Lowcountry Food Scene

Shuck It, Don’t Chuck It

Oysters are a familiar sight in the Lowcountry, both on dinner plates and in area waters. But without careful conservation, that won’t always be the case. A local environmental program is hoping to replenish these important natural filters even as local diners slurp more and more of them out of their shells.

Oysters provide a habitat for species including fish, shrimp, crabs, clams, snails and worms, creating the base of the salt march food web.

CARRIE HIRSCH | PHOTOS BY ROB KAUFMAN

CELEBRATING 15 YEARS OF FAMILY, FRIENDS & TRADITIONS

The motto of this family-owned business is “there are no strangers at Stack’s, only friends we haven’t met yet.” This welcoming philosophy continues as Randy and Debbie Harvey celebrate their 15th year this spring at Stack’s Pancakes and More.Their daughter Kimberli and her husband Michael joined the team five years ago. They continue to offer a warm and friendly atmosphere and menu items with high quality ingredients. The restaurant retains a Southern influence and generous portions.

Written by CARMEN MONEYHAN

ANNUAL WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL KICKS OFF WEEK OF EVENTS

More than 4,000 people are expected to flock to the Lowcountry for the Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival, to be held March 11-17. The annual event offers a week of wine education classes, celebrity chef dinners, wine dinners and large-scale wine tastings, as well as the Sip and Stroll on March 14 and the Grand and Public Tastings on March 15-16, where more than 25 wine tents will feature more than 250 wines, cooking demonstrations, a silent auction, delicious food and live music.

CARRIE HIRSCH / PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROB KAUFMAN

“Fresh, fabulous and fantastic!” “Seek and you shall find!” So wrote online reviewers – the ultimate compliments for a restaurant, especially a new one on the hot Lowcountry culinary scene. Husband-and-wife team Munjid and Tammy Yousif opened Olive & Fig Mediterranean Kitchen in June and have quickly built up a loyal following with locals and visitors alike.

ANNE FELDMAN | PHOTOS BY ROB KAUFMAN

LOCAL COFFEE ROASTERS

There’s a new trend brewing in the Lowcountry: A rise in local coffee roasters is creating a new wave of coffee connoisseurs. From Corner Perk and The Grind in Bluffton to School Grounds Coffee on Daufuskie Island, micro-roasters are filling Lowcountry cups and fueling a new appreciation for a good cup of joe.

BARRY KAUFMAN / PHOTO BY RUTHE RITTERBECK

WHAT’S TRUE OF WHISKEY IS TRUE OF THE WHISKEY ROOM: PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE

The thing about whiskey is that it needs to be aged properly. That slow buildup not only makes the flavors more robust and pronounced — giving them time to reach proper maturity and blossom to their fullest potential — but it also builds up anticipation for when the barrel will finally be ready. There’s a reason why just a little bit of time can make the difference between a good whiskey and a great whiskey.

MOCKTAILS LET PARTYGOERS ABSTAIN WITHOUT MISSING OUT

Want to cut down on your drinking in the new year? Many people are embracing the idea of a “Dry January” or “Sober Spring,” choosing to pass on booze either for health reasons — like medications that don’t mix well with alcohol or if they’re pregnant, for example — or to see life a little clearer, without so-called beer goggles. But your designated driver should have more options during a night out than a virgin bloody mary or sparkling water — and more and more restaurants and bars are happy to oblige.

At The French Bakery on Hilton Head Island, freshly baked, house-made, mouth-watering pastries, breads and desserts fill glass cases. Cinnamon rolls, chocolate-dipped madeleines and scones disappear in a flash. December is a busy month for the family-owned bakery, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Marek Belka, his son Tomazs and daughter-in-law Ellie work especially hard at the holidays, much to the delight of their customers. Marek recently brought Chef Robert Plantadis, a French baker and founder of Bluffton’s Midnight Baker, on board to help expand The French Bakery’s offerings — including the creation of more vegetarian items.