January 2015

Chamber Restaurant Week

Author: Special to CH2

Lowcountry residents, get your knives and forks ready. Restaurants on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton are whipping up special fixed-price menus and preparing for a flood of hungry diners for the seventh annual Chamber Restaurant Week, Jan. 24-31.

For many restaurants, the food-focused week is a chance to drum up business during a traditionally slow time of year. It also gives local foodies the chance to check out a new spot or to try a restaurant that otherwise might be too pricey.

“Business is slower in winter, so we love having a chance to do something that will get people excited about coming in to see what we have to offer,” Jessica Cooley of May River Grille in Bluffton said. “We want people to come in and see what we’re serving, especially if it means we can get people in Hilton Head to come over to Bluffton and give us a try.”

The Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce modeled the weeklong event after other successful food-centric weeks in cities such as New York and Los Angeles. With more than 50 restaurants participating in the local event, diners will be able to sample a variety of fare, from burgers and tacos to fine dining.

“You can really plan your week around the event,” chamber spokeswoman Charlie Clark said. “One night, you can have a low-key, casual burger, then the next steak or seafood, and end your week with a fine-dining experience.”

This year, hungry Lowcountry residents can choose from special menus at a variety of local favorites, including Charbar Co., Jump and Phil’s Bar and Grill, The Jazz Corner, Michael Anthony’s Cucina Italiana, Santa Fe Café and The Old Town Dispensary.

Restaurant week also offers diners a chance to sample a few spots that are new to the Lowcountry. Coast, a restaurant at the new Sea Pines Beach Club that dishes up succulent seafood meals inspired by the sight and sounds of the nearby crashing waves, and Live Oak, which serves up Lowcountry-inspired dishes featuring local produce and products at the Sea Pines Resort, both recently opened their doors and will be participating in Chamber Restaurant Week.

Other new additions to the Chamber Restaurant Week lineup include Holy Tequila, which puts a gourmet spin on the traditional taco, and Whole Foods Market, which will be offering a different specialty pizza every day of the week for a special price. Have an insatiable sweet tooth? The event has you covered—dessert lovers will be happy to find special deals at Pino Gelato as well as Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt at the new Shelter Cove Town Centre.

For a list of participating restaurants, visit ChamberRestaurantWeek.com. More restaurants are added daily, and diners can use the site to check the special menus for each restaurant.

As in years past, diners can vote on the week’s best dining experience. Hugo’s Steakhouse & Seafood has taken top honors for the past two years.

While some restaurants say they’re looking forward to the boost in business, other local restaurateurs say Chamber Restaurant Week is also a chance for them to give back to loyal patrons.

“While restaurant week is a great opportunity to show off our unique dining experience to local residents and expose them to what we have to offer, it’s also a great chance to show our appreciation to our regular patrons,” said Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar owner and chef Clayton Rollison, whose Hilton Head eatery recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. “We see it as a chance to take care of our community with some great specials.”

Rollison said he thinks Chamber Restaurant Week is an opportunity for area restaurants to shine. “We’re not the typical dockside Hilton Head seafood restaurant,” he said. “This is a great chance to really stand out.”

Other restaurateurs say they’ve also noticed new faces appearing at their tables during Chamber Restaurant Week, and they hope the trend continues.

“A lot of times, we get folks coming in who are visitors or are in the area for day trips,” said Josh Cooke, owner of Corner Perk and Café and Dessert Bar in Old Town Bluffton. “We saw a lot more people come in last year, and we’re putting thought into our planning for this year’s event.”

The chamber of commerce hopes the event continues to be a success for both businesses and area residents.
“That’s what we’re all about, building business, and every year the event grows in popularity,” Clark said. “If diners are looking to splurge on a night out or expand their culinary experiences, this is certainly the week to do it.” 

If you go:
What: Chamber Restaurant Week
When: Jan. 24-31, 2015
Details: ChamberRestaurantWeek.com

Participating restaurants at press time: Alexander’s, Black Marlin Bayside Grill, Charbar Co., Chart House, Coast, Corner Perk Cafe and Dessert Bar, The Crazy Crab, ELA’S Blu Water Grille, Frankie Bones, Heyward’s Restaurant, Holy Tequila, Hugo’s Seafood & Steakhouse, The Jazz Corner, Jump and Phi’s Bar and Grill, Kingfisher Seafood & Steak House, Kurama Japanese Restaurant, La Fontana Waterfront Grill & Pizzeria, Live Oak, Lowcountry-Inspired Cuisine, Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar, May River Grill, Michael Anthony’s Cucina Italiana, Neo Farm to Table, Nick’s Steak and Seafood, Old Oyster Factory, Old Town Dispensary, OMBRA Cucina Rustica, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, Pino Gelato, Red Fish, Reilley’s Grill and Bar, Santa Fe Cafe, Sea Grass Grille, Skull Creek Boathouse, The Studio, Trattoria Divina, TJ’s Take & Bake Pizza, Truffles Cafe Belfair, Truffles Cafe Sea Pines, Whole Foods Market, WiseGuys

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