Lowcountry Food Scene

jeffmartinJEFF MARTIN, general manager, Red Fish Bluffton

Question: How many years have you been at Red Fish?
Answer: Twelve years as of this past October. I've been at the Bluffton location since June.

Q: How are you liking the Bluffton location? 
A: It's great being in Bluffton, just a longer commute. Our "locals to tourists ratio" is a lot higher in Bluffton. I like that.

Q: What makes the Bluffton location different from the Hilton Head Island spot, if anything?
A: We are "the same but different." We have some of the same signature items on our dinner menu, but the menus are not identical. Our lunch and early dining menus are very different from the island location. Two things we have that the island doesn't are our bar menu with great values on food, drinks, beer and wine, and we serve brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays.

Olives are everywhere: swirling around in crystal martini glasses, pressed into luxurious extra-virgin oil used by Michelin chefs, and even on the coat of arms of the United States: recognizable on the cover of your passport and other official documents, the American eagle clutches an olive branch with 13 leaves, representing the 13 original colonies. Many people also use olive oil on their skin and hair as part of their beauty regimes — a ritual that may have started with Cleopatra. Or whip up a batch of homemade furniture polish by using the least expensive olive oil at the market, some white vinegar and a few drops of essential oil for scent, and watch as your scuff marks polish away. There are so many ways to use this impressive fruit.

Blackbeard and his crew on the Queen Anne’s Revenge’s looted cotton, indigo and sugar, but when not busy pirating, they indulged in consuming barrels of rum from Caribbean sugarcane plantations. Thanks to these unofficial “rum ambassadors,” the distilled spirit’s popularity caught on with Colonial North America, and centuries later it is now made right here at Hilton Head Distillery.


There are many celebrated chefs across the Lowcountry. One of the most acclaimed is Lee Lucier. The Hilton Head Island chef, consultant, television producer and food stylist is nationally known for his numerous appearances at prestigious food festivals and on TV shows such as “Good Morning America,” “Fox & Friends” and “Restaurant Impossible.” Locally, he’s best known for his work at the South Carolina Yacht Club and Local Pie, a trendy Neapolitan-style pizza joint.

Like the alligators, oats were here first. Well, not exactly “here” as in the Lowcountry, but they were found in China and Greece as early as 7,000 B.C. This simple understated yet powerful grain is one of the top “go-to” recommended foods for heart health and other benefits. Among oatmeal aficionados, steel-cut oats and whole oat groats are the true status oats, and those who eat them with a cult-like following will look down on your bowl of microwaved quick-cooking, pre-flavored oatmeal.

[Question] What’s your take on the food scene on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton?

[Answer] The food scene on Hilton Head Island has always been a few steps ahead of anything else in this area. It is a large part of what made the island so popular. It's nice to have a big beautiful house on the beach or a place to play golf, but unless there are great restaurants, then it’s just not the same. What is going on in Bluffton, meanwhile, is nothing short of amazing. So much good food is popping up there. It’s no surprise, really, with the number of people moving there. I'm even hearing about restaurants in Savannah expanding to Bluffton. That will tell you how they feel about the area.

Oh, the irony of chocolate. It can be used to romance a lover or to mend a broken heart, and to nurture every state of mind in between. The powerful effects of chocolate are endless. Spas offer indulgent chocolate beauty treatments in the form of hair masks, facials, massages, scrubs and baths. There’s even a romantic couples treatment where paintbrushes and warm chocolate are provided — along with, we assume, some drop cloths.