Honest Food is Chow Daddy's
Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: Photography by Anne
Menus are written every day. The simplest version, a grocery list, may be jotted on the back of an envelope while stopped at a traffic light: chicken, potatoes, veg, bread, ice cream, foretelling what will be on the plate that evening. A less pedestrian version may be the menu for a meaningful holiday or the one created by the chef catering a dinner at your home. The real mother lode of all menus is the one created for a great new restaurant. Team Beall (husband and wife Price and Karen, and Price’s brother Sandy), owners of Chow Daddy’s on Hilton Head Island, knows a little something about writing such a menu; it’s complicated, it’s time-consuming, and it’s a whole lot of fun. Owners of the iconic Truffles Café in Sea Pines Resort and Truffles Café in Bluffton, the Bealls have a new baby, and according to Price Beall, “Chow Daddy’s is a very good baby.”
“This sort of evolved out of just wanting to do something that was completely different than anything that was here,” Beall said. Having purchased the building catty-corner to the former Truffles on Pope Avenue, the Bealls were excited to embark in a new direction. “We started talking about what we wanted on our menu and how we were going to do it. We probably had 18 full menu revisions before we even opened,” he said.
Most new menus start with recipes, and then the recipes are made and tasted. “We actually developed this menu backwards,” Beall said. “We said this is what we want, so how do we make it? It was really fun. We spent hundreds of hours in the Pope Avenue kitchen.” For several of the tastings, Sandy Beall, retired founder of the Ruby Tuesday franchise, and his friend Suzanna Hill, would come from New York and provide valuable feedback. “If we all agreed that we like the way an item tasted, then we went to the next step of costing it. Then we’d take it and see if we could produce it on the backend, and develop the recipe to actually make it taste just like it tasted in the tasting. There was a lot of kitchen time.”
The resulting Chow Daddy’s menu is inventive, savory, spicy, comforting, and simply delish. A decorating dichotomy of cozy and rustic, the restaurant is inviting and most definitely a unique constellation of ingredients, with warm barn wood and worn metal surfaces, lobster baskets, and burlap draperies made from worn coffee sacks by Karen Beall in the family garage.
“We really love the process of doing this. We love laying out kitchens. We love laying out dining rooms. He [Sandy] loves developing the vision. Karen can see in her head how things are going to come together; the colors, the textures,” Price Beall said. “And our contractor Joe Nix’s team really did a great job. They worked really hard. It only took about three months.”
According to Beall, the priorities were to get the place right and get the food right. Chow Daddy’s is spot-on. The kitchen, and the menu itself, are anchored by two Big Green Egg Kamado-style cookers, in which meats are smoked throughout the day and evening. “We knew we wanted the Big Green Egg to be an integral part of Chow Daddy’s. I got a Green Egg for Christmas last year, and we just started smoking everything,” Beall said. One of the menu’s most-loved dishes resulted from all that smoking. “I had all this smoked chicken, so I took it to Truffles and made a Sriracha-buttermilk-flour mixture, coated the chicken and fried it up.” Let’s just say, do not miss the House Smoked Fried Chicken Platter.
Chow Daddy’s is spot-on. The menu is inventive, savory, spicy, comforting, and simply delicious.
Sourcing South Carolina products and organics whenever possible, the Chow Daddy’s menu also features their buns, bowls, and tacos, with snacks, salads, and sides taking the plating potential to delicious places. “We wanted to make sure we didn’t use any preservatives or MSG,” Karen Beall said. “We have so many healthy items, but still so many not-so-healthy too. Everybody gets the best of both worlds.”
Chow Daddy’s’ buns feature the meats smoked on the Big Green Eggs, including their Southern pulled pork on homemade jalapeno cheddar cornbread with arugula, B&B pickles, apple slaw, and BBQ sauce… yum! There are imaginative fish tacos and a mushroom taco that has garnered a bit of a cult following. The roasted vegetable bowl with ricotta, over kale and quinoa is also a hit. Hint: try it with a fried egg on top. Finally, the rib eye burger is a worthy competitor for most amazing menu item. “We take the whole prime rib and we grind it. It’s simple and pure and good,” Price Beall said. Topped with arugula, garlic aioli, Dijon mustard, caramelized onions, and cheddar, Havarti or pimento cheese… epic.
With live weekly entertainment, the NFL Ticket, SEC and Big 10 Networks, five big screen TVs, and $2 domestic lagers and $3 well cocktails all day, every day now through Super Bowl Sunday 2015, Chow Daddy’s is ready to amuse. Beautifully complementing the food is an original drink menu (think Watermelon Mint Martinis and Mojitos). A popular choice is Price Beall’s own vanilla-infused rum in the Chowtini. “I use pure vanilla beans from the pod, and some secret stuff too,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. Winter may also inspire him to make his cherry-infused bourbon. “I use good bourbon and good rum,” he said. “And that’s why it’s so smooth.”
Getting it just right has certainly been achieved, and a big part of that is having a menu that may change whenever inspiration strikes. Making this just the place they were hoping for, Chow Daddy’s is the result of the imaginative passion the Bealls have for food and for creating a spot that surprises and invites guests to find something they might not have expected, but somehow seems comfortingly familiar.
Chow Daddy’s is open Sunday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to midnight. It is located at 14b Executive Park Road, Hilton Head Island. For more information, call (843) 842-CHOW or visit chowdaddys.com.