October 2008

Celebrate Something Special at Aqua Grille and Lounge

Author: Linda S. Hopkins | Photographer: Courtesy Aqua Grille

How often do you plan a party or special event? Once a season? Once a year? Once in a while? Or once in a lifetime? If you are in charge of the next big wingding, chances are you’ve already considered who, what, why and when. But have you decided where and how?

Oceanside, on North Forest Beach Drive, is one of Hilton Head Island’s most versatile and dynamic venues for any occasion. Whether you are planning a wedding reception, family reunion, ladies luncheon, birthday bash, sales meeting or business conference—be it a gala affair or small soiree—Aqua Grille and Lounge has exactly what you’re looking for, starting with a fabulous facility.

“Different areas of our restaurant are very unique, and each is available for parties of different sizes,” said Chris Katon, general manager, who owns and runs the restaurant along with his brother, Mark and sister, Melissa. For your event, you can reserve one area, any combination or the whole restaurant, he explained. Choices include:

• The sophisticated upstairs lounge and bar: Feast on an ocean view and the special ambiance created by indoor water features and aquariums. Accommodates up to 75.
• The elegant downstairs dining room: Enjoy the sights and sounds of cascading waterfalls. Accommodates up to 65.
• The cozy wine cellar: Gather for an intimate evening amidst a collection of fine and rare wines. Accommodates up to 36.
• The newly remodeled banquet room: Enjoy private dining with a magnificent water wall as a backdrop and a beautifully appointed bar. (This is not just another square banquet room!) Accommodates up to 130.

In addition to its exceptional setting and unrivaled ambiance, Aqua boasts an outstanding culinary team. “We have a strong nucleus of very talented chefs. They are high-end and very creative,” said Katon.

Executive Chef, Eric Seaglund, leads the way, insisting on the freshest and best ingredients. “Our fish comes in whole off of the day boats in Charleston,” said Katon. “We buy it in the morning. We get it here in the afternoon. We cut it. All of our soups, sauces, everything is made from scratch.”

While the chefs at Aqua offer a number of special occasion menus to inspire you, they are happy to accommodate your menu requests. “We try to personalize as much as possible, which is one of the points of difference that sets us apart,” said Katon.

Rounding out the standard of excellence is a professional service staff that is unparalleled. “The strength of our restaurant is the strength of our staff,” said Katon. “Everyone knows what is expected, and they are empowered to do their jobs. We have zero turn-over.” It is this shared commitment to excellence and the collaborative effort that enables Aqua to serve a variety of needs without missing a beat, he explained. “We have the ability at any given time to be doing full-service dinner in the restaurant, a wine and food pairing dinner in the cellar, and a wedding on the beach with a reception in our banquet room. If you want to do it with a group of two, a group of 20 or a group of 200, no problem. You can have the best dining experience of your life any night.”

The difference is in the details
Even if you love entertaining, the planning process can be nerve wracking. You want everything to be perfect: the setting, the food, the atmosphere, the entertainment. By choosing Aqua Grille and Lounge, you will have the added advantage of complete event planning services. “We offer all of our planning services free of charge, as a courtesy to our guests, to make sure that we provide them with a memorable experience,” said Katon.

Melissa Katon, banquet and special events manager, works as a central point of contact for all special events and, through business partnerships, can coordinate every last detail, including floral arrangements, wedding cakes, photography, limousine service, entertainment and any other services you may desire. She will arrange menu and wine tastings, pre-event meetings with photographers—everything to set your mind at ease.

“Our whole goal on the day of the event is for people to come in and relax and know that everything is covered,” said Katon.

Recipe for the Perfect Party
Combine a fabulous view of the Atlantic Ocean, cascading indoor waterfalls, tropical fish tanks and ponds of exotic fish. Place the freshest ingredients available in the hands of the island’s best chefs, and team them up with a handful of highly efficient servers. Fold in a convenient location and complimentary valet parking. Sprinkle generously with friendliness and professionalism. Serve with confidence.
Cook up an event to remember. Call Aqua Grille (843) 341-3331 or visit aquagrilleandlounge.com.

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