Lowcountry Food Scene


Kenny Ballard was born in Middletown, Ohio, and says it was the best place to grow up. His father was a theater director and his mom was a tennis coach and teacher. Ballard graduated from St. Louis University and Miami of Ohio with degrees in Accounting and Political Science but he chose a different path, taking on a job with the Four Seasons Hotel while dating his future wife Lavern.


As summer approaches, visions of black truffles, watermelon, peaches and fresh figs dancing in Chef Michael Cirafesi’s head become tangible - some of the seasonal ingredients he most enjoys working with at his restaurant OMBRA Cucina Rustica. Celebrating accolades as a top choice for fine Italian dining since opening in 2012, the restaurant continues to draw in a constant stream of repeat and new customers. The dinner menu, in the classic Italian tradition, consists of four courses: antipasti, primi, secondi, and pasticceria.

Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall,
Ninety-nine bottles of beer,
Take one down and pass it around,
Ninety-eight bottles of beer on the wall...

There are thousands of beers out there - why stick with the same beer every time? You could easily try a new one every day of the year, or however often you drink beer. It’s easy to order the same old familiar beer each time but since variety is the spice of life, venturing out to sample different types is a passion many beer lovers take pride in and pursue quite seriously. Breweries are opening up all over the country in record numbers and after water and tea, beer is the beverage most consumed globally by millions.

What wife wouldn’t be thrilled to come home to a home-cooked meal she didn’t have to prepare? No planning, no stopping by the grocery store, no worrying about the same daily question, “what are we going to have tonight?” Husbands - You Got This! You can whip up a great dinner – one even the kids will love – and give your wife the night off.

It’s summer, and not only is it bathing suit season, it’s that time of year when we’ve moved from warm soups and heavier meals to light and healthy eating. According to WebMD, enjoying a salad every day is one of the healthiest habits you can adopt. And there are so many ways to make it exciting! Different proteins. Different greens. Different textures. So many choices in veggies and fruits. The choices are truly endless! So take some tips from these next few pages and get your green on! And if time is short, run by and grab one, because all of these are available in our area right now! So no excuses. Living healthier is just a short drive away.


Nick Bergelt remembers the fun he had in Park Plaza while growing up on Hilton Head over a decade ago. Establishments like Monkey Business and Electric Piano made the spot the island’s de facto entertainment district. But over the years, the plaza faded from its popular days. Buildings went dark; tenants came and went. One thing that didn’t change, however, was Bergelt’s love of the plaza and the vision he had to return Park Plaza to it’s former glory.


It may be hard to believe now, but prevailing belief once held that you couldn’t make gourmet cuisine work in Bluffton. It was, after all, a working-class river town. If you weren’t steaming oysters or smoking a hog, you were overthinking it.

But over time, Bluffton woke up to the endless culinary possibilities beyond its traditional staples. And thus began the epicurean renaissance currently elevating Bluffton’s foodie scene.