Catch 22:Celebrating 15 Years of Making Friends and Fabulous Food
Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: Photography by Adam Brester, John Brackett
They say that when you find your sweet spot—are in the zone doing something you love—and the passage of time is imperceptible, you have found your happy place. The implication of finding this place professionally translates to honing in on your true calling. The significance of finding it personally leads to a lifetime of passing your days contentedly. The winning hand, however, is when the professional and personal sweet spots seamlessly meld into the passing of one day after another without notice, until someone reminds you of an approaching milestone amiably making its way toward you.
The artistic dining area // Char-roasted short ribs
Penny and Gary Duren, and Bryan and Daisy Bobinchuck have spotted such a milestone in the near future of their seemingly effortless partnership at their Hilton Head Island restaurant Catch 22. On February 9, 2016, they will be celebrating 15 years of welcoming guests to their unpretentious, delicious, happy place. This team of four has found their individual sweet spots within the bounds of their joint venture, and for the most part, have remained contentedly doing what they each do best as time quietly traipses toward this special anniversary. Gary and Daisy primarily run the front of the restaurant, Chef Bryan is working his magic in the kitchen, and Penny takes care of the bar and beverages, along with doing the books and managing the marketing.
Celebration crab leg special
“We genuinely care and we genuinely enjoy the people. When we started out 15 years ago, I never expected things to not work, but I didn’t think it would turn out quite this good,” Daisy said. She thoroughly enjoys being out in front in the restaurant. “It works because we work together. I don’t ask somebody to do something I wouldn’t do. We respect each other. We treat each other like we want to be treated. We feel like we are our own little family. It’s like we’re having friends over every night, we know so many of the customers so well.”
In celebration of their anniversary and as a thank you to their customers, during the month of February, Catch 22 is offering a pound-and-a-quarter of crab legs, with a soup or salad and sides for $22.95. And, as a bonus, they are also making it available for the buy-one-get-one dinner special throughout the month.
“It’s especially great for our customers who come in once or twice a week, year round. It gives us a chance to thank them not only for coming in, but for sending people here. We get so many referrals from our regulars,” Penny said. “When I say regulars, I really include people who have second homes here too, because they regularly come in, even if they’re not fulltime residents. They’re so loyal to us.”
The menu at Catch 22 is guided by the seasons, and Bryan takes the best of those seasons and executes dishes that delight, and comfort, and add to the restaurant’s already loyal following. “Wreck grouper, light, white, flaky, sweet, and mild, is a great local fish that is caught right off the coast of Charleston, and is a great example of how our menu is always dictated by what they’re catching,” Bryan said. “We bake our own bread; all the sauces are made in house; all the soups are in house; everything is literally done here.”
The kitchen is certainly Bryan’s sweet spot, both professionally and personally. “I love food. If I’m off, I love cooking, whether it’s at the neighbor’s house or my house. It’s the one thing that never gets old. I love cooking, I love food, and I love going grocery shopping. I love to smoke different foods when I’m at home; I like to smoke pork butt or some ribs.” Be on the look-out for the occasional surprise of a smoked item or two on Bryan’s professional agenda as well.
At Catch 22, it is the sumptuous food around which everything revolves, and it is the customers who really light-up the place and the partners. “We get to know the people really well,” Daisy said. “Just the other night, somebody got engaged here. He got up and announced to the whole restaurant what he was about to do. She was definitely surprised; she said yes.”
“The thank you that we get is from our customers continuing to come back. Without them we wouldn’t be here,” Penny said.
It’s not unusual for island visitors to make Catch 22 their first stop when they arrive. “Last night, some customers drove in from New York, and they came here first. They come every Monday at 5 o’clock and sit at that booth right there, whenever they’re in town,” Gary said.
The warm, intimate 15-seat bar is the place to be, and with reservations accepted, Catch 22 finds their regulars know just where to find their happy place. “Throughout the restaurant and the bar, people have their regular seats. When they make reservations, some even know table numbers—especially the bar booths. They’re very specific about where they want to sit when they know the restaurant so well,” Penny said. “We have a bar of people conversing with each other. They want to talk to other people. It’s a dining bar.”
In addition to the restaurant’s singular bar, Catch 22’s 100 seats are situated throughout the bar booths, and two additional dining areas where local artists’ work accent the warm décor. Curated by local artist L Robert Stanfield, each piece is offered for sale, with many special evenings culminating in a purchase.
Catch 22 is the kind of restaurant where the food reminds you of how wonderful it really can be when prepared and arranged just so. Imperceptibly, the days have passed, and the partners at Catch 22 are celebrating 15 years of culinary joy, ever so grateful for the opportunity to live in their collective sweet spot and for the customers who appreciate the effort.
Catch 22 is located at 37 New Orleans Road, Hilton Head Island. Please visit catch22hhi.com or call (843) 785-6261 for more information, current specials, special events, and to make reservations.