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
Rockfish Seafood and Steak at Bomboras
Bomboras Grille has been renamed “Rockfish Seafood & Steak @ Bomboras” to coincide with the Whitehead family bringing on a new chef and a newly expanded menu. Chef Ken Wisneski started working in kitchens at restaurants in waterfront resort areas of Boston’s South Shore and Martha’s Vineyard. Later recruited to New Orleans, he worked with celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse at the critically acclaimed ‘Nola’ restaurant, fostering his love for Southern fare. Rockfish’s newly expanded dinner menu offers premium seafood – Ahi tuna, halibut, salmon, triggerfish, shrimp and scallops - and classic Southern favorites side dishes like sweet potato fries and red rice and beans.
“And for the land lovers, we have New York Strip, rack of New Zealand lamb, osso bucco, and chicken prepared several ways,” says Chef Wisneski, who has a knack for adding a global twist to brighten up the flavors. He was recently invited to be a guest chef in Augusta at the Champions Retreat Golf Club during the Masters Tournament. This experience, and a friend who is also a local chef, greatly contributed to his interest in moving to Hilton Head Island.
Serving lunch daily from 11:30 am - 4 pm, and dinner served daily 4pm-until. 5 Lagoon Road, South end,
Caretta Coffee Co.
Family-owned Caretta Coffee, named after the loggerhead sea turtle which is the state reptile, opened its doors in May of 2016. Owner Connie Inggs has always enjoyed healthful cooking and bringing people together through food. The menu offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, tapas and gluten-free selections along with a smoothie bar, daiquiri bar, coffee bar, international wines by the glass and beer from certified local breweries. The popular “smashed toast bar”, celebrating the avocado. All pastries, muffins and desserts including bread pudding and gluten-free brownies and cookies are made in house. Inggs uses local suppliers when possible including Hickory Hill Milk from Edgefield County.
On Saturdays, a local artist paints on the restaurant’s spacious outdoor terrace and exhibits works for sale. Caretta Coffee donates partial proceeds to benefit the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn’s programs.
Coligny Plaza, 101C Pope Avenue, Coligny Plaza,
FARM opened in Old Town Bluffton at 1301 May River Road in October of 2016. Partner and Executive Chef Brandon Carter bases the menu on locally sourced and homegrown veggies, thoughtfully raised meats, and “cultural traditions from around the world.” The menu changes at least weekly, depending on what’s in season, and they are able to accommodate gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan diets. Partner Ryan Williamson grows much of the restaurant’s produce on nearby Williamson Lowcountry Farms, his family farm which borders Palmetto Bluff. Many of their purveyors are local, including Rainwater Mushrooms, May River Oyster Company, Root Baking Company, River Dog Brewing Company, Bulrush Gin, and several farmers that frequent the farmers market down the street. Open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday. Sunday night is different: FARM only offers three tacos, along with creative sides! One meat, one seafood, and one veggie. Dinner reservations are recommended for tables, including the chef’s counter, bar seating, community table and patio seating.
1301 May River Road. 843-707-2041, farmbluffton.com.
Alexander’s Restaurant & Wine Bar reopens this March with the Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort family. Executive Chef Don Reinheardt, who has spent the last twenty years working in luxury hotels, resorts and clubs through the U.S. and the Caribbean, introduces a new menu using local ingredients with a strong emphasis on seafood while paying homage to Alexander’s original favorites.
Dinner is available from 5-10pm seven days a week. New restaurant features include a young adult menu and early dining from 5-5:45pm. Reservations are highly encouraged though walk-ins are welcome. Make your reservations by calling 843-785-4999 or visiting www.AlexandersRestaurant.com
The new Fishcamp on Broad Creek offers an extensive menu and has stunning views of Broad Creek. The menu consists of mainly seafood and American cuisine, including steak and lobster, and is a great set-up for oyster roasts. In addition to the restaurant, their covered outdoor pavilion has a bar and table seating. The restaurant is family-friendly and offers games including bocce and corn hole. The one-story structure, with its red tin roof, exudes Lowcountry charm and the interior décor is “fish camp chic” with a painted cement floor.
The history of the fish camp is legendary, and the venue embodies the rich Native Islander culture of Hilton Head Island. It is from the embarkation’s dock that Charlie Simmons Sr. transported passengers and produce to the Savannah City Market for nearly 30 years before the island gained a bridge in 1956.
The restaurant is operated by the Coastal Restaurants and Bars (C.R.A.B.), which also owns and operates popular local restaurants including The Crazy Crab, Carolina Crab Company, Reilley’s Grill & Bar, Reilley’s North End Pub, The Boardroom and Aunt Chilada’s Easy Street Café. Adjacent to Broad Creek Marina, 11 Simmons Road, 843-842-2267, www.fishcamphhi.com
El Nuevo Vallarta Mexican Bar & Grill
This family-owned authentic Mexican restaurant opened in January and is now open seven days a week. The décor is colorful with Mexican artwork and festive hats adorning the walls. El Nuevo Vallarta Mexican Bar & Grill serves up a seafood cocktail of shrimp and other seafood topped with cucumber, pico de gallo and the restaurant’s secret sauce which is a popular appetizer. For lunch, pork carnitas, fish tacos, quesadillas and sizzling fajitas with choices of steak, pork or chicken are more than ample portions for dinner. A tasty breakfast is served on the weekends of chilaquiles, corn tortillas served with red or green sauce stuffed with a choice of eggs and chicken, or beef Mexican cream and cheese or the Vallarta Breakfast, served with a medley of potatoes, mushrooms, bell pepper, onion, cheese eggs and grilled chorizo, a traditional Mexican sausage with a kick.
The spacious, open dining room with over 300-seat capacity, is a great venue for special occasions and large enough to accommodate large parties and there is also a private dining room. The restaurant offers live entertainment in season and on the weekends. Check the restaurant’s Facebook page for entertainment schedule.
11:00 am – 10:00 pm 7 days a week. Breakfast served on the weekends. Bar stays open until 11:00 pm
16 Kitties Landing Road. Bluffton. 843-706-9338.
Twisted European Bakery - Bluffton
Stephanie Pisano’s grandfather owned a successful bakery in South Philadelphia and Chris Veneris and his father used to work for him 45 years ago. The Veneris family returned to Crete, Greek’s largest island, and opened first one, then two bakeries. Decades later, Chris and Stephanie, through a series of luck and happy coincidences, reconnected. The couple opened Twisted European Bakery in late September 2016 in Old Town Bluffton. The bakery specializes in making pastries, specialty breads, pretzel buns, fruit breads and pies, Greek specialties and savory lunch items from scratch. Leopold’s Ice Cream, a Savannah tradition since 1929, is served up and gluten-free choices are also available.
1253 May River Road. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 am - 5 pm and on Sunday from 9 am - 1 pm.
Charlie Graingers Reopens
Owner Marcie is excited to announce the re-opening of Charlie Graingers, located at 40 Shelter Cove Lane #181, which will take place on Monday, March 6th. Charlie Graingers is a unique concept with a “Classic Americana” restaurant atmosphere specializing in hot dogs, brisket, bbq, and turkey salad. Everything is made from scratch and proteins are slow roasted on-site. They have also added beer and wine to the menu, offer outdoor seating with views of Broad Creek and easy access to a spacious park with a playground.
The Charlie Graingers’ story began in 1939 when Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Grainger opened “Peacock Alley” in Wilmington, North Carolina serving up legendary homemade food. In 2012 Founder, Louis North purchased the site of the Original Peacock Alley, demolished and rebuilt the restaurant and in 2013 started serving the same world-class hot dogs and southern cooking as the Original. www.charliegraingers.com/hiltonhead
Ruby Lee’s South End
Ruby Lee’s South opened in October on Dunnagan’s Alley, an area which is undergoing gentrification and attracting more businesses. Owner Tim Singleton opened the first Ruby Lee’s on Old Wild Horse Road in December of 2012 on the north end of Hilton Head Island. Named after Singleton’s grandmother, the original location quickly established itself as a popular music venue specializing in jazz and blues acts as well as a destination spot for authentic soul food. Ruby Lee’s South will continue the tradition of serving up his grandmother’s family recipes of oxtails stew, shrimp and okra gumbo, collard greens, and key lime pound cake and has also expanded its menu to include bone-in filets and more seafood offerings.
The newly constructed restaurant is impressive in its Lowcountry architectural design, spacious interior layout and classy brick façade. Many of the materials are reclaimed and lend a feel that the restaurant has been operating for some time and the décor is inviting and cozy. A sizeable, colorful collection of paintings by noted artist John Carroll Doyle depicting blues and jazz musicians is on display throughout the restaurant. A handsomely-crafted communal table was built by Bluffton Millworks. The lead interior designer was Pam Graves of Graves Construction Company. Popular blues and jazz artists offer live entertainment seven nights a week and a cigar bar is in the works.
Jane Bistro & Bar
Jane Bistro and Bar is the second restaurant for the owners of Wren Bistro in Beaufort. The family owned and operated restaurants are designed to be welcoming space for family and friends to gather and share great food and good times.
The food at Jane can only be described as classic with a twist! Lunch features Jane Bistro’s best selling toasted pecan cranberry chicken salad. The menu also includes a delicious bistro burger, several luncheon salads like the Mexicali shrimp salad and several oversized sandwiches like the Butcher and the Farmer. The “In-between” menu is served from 3-5 daily, featuring small plates including best sellers from lunch and hearty starters from the dinner menu. Dinner starts at 5 daily and features a menu packed with Lowcountry favorites like Crispy Flounder and Shrimp and Grits. The menu continues with traditional bistro favorites like Petit Filet medallions, Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes and Lasagna featuring inhouse-made fennel sausage. Finally, nobody leaves without being tempted by Jane’s best selling coconut cake, a family recipe for over 30 years. A new dessert addition is a bacon brittle chocolate pecan ice cream sundae made with homemade vanilla ice cream.
Jane Bistro and Bar is designed for gatherings large and small. Seating inside features crisp white wood, warm tobacco leather and oversized black light fixtures imported from Germany. The lively bar was designed and built by a local craftsman, Peter Gamble, and features a concrete bar top and beautiful carpentry finishes. The cool vibe inside carries outside as customers enjoy lunch and dinner on a charming porch surrounded by flowers and a light breeze.
Reservations are recommended for lunch and dinner; Walk-ins are welcome. Open 7 days from 11am-10pm. Lunch: 11-3, “In-between” 3-5, Dinner 5 til close. Shelter Cover Towne Centre, to the left of Belk’s Men’s Store, 28 Shelter Cove Lane, Suite 109. Call 843-686-5696 or find us online at www.janehhi.com