The Gospel of Greentruck

Josh Yates’ (MBA ’06) farm-to-table pub is a Savannah destination

Josh Yates’ green 1965 Chevy Stepside truck is as all-American as the culinary classic that has made him the talk of the food scene in Savannah, Ga.

“We’re just doing hamburgers,” he joked.

But, man, those burgers are good. Glowing reviews in USA Today, the New York Times and the Oxford American testify to it.

Yates is chef and owner of the popular Greentruck Neighborhood Pub where his mantra is, serve great American food, make everything from scratch (even the ketchup) and use the best, locally sourced ingredients.

His choice to tap into the farm-to-table zeitgeist wasn’t just because it’s in fashion. His father was a small businessman who instilled in him the value of supporting local businesses like the “hole-in-the-wall” burger joints where the elder Yates would take his son.

“I think that’s what he valued even more than hamburgers,” Yates said, laughing. “It’s about the character and the people and the relationships that you get with that sort of thing.”

In a city known for its world-famous hospitality and cuisine, Greentruck has been named the city’s “Best Overall Restaurant” three years running by Connect Savannah. Savannah Magazine has called Greentruck’s grass-fed beef burgers the best in town the past two years.

“I think we’ve definitely introduced a lot of people to the farm-to-table concept here in Savannah, especially at our price point,” Yates said. He hatched his business plan when he was a student in the Robinson College and drew inspiration from his old pickup truck, now the restaurant’s symbol.

“One of the hardest things about opening a restaurant is figuring out what you are going to call yourself,” he said. “I had the truck, and we wanted to bring green into the name because we were doing a lot of things with local farmers, so we painted the truck green.”

Yates said he’s knocking around the idea of expanding his business, but doesn’t want to spread himself too thin.

“We’ve been talking about opening another similar concept here in Savannah,” he said. “I think it might just be a matter of how much more work I want to take on.”

Slideshow photography by Steven Thackston
Edited by William Davis and Steven Thackston
Sound by Basil Iskandrian