Zunzi’s ~ Savannah, GA

You know that feeling when you first taste really really great food? You know, when you take that first bite, and your mouth is just engulfed by wave after wave of flavor? As soon as it hits your tastebuds you get this overwhelming urge to throw your fist in the air, and declare to the world, “SHIT YEAH!” Well, we’ve stumbled across a place where that’s not just a common occurrence, it’s actively encouraged. At Zunzi’s Takeout & Catering in Savannah, GA you’ll have no choice but to say “Shit yeah!”, once you try one of their signature sandwiches, their iced tea, or even just their sauces alone (because it’s all about the sauces). Zunzi’s is so confident you’ll curse with joy, they’ve made it their tagline, and even make a promise to make sure you just can’t help but say, “shit yeah!”. This place has been on my list from the very beginning, but what totally sold us were all the recommendations we got. As soon as we mentioned Savannah, nearly everyone we talked to told us that we NEEDED to go to Zunzi’s like it was a matter of life & death. Obviously, we had no choice in the matter, so we had to check it out.

As we wandered through the streets of Savannah, bright rainbow umbrellas were the first sign we found Zunzi’s. As we got closer, lively music began to fill the air, and we came up to their 48 seat patio in the back. Everything was so fun & colorful, with a lot of African inspired designs surrounding a dozen or so tables, all with those rainbow umbrellas overhead. We turned the corner, making our way to the order counter, and found a line of people patiently waiting for the best sandwich in Georgia. And considering all the good things we’ve heard, and with all these people willing to wait in line (and I’m talking like a 25ft line), Zunzi’s is a very unassuming place. They’re a takeout restaurant, so the inside is just the kitchen and the order counter, with enough standing room for about 4 people. The ordering process kinda works like Subway, you start on one side and as you order, your meal gets passed down the line until you get to the register—nicely streamlined.

Before we knew it, we were next in line. We were so entranced by all the colors we hadn’t even figured out what we wanted. The menu was just as streamlined as the ordering process, divided into three main categories: Gatsby’s (signature sandwiches), Padkos (build your own meal), and Lekker (pita with your choice of spread to dip). It was pretty obvious we were new to Zunzi’s. Most people were in & out in minutes, while we just sat there and stared at the menu. The staff picked up on this right away and offered to go through the menu explaining each little thing for us. They weren’t shy about offering us samples either; they knew they’d win us over. We got to try some of their house-made sauces, different meat options, even their South African sweet tea! And you know what I say to that? Shit yeah! The incredibly friendly staff at Zunzi’s needs to be highlighted, we even became buddies! Tracy, Noah, & Kendrick were all so incredibly enthusiastic & helpful. Their attitude just made us happy to be there.

I was completely floored by their sauces—all house-made with some of the best names, like their signature “Shit Yeah” sauce, and their right to the point, “Hot-as-shit” hot sauce. They even sell bottles of their sauces, so you can say shit yeah at home (Chris jumped on this, buying a bottle of the shit yeah sauce). And their sweet tea? Nothing else in the south compares to Zunzi’s sweet tea, their own blend of black & red rooibos tea. It was fresh, it was sweet, it was floral...it was pure nectar. it was the best thing to have on a hot & muggy afternoon in Savannah. And to make it even better, they offer FREE REFILLS! Which is great because after you try it, you’ll never want to drink anything else again.

Now that we had an idea of what to get, we dove right in. I tried “The Godfather”, one of their own masterpieces, with chicken, smoked sausage, Boerewors, provolone, lettuce, tomato, marinara, parmesan, Shit Yeah sauce, & Zunzi’s dressing. A little breakdown, what's Boerewors you ask? Well, I had no clue what it was either, but thankfully technology came to the rescue (much easier than trying to look it up in my parents old F & W Encyclopedia set like the good ‘ole days…) Boerewors is a style of sausage that originated in South Africa. Made mostly of coarsely minced beef (lamb & pork are sometimes included) with a variety of spices such as toasted coriander seed, black pepper, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. One thing for sure, it was much different than what I’m used to. It was more similar to ground beef than you’re a typical uniform textured sausage. Since The Godfather had both the Boerewors and smoked sausage, I really got to appreciate the differences between the two styles. And when you throw everything else that comes on this sandwich into the mix...you know what I’m going to say! Each bite was different than the next. A little Italian here, a little South African there, such an interesting sandwich.

Chris decided to go with his own creation, and Zunzi’s really lines it up for you. First, you choose your meal base, either bread, pita, greens, rice, quinoa, or potatoes. Next, you’ll choose your filling whether it be meats, fish, or veggies. Then finally you can sauce it up, with one of their great house-made sauces, many of which are vegan! Chris essentially got a smoked sausage sandwich on French bread, with lettuce, tomato, and a generous helping of the ‘Shit Yeah’ sauce blanketed on top. The choice of bread was ideal. The soft fluffy interior sucked up all the sauce and held it in, and the crunchy outside made sure everything held together and kept your hands dry. The perfect thing for when you’re holding a juicy sausage sandwich covered with all this sauce. And what better way to cleanse your palette than with their South African Sweet Tea! They even used bio-degradable styrofoam cups! I can’t even begin to explain how happy we were to see Zunzi’s taking steps toward helping the environment. Shit yeah!

So what's the deal with ‘Shit Yeah!’? Well, it's their way of making a promise to the consumer:

“Here at Zunzi’s, we want you to have such a great experience that you can’t help from saying ‘Shit Yeah!’ If at any point you don’t feel that way, let us know and we’ll make it right.. we promise!”

And Zunzi’s makes it hard not to say shit yeah. They offer online ordering, so you can skip the line (because there will always be a line). They even offer catering for groups anywhere from 20 to 200 people, so you can share the awesomeness with everyone. This dedication to their customers is obviously working for them. As of last year, Zunzi’s opened their second location in Atlanta, GA, with hopes of franchising in the future. Here at Zunzi’s, it’s always about having a good time while enjoying good food with good people. They appreciate their customers with a passion that we’ve never seen before.

Just when you think they’ve done everything possible to win you over, they give you a free sandwich. Wait, what? No really, the 26th of every month they celebrate Zunzifest (because Z is the 26th letter of the alphabet), their way of saying thank you for their continued growth, by giving back to their fans, staff, and the community. You can get a free Conquistador (their award-winning sandwich) with the purchase of any chips, drink, or any retail products. On top of that, 26% of those sales will be donated to United Way. And just when you thought they couldn’t get any better as a company, after they close for the day, they throw a party for their whole staff. If you’re in Savannah or Atlanta on the 26th, make sure you check out Zunzifest, you’ll be kicking yourself if you miss it.

This is one restaurant that needs to be on your must-try list. The food, the staff, the atmosphere; it all puts Zunzi’s in a category all of its own. Their dedication to giving back not just to their community, but to their customers & staff, is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Do yourself a favor, head down to Georgia and try one of their deliciously weird amalgamations. You won’t know what to call their eclectic cuisine, but you will know exactly what to say when you do.


SHIT YEAH!


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Chris Boudrow & Ally Voner

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Lee, Massachusetts

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