July 2011

San Miguel's

Author: Peter Zink

Fusion of Mexico and California offers fun atmosphere, refreshing taste

Next time you find yourself strolling along the seashell-encrusted walkway of Shelter Cove, stop and listen for the music. That light, relaxed strumming you hear from a guitar outside could very well be emanating from San Miguel’s, a California-inspired Mexican restaurant that’s been delivering fresh, authentic food to the community for over 30 years.

The restaurant was started by a chef working with Mexican fare out of Southern California. When he decided to open his own restaurant, in 1977, he opted to bring his dishes across the country to Hilton Head Island. Unlike the more common Tex Mex restaurants that dot the South, California Mexican food tends to be less spicy, but with a heavy emphasis on fresh ingredients.

Today, the restaurant is owned by Scott and Maryanne Laskowitz. Scott’s family had been in the restaurant business for years, so when they saw an opportunity to be a part of such a popular establishment, they bought the restaurant in 1991.

San Miguel’s makes it easy to relax and settle into a laid back Baja atmosphere. From the marina side, you immediately discover a full island bar that specializes in an assortment of cocktails to cool you off during the summer. Large blue cabana umbrellas and assorted plants make it easy to sit back and cast your worries aside. And when the live music kicks in (after 5:30 each day), locals and visitors alike can be found soaking up playful tunes and enjoying each other’s company.

But atmosphere is only a small piece of what makes this restaurant special. On the drink side, happy hour runs from 4-6 p.m. every day, and the Skinny Margarita, featuring El Jimador Blanco tequila is popular. While not as well known as other brands, El Jimador has a smooth taste, thanks to the fact that it comes from 100 percent agave. Because of the agave, Maryann likes to point out that tequila is the only alcoholic drink that’s an anti-depressant. “We like to think that’s a great reason for people to try our margaritas,” she said. If you’re looking for a little food to go with that drink, you can’t go wrong with a sampling of their sizzling fajitas and a side of fresh salsa.

Finally, no establishment is complete without the people who visit and work there. With easy access from the Disney Resort and a bike path from Palmetto Dunes, San Miguel’s is never short on traffic passing through. “We always have a great mixture of locals and tourists here,” said Maryanne. “Between the customers and the staff, you never go through a shift without laughing, even in the offseason.”

No matter how long you’ve been here, you’ll want to check out the festive vibe, cold drinks, and fun people at San Miguel’s.

For more information, visit sanmiguels.com or call (843) 842-4555.

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