August 2017

Jump & Phil’s Bar & Grill: Island Icon All Spiffed Up

Author: KITTY BARTELL | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

There’s something deliciously worthy of front-page news happening at Jump & Phil’s Bar & Grill on Hilton Head Island. Owners Lawrence and Lauren Powell are masterfully maintaining continuity at the iconic restaurant, while changing just the right amount, making regulars and guests plenty happy. Originally opened in 1994, the Powells purchased Jump & Phil’s in January 2016. “We’re always walking a fine line of keeping it the way the regulars remember it, but polishing it up without changing it so much that people think it’s a whole new place,” Lawrence said. “We want it feel like Jump & Phil’s, just spiffed up.”

The successful passing of the Jump & Phil’s baton to the Powells makes a lot of sense, as they know the place nearly as well as its founders. Lawrence tended bar here for over a decade, and Lauren waited tables for four years. The couple met here, married, are now raising their darling preschooler Lola, and when the time was right, knew they were as ready as they would ever be to take the reins. The creative-minded couple appreciate the history at Jump & Phil’s, and are thoughtfully realizing their vision of taking the dining experience to another culinary level, all while maintaining the neighborly vibe.

Much of that vibe has been created by the carefully thought-out changes made to the Jump & Phil’s décor. Under the watchful eye of Waldo, the stalwart guardian moose of Jump & Phil’s (be sure to ask your server or bartender how Waldo found his way here), the Powells selected a refined blue-gray palette for the walls and upholstery to compliment the worn brass finishes and warm wood throughout the restaurant, and the floors and ceiling were redone. The treasured photos honoring its history have been intentionally rearranged; one niche is all Green Bay Packers—after all, this is the local GBP headquarters; one niche is filled with signed pictures of celebrity athletes; and another shows off the authors who have spent time here. Local authors Kathryn Wall and John Maxim are regulars at Jump & Phil’s. The tables combine a soft linen tablecloth with rustic craft paper; the lighting is warm, and the effect is cohesive and inviting.

The Jump & Phil’s menu has unfolded under the direction of Lauren, who has adapted family recipes and made a commitment to sourcing as many locally made, grown, or caught ingredients as possible. “We have a lot of the same menu items—a lot of the same favorite sandwiches,” she said. “I have added healthy salads and a variety of paninis. We still have wonderful grouper and local shrimp [from Sea Eagle Market in Savannah], and I make homemade chicken and dumplings and macaroni and cheese. My grandma made chicken and dumplings; I’ve grown up on them.”

Lauren and Lawrence Powell get a bit of work in before the restaurant opens for business.

Homemade dressings have elevated the salads at Jump & Phil’s. “They’re all recipes I came up with through trial and error,” Lauren said. “The basil balsamic and house-made vinaigrette are the favorites. My personal favorite is the tomato avocado salad. We make our homemade pesto that’s drizzled over that, and combined with the vinaigrette, it’s really delicious.” Diners also have a choice of honey mustard, 1000 island, blue cheese, and ranch dressings; making it nearly impossible to go back to the bottle once you’ve tasted the homemade versions of these classics.

“There’s been a really positive response to the salads, and the people who like them come back again, and again, and again,” Lawrence said.

Fresh catch of the day served on a light bed of greens.

The paninis provide another creative outlet on the Jump & Phil’s menu. Served with a raspberry mustard, Lawrence’s favorite pressed sandwich is the ham and Swiss. The caprese panini is particularly amazing: a fried goat cheese patty with homemade pesto and grilled tomatoes, dipped in the homemade basil balsamic dressing…yes, please!

Desserts are no exception to the sweet direction the Jump & Phil’s menu has taken. “I make most of the desserts,” Lauren said. “We have homemade key lime pie, homemade cupcakes, and a homemade coconut cake that is a recipe from a server who worked here for five years. It’s probably our most popular dessert.”

Anchored by the original mirror with the Jump & Phil’s moniker, the bar is synonymous with the experience, and the Powells have made their mark here, as well. “We have a very extensive craft beer list, from Charleston to Savannah to Ridgeland to Bluffton,” Lauren said. “People love that.” Homemade lemonade is the base for some of their most delicious offerings: lemonade, vodka, and peach schnapps; lemonade, coconut rum, and blue curacao syrup… “It’s a real pretty, tropical drink, and people really like it.”

A roaring fire invites guests to “sit a spell.”
Large TV’s frame the outdoor deck, perfect for watching the Green Bay Packers!

Finding their way as restauranteurs where history and creativity guide nearly every step they take, the Powells are masterfully writing the headlines of their own story, building a community of friends, neighbors, and fellow entrepreneurs, supporting each other, all while maintaining a sense of continuity and keeping everyone deliciously happy.

Jump & Phil’s Bar & Grill offers service from their menu seven days a week, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., with the bar remaining open until the party winds down. Happy Hour is Monday through Friday, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. They are located in Reilley’s Plaza, 7D Greenwood Drive, #3, Hilton Head Island, between the Sea Pines Circle and the Sea Pines Resort gate. For more information, please call (843) 785-9070 or visit

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