September 2019

7 New Restaurants to Savor in the Lowcountry

Author: Special to CH2

There’s nothing like a new restaurant in town to get the masses excited. What’s the concept? How’s the price point? Is it close to my house or convenient to work? The Lowcountry has no shortage of budding restaurateurs and career service staff, all working in concert to make your casual happy hour or special night out spectacular. Our team spent some time checking out a few new hotspots that have opened over the past year. Read on for the general flavor of each place, along with some photos of the atmosphere and what’s on the menu.

Bad Biscuit
19E Dunnagan’s Alley
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

This new venture is the third concept for longtime local Dave Peck, owner of Lowcountry Backyard and culinary partner of Pool Bar Jim’s. Bad Biscuit is tucked behind Ruby Lee’s South on Dunnagan’s Alley and boasts “rebellious” biscuits and “brutal” grit bowls, served daily from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

While this is not the place to come for a salad, they do offer one for those skinny b’s in your crew. For the non-salad eaters, the Southern Chick (one of our many faves after sampling way too much of the menu) consists of pimento cheese grits, boneless fried chicken and grilled jalapeños drizzled with local honey. Other standouts include the Hot Shot Chicken (boneless fried chicken and pimento cheese on a biscuit with spicy local honey), the Bad Benny (open-face biscuit, eggs and country ham, topped with hollandaise), and the Cinnamon, Caramel Rum Dessert Biscuit.

Mariah, a familiar face from Lowcountry Backyard, was behind the counter on the day we visited and asked us to name our favorite show. (Be careful how you answer because that’s what they call out when your food is ready.) The restaurant is small, with about five tables and counter seating inside with a few al fresco options as well—so get there early because this place is hopping.

The décor is decidedly eclectic; there’s a vintage jukebox to your right as you walk in, and you can sit at a 60-in-one retro arcade table that Peck built himself. A skeleton chef hangs from the ceiling, and the walls are adorned with artwork by Peck’s daughter Ansley, Leonard Jones, and the late Sam “the dot man” McMillan. If you want to be the office superhero, swing by and pick up a dozen or so of these bad biscuits on your way to work; they travel well and definitely increase productivity. ;-)

Bluffton Brauhaus
68 Bluffton Rd.
Bluffton, SC 29910

This cozy gem combines classic German food with the charm and lighthearted vibe known in Germany as gemütlichkeit, or what we refer to in these parts as the “Bluffton State of Mind.”

German cuisine isn’t easy to come by in the Lowcountry, but who better to bring it to Bluffton than beloved German-born chef Alfred Kettering (chef/owner at Alfred’s on Hilton Head Island)? Kettering, who first brought a taste of Europe to the Lowcountry in the early 1970s, recruited his brother Volker to help run the new Bluffton eatery, where they are working together to serve up the authentic homestyle dishes they were raised on in Germany along with a side of genuine Southern hospitality. (Don’t worry if you don’t know a wiener schnitzel from a käsespätzle. The menu is easy to read, and your server is happy to make suggestions.)

We started our evening on the screened porch with a cold mug of German beer and a chilled glass of chardonnay, followed by a colorful beet salad. Moving on to our entrées, we shared two of the three styles of bratwurst offered (served with glorious cloud-like mashed potatoes and a generous side of sauerkraut), and the jägerschnitzel (tender pork cutlets served over homemade spätzle with creamy mushroom sauce and a side of sweet red cabbage). Additional menu temptations include crispy potato pancakes, tender pork, veal, duck, fresh daily seafood specials, salads, small plates and sides—but we only had so much room, and we were saving for dessert.

Portions are generous and the price is right (entrées start at under $20). Nobody’s going home hungry, but whatever you do, indulge in the warm apple strudel à la mode—without question, one of the tastiest treats in town.

Bluffton Brauhaus is the perfect place to pop in for a cocktail or beer after work, have a quick bite, or meet up with friends to share a delicious meal and some lively conversation. Relax and watch sports at the bar or on the porch or get away from it all in the main dining room. The restaurant is open Monday-Saturday, from 4 p.m. “until the last customer walks out the door.”
It’s German, ya’ll!

Nunzio Restaurant + Bar
18 New Orleans Road
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

The transformation of 18 New Orleans Road into Nunzio Restaurant + Bar is so striking you’ll hardly remember what was there before. This newly opened Italian restaurant is gorgeous, decorated in cool coastal blues and grays with plenty of natural light streaming in from the windows. The exceptionally tall ceiling with exposed beams only adds to the openness, and for a main dining area so large, it is surprisingly cozy.

Our evening started with a warm greeting from the owner, Maribel Patruno, and we were taken immediately to our requested table in the sunroom—an enclosed, open-air seating area with pretty foliage and spacious tables, each with its own umbrella to protect from the elements should there be any. This is a great place to request if the weather is nice and you prefer to dine alfresco.

One of the many things Nunzio does right is table spacing. You don’t feel like your neighbors are listening in on your conversation, which is always nice in a small town. Adjacent to the sunroom and main dining area is the bar and lounge, which is, again, spacious yet comfortable—a perfect place to gather for appetizers and vino.

Nunzio’s menu includes everything you want and expect from an Italian restaurant, from spaghetti with meatballs and Veal Parmigiana to Prosciutto di Parma and cannoli. The service is warm and professional, and the courses come out as they should—with just enough time in between to enjoy your beverages and conversation. The wine list is extensive and offers ample Italian and American selections, at every price point, for the wine connoisseur or the budget conscious. Nunzio Restaurant + Bar is definitely a special occasion destination, but it’s also a great place to grab some pasta at the bar on the way home from the office.

Pizza Co.
1201 Main Street
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

What started as a conversation between two dads in a car headed to Kennedy Space Center for their kids’ field trip has quickly (in 10 months) turned into a pizza shop on Main Street with a second location in Bluffton on the way in 2020. Marshall Sampson (of Santa Fe Café fame) and Billy Watterson (Burnt Church Distillery) have teamed up to give hungry patrons the magic combination of dough, sauce and speed. After perfecting the sauce and dough recipes, Watterson and Sampson turned their attention to an oven that could deliver a perfectly cooked pizza in under two minutes—110 seconds, to be exact. “We like to think of ourselves as the Chipotle of pizza,” Watterson said, laughing.

“Nobody believes it until they see it,” Sampson added. “Usually, by the time the customer pays, the pizza is boxed up and waiting for them.”

Pizza Co. has an open kitchen featuring that special oven, where you can, indeed, watch your cheese bubble to golden perfection while you wait. A few tables in two separate dining areas and a soft drink machine round out the simple, mostly black and white décor. All pizzas are personal size and are $9.95 no matter how many toppings you choose. For the health conscious, Pizza Co. offers a variety of chopped salads and/or the option of cauliflower crust (for an additional charge) on your pie. This neighborhood pizza joint is close to the Hilton Head Island schools and is offering their academic neighbors 10 percent off—a deal for both students and faculty.

Hook & Reel
1011 Fording Island Rd.
Bluffton, SC 29910

Hook and Reel Cajun Seafood and Bar has arrived in Bluffton, and we couldn’t be happier! If you’re in the mood for mouth-watering crawfish, king crab, lobster, mussels, shrimp and local-caught blue crab, served and seasoned with Louisiana flair, Hook & Reel has you covered. Pick your dish, select a sauce and choose your spice level; then settle back and savor the flavors of the bayou.

At Hook & Reel, their pledge is to use only the finest and freshest seafood, coupled with fresh garlic, lemon pepper, herbs, spices and chili powder. Your entrée will be served in a metal dish with their signature steam bag to seal in all that delicious goodness and keep everything hot and juicy from first bite to the last.

Hook & Reel is owned, staffed, and loved by locals. They feature a wide selection of appetizers, seafood baskets and combos, all at reasonable prices and in portions guaranteed to satisfy. Watch your favorite sports teams on one of five screens mounted behind their fully stocked bar, which features locally brewed beers and locally distilled spirits. And enjoy live local music on Fridays from 7-10 p.m.

Hook & Reel offers indoor or outdoor dining and a kids’ menu as well. The full menu is also available at the bar, where you can enjoy happy hour specials from 4-7 p.m. The atmosphere at Hook & Reel is casual and relaxed; the staff is friendly, courteous and knowledgeable. It’s the perfect place to cool off, recharge and satisfy your appetite!

The restaurant is open Sunday-Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri & Sat from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Follow Hook & Reel on Facebook for food specials, special events and musical guests. DoorDash and online ordering are also available.

The Other Sister’s Wine Bar
Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina
13 Harbourside Lane, Unit B
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

Next time you think about enjoying a glass of wine paired with a hummus trio or a charcuterie plate, swing on over to Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina and spend a minute at The Other Sister’s Wine Bar. The menu ranges from lite bites to enjoy with wine to paninis, salads and heavier fare for the ravenous. Owners Mia and Kevin are two of the friendliest people you are likely to come upon—the kind of couple you instantly feel like you’ve known forever. The restaurant overlooks the marina and is situated behind the pavilion where you can find Shannon Tanner singing most nights in the summer months. As the weather cools down, this will be a lovely place to sit back, relax, and enjoy happy hour and more as the sun sets over the marina.

Lucky Rooster Market Street
1 North Forest Beach Dr., Suite 101
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

Lucky Rooster Market Street is the second adventure in the restaurant industry for Chef Clayton Rollison, who owns Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar in South Island Square. Rollison has been serving some of Hilton Head Island’s best food for over six years and was recently featured on Guy’s Grocery Games.
In his new restaurant, Rollison and Chef Micah Cook serve up nostalgic Americana food with global influences in a casual beach-oriented setting. The lemon herb chicken was one of our favorites of the entrées we tried, followed closely by the Gyro and the Cyprus Salad with chicken. But the Party Fries were the undisputed highlight. “Everybody is a beach body” seems to be a new saying for popular bathing suit campaigns, and these fries topped with beer cheese sauce, bacon, chipotle cream and scallions were whispering that to us as we savored every bite.

We also tried the Pork Belly Buns, which were everything we imagined and more: melt-in-your-mouth pork topped with jicama, cucumber and sweet + spicy sauce, sandwiched between an Asian style bao bun. Rounding out our order was the Feel Good Bowl, with quinoa, cauliflower rice, tomatoes, cucumber, celery, sunflower seeds and raisin caper chutney (gluten-free/vegan—proving that they really do have something on the menu for everyone).

Old-fashioned light fixtures and signs paired with dark wood features give this restaurant the perfect ambiance. Large tables inside can seat your whole family, or you can bring your furry friends along and enjoy their pet-friendly patio. The restaurant is open seven days a week from 11 a.m.-10 p.m., no reservations.

Their true Southern hospitality and walk-up counter allows for amazing but fast service, so you can make the office lunch run without stress. Stop in for a soft serve with cereal toppings, sit down for a meal to fuel your day’s adventures, or make this your evening respite after some fun in the sun. Come as you are! 

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