Thanks to the droves of visitors that come during vacation season, Hilton Head Island and nearby Bluffton have more than 300 restaurants to choose from. Here is the skinny on recently opened establishments.
New Restaurants on Hilton Head
Darren Clarke’s Tavern: The Lowcountry’s Emerald Isle
Golfer Darren Clarke won the British Open in 2011. He currently plays on the European Tour and has taken up a new vocation of restaurateur, opening Darren Clarke’s Tavern. Managing Partner Michael Doyle explains the restaurant concept came about over espresso martinis in New York City. Doyle is a seasoned veteran in the restaurant industry and now oversees the sprawling 200-seat tavern which serves dinner seven days a week.
Their authentic tavern-based menu includes Steak & Guinness Pie and Captain Clarke’s Fish & Chips, along with classics like French onion soup, steak tartare, and shrimp cocktail. “We created two restaurants in one: the steakhouse being the influence of Smith and Wollensky.” says Doyle. “The response has been very positive. It’s great everybody from the different neighborhoods knows each other when they walk into the dining room. The bar is the heart of a tavern.”
8 Executive Park Road, 843-341-3002 www.darrenclarkestavern.com open every day 5-10 pm, happy hour Monday-Friday 4-6 pm.
Gusto Ristorante To Open At Fresh Market Plaza
Gusto Ristorante is a new Northern Italian restaurant recently opened at the Fresh Market Plaza on Hilton Head Island. The executive chef and owner, Giancarlo Balestra, and his wife Nancy bring the vibrant flavors of his native hometown of Rome, Italy to Hilton Head. The couple who met and fell in love in Rome 28 years ago discovered their shared passion for food and adventure and have since owned and operated restaurants in Aspen, Colorado, Winter Park, Florida and Saratoga Springs, New York.
They fell in love with Hilton Head while visiting the island serendipitously at the moment the former 843 restaurant location became available. They also happened to be staying at the Marriott Resort in room #843! They decided to jump into this new exciting culinary adventure, hence the name Gusto, which means flavor and taste in Italian but also means a zest and enthusiasm for a delicious taste of life.
The restaurant has a full bar, extensive wine list and will offer al fresco dining on their garden patio. The Italian born chef’s menu stays true to his roots with classic Roman dishes but includes other regional favorites as well.
Open Sun, Tues, Wed, Thurs, 4:00 PM - 9:00 PM; Fri and Sat 4:00 PM - 9:30; CLOSED MONDAY. 890 William Hilton Parkway (Fresh Market Plaza) 843-802-2424 www.gustohiltonhead.com