Lowcountry Food Scene

The Hayes Family: (left-right) Evan, Skylar, Ali, Brinkley, Andrea, Damian, Brooke holding Easton and her husband Evan.

Damian Hayes came down to Hilton Head Island from Virginia and soon found himself bartending and managing restaurants. He then opened the first British Open Pub in 1998, on Hilton Head Island, in the Village at Wexford.

“I opened the British Open Pub as a golf-themed restaurant to pay homage to the champion golfers of the (British) Open Championship,” says Hayes. The Titleist Bar, an idea he came up with, of a golf ball bar with all the autographed pictures of the champions inlaid in the bar, has brought a lot of golfers in. “During the Heritage, the players come to the restaurant and it’s fun for the customers and staff to see them.” says Hayes.


Surrounded by the natural bounty of Lowcountry waters, it’s only natural that Daufuskie would perfect its deviled crab recipe. Following instructions passed down through generations, the residents of this small Sea Island all chipped in to produce the delicacy. Crabs were brought from the boats to waiting schoolchildren, who would pick them clean after school.

Wine pairing is both an art and a science—just ask a sommelier. It's important to seek a balance in the wine's components (fruit, acid, alcohol, sweetness, and tannin), and the food's overt and subtle qualities. A great wine pairing is about more than just flavor—texture, weight, structure, and bouquet of both wine and food also come into play. Monthly asked top tier restaurants on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton to recommend a wine to enjoy with some of their signature dishes.


Most Gullah recipes have remained unchanged over the decades, passed down from generation to generation. As a “cumya,” the Gullah word for a non-native islander, I knew very little about traditional Gullah dishes. I had tried menu mainstays like collard greens and fried chicken, but I didn’t know how to prepare them — at least, not until Louise Cohen welcomed me into her kitchen to give me a tutorial for an article I was writing. I arrived armed with ingredients like collards and smoked turkey wings, and we spent a few hours bonding over a simmering pot on the stove.


I married into the oyster business 30 years ago. My husband's grandfather moved to Hilton Head Island in the early 1900s and started one of the first oyster shucking houses in the area, and it has been a mainstay in the Toomer family for all of these years.


Aquaculture, sea-to-table, aqua-tourism, merroir: Larry Hughes loves using expressive terms for the Lowcountry Oyster Trail.

“Why can’t we have aqua-tourism? We have ecotourism,” he said. “It’s just tourism focused on our special marine ecosystem.”

When it comes to oysters, “merroir” is the maritime version of what terroir is to wine — the environmental factors that affect the grapes the wine is made of. The term is gaining acceptance among oyster lovers.

Food, like fashion, has cycles. For example, fashion houses are saying that florals and pastels will make a comeback this year, but don’t expect demure, namby-pamby patterns and colors. And that goes for food, too; we foodies have high expectations and want our food to shine on the catwalk, too. Dishes must look pretty, but they’ve also got to taste good — really good. We’ve all jumped on a food bandwagon and tried a food trend or two. Acai bowls and avocado toast are hot but, predictably, they will be replaced with something new and exciting. Luckily, it isn’t too hard to keep up with the latest food trends thanks to television shows, websites, blogs, apps, podcasts, social media, newspapers and magazines, word of mouth and restaurants. Here are a few food trends to enjoy now — and good news: Some are very easy to make at home.

When legendary restaurateur Charlie Golson fell ill, friends and family rallied to keep his beloved island restaurant running.

If there are two things that define a visit to Charlie’s L’etoile Verte (French for “Charlie’s Green Star”), they are constant change and a sense of sharing.