Lowcountry Food Scene

GOOD TIMES FOR ALL SEASONS

When summer ends, the good times keep going at The Salty Dog Cafe on South Sea Pines Drive on Hilton Head Island.

For example, the restaurant is kicking off the fall season with a crab boil and live music on the deck — a lively celebration of cooler weather and a perfect fit for The Salty Dog’s laid-back, casual atmosphere. Lowcountry boils, chili and wing cook offs and live music evenings also are planned, as is a craft beer and burger festival, where guests can enjoy favorite brews from River Dog Brewing Co. and a seasonal draft.

DAUFUSKIE FESTIVAL PUTS GULLAH CULTURE FRONT AND CENTER

The flavors of Daufuskie Island will be on full display in October during a celebration of Gullah cuisine and culture. 

Vibes & Tides, to be held Oct. 18-20 and sponsored by Haig Point, will benefit the Haig Point Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on preserving the island’s green spaces, encouraging community enhancements, and promoting Daufuskie’s historical significance. 

CHEF BRANDON CARTER OF FARM NAMED AS A 2019 SOUTH CAROLINA CHEF AMBASSADOR

Chef Brandon Carter of Bluffton’s FARM has been selected as the Lowcountry representative in the prestigious 2019 South Carolina Chef Ambassador Program. Each year, chefs from across the state are nominated to serve as culinary ambassadors; five were selected this year by Gov. Henry McMaster in honor of the program’s fifth year.

“At the end of the day, I think it just boils down to a lot of hard work from a lot of people who see the value in making something that’s special for our community,” Carter said of his success — and of FARM’s. The restaurant opened in October 2016 and has earned a reputation as one of the finest dining spots in the South.

Islanders don’t have to travel far to immerse themselves in Italian culture, delectable food and wine, Old World accents, personable service and a warm ambiance with creative homey touches throughout.

Gusto Ristorante creates a memorable dining experience nightly at the Fresh Market Plaza on U.S. 278. Gusto also offers a special Sunday brunch and nightly specials that also can be enjoyed al fresco on the patio.

MidiCi Italian Kitchen has opened to fanfare in the former Hilton Head Brewing Company location in Reilley’s Plaza. The restaurant features wood-fired Neapolitan pizza made with Italian flour, calzones, salads, appetizers and desserts. The food is made with fresh, natural and mostly non-GMO ingredients in the restaurant’s open kitchen. The eatery brings friends and families together in a warm, upbeat atmosphere.

FINE DINING MEETS LOWCOUNTRY STYLE

Watermelon Gazpacho made with watermelon, yellow peppers, cucumber, and garnished with a sprig of fresh thyme.

Great chefs spend years learning their craft — but some of them get an earlier start than others.

Chef Chad Newman of Sea Grass Grille found his calling very early. He got his first taste of life in the kitchen on the farm in Michigan where he was raised, cooking with his grandmother on a wood-burning stove.

“We had an apple orchard, cherries, pears and peaches. My mother’s mother was a good cook and my father was a good cook,” he said.

Staying power in the restaurant business on Hilton Head Island requires a smorgasbord of ingredients. Tenacity and consistency probably top the list, along with great customer service, high quality food, a loyal staff, a friendly vibe, a refreshing and inviting environment, and amenities for enjoying two hours or three with friends and family on game day or any day. Add a daily happy hour with a bar menu, live music, Sunday brunch and catering… and, fresh from the smoker, you have The Smokehouse at 34 Palmetto Bay Road.

SOUTH CAROLINA IS PASSIONATE ABOUT ITS BARBECUE — FOR GOOD REASON

The Lowcountry is home to many barbecue joints, and locals and visitors often engage in heated discussion about which is the best. Most of the restaurants offer a choice of pulled pork, ribs, chicken, or brisket with sauce.

There many different ways to make pulled pork: with a smoker, in a conventional oven, on the stove or in a slow cooker. The term “pulled” refers to the meat being tender enough, after a long cooking time, to be pulled apart or shredded using a fork. Sauce is typically added to the warm meat just before serving, but some barbecue restaurants serve a choice of sauces on the table and let the diner add their own to “naked” meat.