Lowcountry Food Scene


Kerry Pollock walks on stage at Comedy Magic Cabaret on Hilton Head Island like he built the place — because he did. Pollock’s passion for both comedy and magic lured him away from his original career as an engineer, one gig at a time.

Pollock is gifted at crafting jokes and illusions — and the settings where performers present them. His halfbowl, 88-seat club in the South Island Square shopping center feels like a classic jazz club; there’s not a bad seat in the house. Corporate events, private parties and celebrations of life have taken place in this homey, intimate space. In addition to setting the stage for laughter and amazement on Hilton Head, Pollock has built stages and performance spaces for others in the entertainment industry.


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.


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 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.


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.