a covered deck designed with open slats to allow a breeze to break up a warm southern summer’s evening that overlooks an ample lounge replete with sofas, lounge chairs, and tables.
Cotton & Rye was designed to be approachable, stylish, and unpretentious, to accommodate all that come to visit us. We envision a room full of folks stopping by after work, fresh from a day of fishing, or on a first date. The music ranges from eclectic to modern, but always fun—we created our favorite place to hang out, no matter the occasion.
Our team’s experience has been influenced over time spent in New England, the Deep South, the Southwest and South Florida. We wish to honor not only the culinary gems of these nooks of the US, but all that she has to offer. Our passion lies in carefully sourced ingredients and the execution of the dish, with breads, pickling and charcuterie all done on premise. Our wine and beer selections are 100% American and our spirits are American driven.
Zach began his career working at several Savannah restaurants during high school, before moving to Tampa to work with Big Time Restaurant Group. While there he developed a passion for the industry, and wanting to take his knowledge to the next level, moved to Miami to attend Johnson and Wales University, where he earned degrees in Culinary Arts and Hotel & Restaurant Management.
While in Miami, he managed to get a coveted position at James Beard winning Chef Allen Susser’s landmark restaurant, Chef Allen’s where he met Brandon Whitestone, and the two developed a lasting friendship.
Zach kept in touch with Brandon after moving on to the acclaimed Louie’s Backyard in Key West, and upon his return to Savannah in 2010, he founded a successful restaurant equipment company. Zach found that he missed the excitement that comes with working in a restaurant, and he and Brandon began discussing plans to open a place of their own.
General Manager / Beverage Director
Her first position in the industry was a cocktail waitress, but she was constantly intrigued by all that was around her and eventually learned how to bartend at, the now 30 years running, Aceitunas Beer Garden. She moved to Café Central where her interests were piqued further. Under the guise of food and wine guru, Trae Apodaca, she was exposed to not only the finest quality wines and regionally unique dishes, but fine dining at its best. She stayed with Café Central until life, a degree from the University of Texas at El Paso, and a regular took her out of the industry and she sold forklifts for a year.
She re-entered the industry via a sales position with Dos Lunas Tequila which took her to the end of the North America and back. She opened numerous territories throughout the US before landing in South Florida, where she eventually had the opportunity to work with the likes of Chef Allen Susser, Iron Chef Geoffrey Zackarian, and James Beard winning Chef Micheal Mina, and she recently spent 2 years as a manager of The Olde Pink House here in Savannah.
Her love of wine and spirits comes through in the beverage program at Cotton & Rye, and her daily dedication is to her staff, their training and the guest’s satisfaction—the fact that she gets to work with her husband every day is a blessing she never envisioned.
Chef / Partner
Brandon began his career in New Hampshire at the critically acclaimed C.R. Sparks, and after attending New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, a few brief stints in Boston and New Hampshire, he moved to Miami to work for Chef Allen Susser.
At Chef Allen’s, he became deeply involved in a Farm to Table style of cooking, and Allen became his mentor, introducing him to many new cuisines and ingredients. After several years he took over the kitchen for the James Beard Award winning chef, was nominated for Best Up & Coming Chef Miami, and met Kimberly, who would eventually become his wife.
After numerous consulting positions, and much research, he and Kimberly made their way to Savannah in 2013, where they began working to create Cotton & Rye.