March 2018

2018 Restaurant Round-Up

Author: Special to CH2

Happiness is… watching the waiter bring your food in a restaurant.

Street Meet
Street Meet the American Tavern serves upscale, homemade bar food. Street Meet is slang for street vendor food, so you get regional American favorites with a Lowcountry twist. Located in Port Royal Plaza, on the north end of Hilton Head Island, the kitchen is always open until 1 a.m., serving our full menu.

Voted Best Hotdog, Best Sports Bar, Best Fish & Chips, Best Bartender (Go Neil!), Best Sauce (Italian Heritage Festival) and the winner of Wingfest for our famous Soul Wings, Street Meet has something for everyone. Street Meet also has the largest healthy alternatives menu featuring Power Bowls, Skinny Bowls, and lettuce wraps, and offers vegetarian, GF, vegan, and low-carb options.

In addition to the fabulous food, Street Meet is Hilton Head Island’s Ohio Bar showing all Ohio sports and holding the title of Official Brown’s Backer Bar. So come in for lunch, happy hour, early bird, dinner or late night. Catering and office lunch delivery available. Online ordering coming soon. Open since 2005, come check out this local pub! Visit us on Facebook, Instagram or on the web at

95 Mathews Dr.
Port Royal Plaza, Suite D11
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
(843) 842-2570

May River Grill
May River Grill opened in November of 2007 and has been a huge success since its beginning. Located in the heart of Old Town Bluffton, the restaurant is headed by chef-owner Charlie Sternburgh and chef de cuisine Chico Guzman, who has been a key part of the team for nine years. Most of the staff has been putting smiles on customer faces since day-one. The restaurant is known for fresh, local seafood dishes, prime steaks and veal, and is the only restaurant in the Lowcountry that serves Canadian walleye and Great Lakes perch. Everything from the soups to desserts is made from scratch.

May River Grill boasts one of the most unique menus and extensive wine lists in the Beaufort County area. They offer something for everyone to try, including nightly specials such as a house-smoked veal rib chop weighing in at a whopping 22 ounces! This quaint eatery also offers early dining from 5-5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please call for reservations at (843) 757-5775. Check them out on Facebook, Instagram or at Whether for a special occasion, or just to grab a quick dinner at the bar of their open kitchen, they look forward to seeing you soon.

1263 May River Rd, Suite D
Bluffton, SC 29910
(843) 757-5755

The French Bakery
A taste of France without leaving Hilton Head Island, The French Bakery, once hidden, has relocated to the new Shelter Cove Towne Centre. French-inspired pastries, breads, omelets, crepes, sandwiches and desserts make for a tasty experience. With an extensive breakfast and lunch menu and featured items created by the chef and his team, everything is freshly baked and scratch-made daily. The bakery also offers customized cakes, breads and various desserts.

The French Bakery has been serving locals and welcoming tourists since 1998. In its new location, guests have a beautiful view while enjoying breakfast and lunch with a different twist, adding to the memories. Dine in and experience the warm, cozy café; grab a coffee and croissant at the pastry bar for takeout; or enjoy outdoor seating overlooking Shelter Cove Community Park and Broad Creek.

The Belka family, originally from Poland, took over the French Bakery in 2012. With a passion for fine French baked goods and cuisine, they continue to offer top quality items. Come and indulge in a wonderful all-around experience.
Bon Appetite!

Shelter Cove Towne Centre
28 Shelter Cove Lane, #120
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
(843) 342-5420

Bistro 17
Opened in January 2008, Bistro 17 was the denouement of restauranteur Jim Buckingham’s vision, along with a bit of a nudge from Palmetto Dunes Resort. The Iowa native moved to the island in 1973, even before the first traffic signal was installed, and worked for Sea Pines Company as their entertainment director until 1976, when he opened his first restaurant, San Miguel’s, on Pope Avenue. Selling that eatery 15 years later, he opened Santa Fe Café in 1992, selling it 13 years later, with plans to retire.

Bistro 17’s daily specials are exceptional. “We run two or three specials every night, and I think our specials are the best on the island,” Buckingham said. “And we have the best steak on the island, so we’ve been told many times. We buy quality ribeye and serve it grilled with a garlic and butter sauce and pomme frites. You can’t have a French restaurant without [pomme frites] French fries.”

Serving lunch and dinner seven days a week, guests are invited to dine inside where the lighting, warm wood finishes, and fresh linens create a cozy atmosphere, and where a piano player provides accompaniment every evening except Sundays; or outside, where the beautiful harbor, shops, and the people provide a lovely backdrop to the atmosphere where the candle lanterns and boxwood shrubs set a decidedly bistro mood. Canine companions are welcomed on the patio at Bistro 17.

17 D Harbourside Lane
Hilton Head Island
(843) 785-5517

Skillets Cafe & Grill
Skillets Cafe & Grill is turning 25 this year! In honor of this amazing milestone, owner Amie Baima is bringing back the “original” Just Pasta menu. Longtime locals and visitors will remember Just Pasta as Baima’s first restaurant in Coligny Plaza.

Pasta aficionados will welcome back the Create Your Own Pasta dishes (including gluten-free varieties) with too many flavor combinations to count. And yes, the famous “butt bread” will also return.

Abundant “fresh from the sea” specialties also pepper the menu in a come-as-you-are family atmosphere with prices that won’t break the bank. All of your favorite fried and grilled seafood combos are offered in addition to southern specialties like BBQ Ribs, Pork Chops and Fried Chicken. For the more sophisticated palate, Skillets Cafe and Grill offers house specialties like the Baked Grouper or Ribeye with your choice of sides.  Even Fido is welcome on the expansive porch for alfresco dining; Skillets offers a Lucky Dog menu just for pampered pooches. 

Skillets Café was established in 1993 as a small, family-owned and operated breakfast bistro, catering to breakfast customers at the south end of the island. With ample tables and their prime Coligny Plaza location, Skillets Cafe and Grill is one of the best places around to lean back and enjoy a leisurely breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

1 North Forest Beach Drive, Unit J
(843) 785-3131

Santa Fe Cafe
Signature dish: Our signature dish has become a close tossup between our chipotle-parmesan encrusted grouper and our ribeye burrito, made with blackened ribeye, caramelized onions, black beans, cheddar-jack cheese, and sour cream, finished with our red ancho chili sauce.

Signature drink: Our signature drink would have to be our Cadillac Margarita. You take our delicious house margarita and put a little Grand Marnier on top, and you’ve taken deliciousness to a whole new level!

What makes our place unique: We are a Southwest restaurant that has been here for over 25 years. Southwestern cuisine is a fusion of Mexican and American cuisine and brings out the best of both, in my opinion, although I might be a little biased. We also have the only outdoor rooftop bar, which has just undergone a major renovation. We tore everything out from the floors up and came up with a floor plan that is a lot of fun! New bar, new lounge areas and TVs to watch your favorite game.

I am proud to say we have the same staff, with a few additions, as the day we took over, 10 years ago. They are family to me, and you can feel that when you walk in the door. They know the menu, and they know how to make sure you have a great experience here.

For all of you who have come to make Santa Fe a regular stop, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Come see the new cantina! For those of you who have not found us yet, give us a try. We always look forward to meeting new friends and showing you what the Southwest is all about.

807 William Hilton Parkway, #700
Plantation Shopping Center
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
(843) 785-3838

Island Bagel & Deli
Signature Dish: The Nova, (lox and cream cheese)
Signature Cocktail: Seattle’s Best coffee
What makes this place unique: Handmade fresh from scratch New York boiled bagels

Island Bagel specializes in authentic New York-style boiled bagels. We make 14 flavors of bagels every day, from scratch, and 13 handmade cream cheese flavors. You can also get breakfast sandwiches made to order with eggs, cheese and your choice of ham, bacon, or sausage. Of course, we also have smoked salmon for a traditional lox and cream cheese bagel.

For lunch, you can build your own sandwiches on bagel or deli bread with applewood smoked ham, certified angus roast beef or fresh roasted turkey breast, cooked in house and hand pulled for maximum flavor. We also offer freshly made chicken, egg, and tuna salad as well as homemade pimento cheese. Or, you can select one of our specialty sandwiches on hoagies, such as the Italian, with pastrami, salami, pepperoni, ham, lettuce, tomato, onion, black olives, Italian dressing & provolone cheese on a toasted hoagie roll.
Come in and taste the difference!

South Island Square
841 William Hilton Pkwy
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
(843) 686-3353

Catch 22
Signature dish: Our menu is split evenly between land and sea entrées. Along with our fresh catch of the day and the pasta du jour, you can enjoy local favorites such as the Crispy Roasted Half Duck, 3-Onion Encrusted Pork Chop, Cracked Pepper Tuna or Jumbo Scallop and Goat Cheese Ravioli. We also offer a Prime Rib Dinner on Thursday, Friday & Saturday and Seafood Sampler (Snow Crab Legs, Lobster Tail and Shrimp) on Sunday and Monday.

What makes this place unique: Celebrating 18 years as a favorite of locals and visitors who keep coming back, Catch 22 offers more than a fabulous dinner. Aside from serving USDA Prime Beef and whole local fish that is filleted in-house, the owners and staff are in the business to do more than just feed you. Chef Bryan, Gary, Penny, and Daisy are present to make your dining experience unforgettable from start to finish.

Catch 22 opens every evening at 5 p.m. with Early Dining and Happy Hour. Visit our website for these menus plus our regular menu, children’s menu and monthly promotions.

Reservations are encouraged and can be made by phone at (843) 785-6262 or online at or Open Table.

37 New Orleans Road
Orleans Plaza
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
(843) 785-6261

Alexander’s Restaurant & Wine Bar
New and improved doesn’t begin to describe the culinary advances at Alexander’s since last year’s change of ownership and renovation. Don’t fret if you loved the old standards, because many of the original dishes (including the traditional Wiener Schnitzel and Bacon Wrapped Shrimp) that have been drawing crowds to the popular restaurant since 1977 are available. But you owe it to yourself to experience Executive Chef Sean Carroll’s updated menu and creative spin, taking Southern classics and Lowcountry cuisine to the next level. Signature dishes include Baked Flounder Rockefeller; Grilled Black Grouper with Vadouvan curry and red onion jam; and tender, juicy Slow Roasted Prime Rib.

Owned and operated by Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, as Alexander’s evolves, it continues to be casual, relaxed and family-friendly, but with a touch more panache. The spring menu is bursting with fresh, light offerings, along with preparations and flavor profiles that are relatable with a unique twist. Along with locally-sourced seafood and homegrown produce presented with an unexpected flair, don’t miss the hottest appetizer in town: Popcorn Flash-Fried Calamari with wasabi lime drizzle.

In addition to their exciting new menu offerings, seasonal additions, and nightly specials, Alexander’s is planning six not-to-be-missed special wine dinners over the course of the year, affording Carroll and his staff the opportunity to further push the envelope towards a more upscale dining experience.

Grab reservations now for Easter Brunch, Sunday, April 1, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and enjoy a three-course plated brunch that is bound to surprise and delight. And check out the website for a peek at what’s new and tasty every night, all year round.

76 Queen’s Folly Rd.
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
(843) 785-4999

Porter & Pig
Signature Dish: With a name like Porter & Pig, it only makes sense for pork to be the star of our menu—from delectable Salumis and chorizo stuffed dates, to mile-high pressed Cubans and triple decker loaded BLT sandwiches. Our guests can be assured that all of our sauces are homemade and recipes designed by people who love food and want the food they serve to be loved too.

House Cocktails: We pride ourselves in a great selection of some of the best beers with eight different drafts rotating regularly. But our most famous beverages are our hand-designed cocktails. Using hand-squeezed juices, homemade bitters, and fresh selections of fruit, herbs and vegetables, our craft cocktail section is chock full of delightful options, with our most popular being the Cucumber Jalapeño Margarita. We muddle sliced-to-order cucumbers and jalapeños with only fresh lemon and lime juice, Blanco tequila and Grand Marnier—well shaken and served in a homemade cilantro salted rimmed glass.

What makes this place unique?
We are unique because we care so much about our guests, how they are doing, if they enjoyed their experience and the general daily aspects of their lives. How are their kids, families, work? Our size gives us the great gift of being accessible, and provides the ideal opportunity to know and care for our locals a little better every day.

It’s not an uncommon scene…walking in the green door to Village at Wexford’s intimate craft beer and cocktail bar and being greeted with cheerful hellos—not only from Aaron, Ivy, Rett, Beth or Doug—but also from a neighbor, a business associate, or an old or new friend who happens to be enjoying a drink at our neighborhood bar.

Slowly becoming Hilton Head Island’s friendliest local joint, Porter & Pig prides itself on providing excellent service, delicious food, and creative drinks. From sourcing the best artisanal cheeses and charcuteries to custom crafting cocktails and providing a wide selection of enticing craft beers and boutique wines, all the details are designed with the care and love that is the hallmark of the experience at Porter & Pig.

Village at Wexford
1000 William Hilton Pkwy
Hilton Head Island, SC
(843) 715-3224

Calhoun Street Tavern
A comfortable room where fine spirits are drank, laughs are had, and stories are told—a public house for travelers and locals alike. Cold beer, classic cocktails, and familiar faces are just the start of it.

We strive to offer Old Town Bluffton a timeless neighborhood watering hole just a couple blocks from the bluff, paired with a chef-driven menu of Southern plates, thoughtful service and comforting, classic Lowcountry food.

After a swell day on the river or a rough one at work, bring a friend or come alone. Whatever you do, pull up a stool and stay awhile.

You are home.

9 Promenade, Suite 120
Bluffton, SC 29910
(843) 757-4334

Big Jim’s BBQ, Burgers & Pizza
Big Jim’s BBQ, Burgers & Pizza restaurant is located at the Robert Trent Jones golf course in Palmetto Dunes Resort, but you don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy the deliciousness. The restaurant serves three meals a day and is a magnet for families and visitors in addition to golfers enjoying a day on the links.

With an emphasis on Lowcountry Southern cuisine, the menu has recently undergone revisions to hone its focus on East Coast/Southern-style barbecue, including a new fall-off-the-bone-baby back rib presentation and melt-in-your-mouth barbecue sandwiches. Under the leadership of Sean Carroll, Executive Chef for Palmetto Dunes Resort, Chef Patrick Blankenship brings his experience and expertise to the pizza side of the Big Jim’s menu, making all the dough and sauces in-house. Other selections include boneless wings, the best burgers in town, and unusual pizza toppings (cheeseburger pizza anyone?)

The breakfast menu has also been elevated to a new level of scrumptiousness with unique items such as Loaded Hash Browns and Big Jim’s Meat Omelet in addition to classic egg presentations, breakfast sandwiches and burritos.

Big Jim’s offers a children’s menu, take-out service, catering and, of course, beer, wine and Happy Hour specials. Enjoy big screen TVs and expanded outdoor seating overlooking the Jones course—the perfect place to relax and watch your favorite sports all year round, while soaking up the beauty and splendor of one of Hilton Head Island’s most magnificent golf courses.

7 Trent Jones Lane
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
(843) 785-1165

Kenny B’s French Quarter Cafe
“A Little Mardi Gras In Our Life”

For nearly 20 years, Kenny B’s has served up authentic Cajun cuisine to the thousands of customers who have passed through the doors. The restaurant is decorated with many years of memories that have made owner/executive chef Ken Ballard who he is today.

“I apprenticed under a wonderful old-school chef at the Four Seasons, with lifelong memories of serving Presidents Reagan, and Bush, and years later Ford and Clinton,” he said. “I have some of the older pictures up of the pre-Kenny B’s days and some television cooking shows I was able to host long before the Food Network existed. I will always cherish the past, but at Kenny B’s, as I say, ‘I fry fish!’ No more tall chef hats, and I will never win any ‘best of’ awards, but we’re always told we have the best fried seafood around and Sunday brunch. I can hear the ocean when I arrive at work; I wouldn’t trade this environment for anything.”
On their third English bulldog, Beignet Boouchee, Kenny B’s has been a true family business, with sons Logan and Zach (now studying engineering at Clemson), and Ken’s wife Lavern, playing a major role in the success. “I still say you capture magic in a bottle when you work alongside your spouse for 20 years,” Ballard said. “And when you grow old together, those are memories that most couples will never have.”

Circle Center
70 Pope Ave
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
(843) 785-3315

The G-Free Spot
Have you found The G-Free Spot yet?
The G-Free Spot is the place where gluten-free and yummy come together beautifully. Whether you are gluten-free by choice or necessity, The G-Free Spot has goodies that will leave your taste buds wanting more!

We are a family-owned-and-operated business that was born from a passion for baking and cooking and a need to do it all gluten-free. We are dedicated to providing you with gluten-free goodies that are the highest quality and have been taste tested by the most discerning critics: our children!

Our products are so good, we’ve made “believers” out of skeptics—you may know them as your gluten-loving friends and family.

Here at The G-Free Spot, we’re excited that you’ve found us and are certain that we’ll be getting to know each other quite well. We are proud to serve a wide variety of options and are on a continuous journey to add to our already-robust menu. We invite your feedback—always—and welcome any suggestions or special requests.

1 N. Forest Beach Drive
Coligny Plaza
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
(843) 802-4411

CQ’s Restaurant
Honoring an artist’s legacy is a lot of responsibility. In 1993 Pierce and Bonnie Lowrey took on that challenge when they purchased the iconic CQ’s restaurant. Opened in 1973, and nestled under the crooked and lovely live oaks in Harbour Town, CQ’s was originally designed by illustrator Frank Ballantine as his studio, with the architecture reflecting his study of Lowcountry rice barns. Interest in what was going on in the unique building was so great that Ballantine gave up the idea of a peaceful artist’s colony, and CQ’s was born.

Having established itself as a favorite tradition for families visiting and living on Hilton Head Island, the Lowreys found a way to take the restaurant to the next culinary level, while maintaining its charming history. Under Bonnie’s design direction, the interior is filled with décor, treasures, and murals reflecting the history of Sea Pines and Harbour Town; its dining rooms are named with a nod to the land’s heritage: Plantation Room, Rice Field Room. CQ’s is the quintessential Hilton Head stop just off the golf course or for a sparkling special occasion.

Guiding the kitchens at CQ’s and its sister restaurant Old Fort Pub, Executive Chef Broderick Weaver focuses the CQ’s menu on American cuisine with a Lowcountry influence. On any given day, the professionally trained staff creates an exceptional dining experience, practicing their art with sustainable seafood and local resources from area farmers and fishermen.

Ballantine imagined his rice barn-inspired studio as an artist’s retreat, and remarkably, that is exactly what it became. The medium may be a bit different than his pens, pencils, and paint brushes, but the result truly honors his legacy.

140 Lighthouse Road,
Hilton Head Island
(843) 671-2779

Sea Grass Grille
Signature dishes: Grouper Piccata, Tomato Pie, Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola Butter

At Sea Grass Grille, seafood lovers delight in an array of fresh fish and special menu additions inspired by today’s catch, each dressed with a silky sauce, expressly created by Chef Chad Newman to enhance its natural flavor and texture. For the non-fish fan, temptations include pasta, rack of lamb, boneless breast of duck, grilled pork loin, veal scaloppini, and filet mignon—all with a side of friendly service and warm hospitality.

Tucked away in Plantation Center, just outside the main entrance to Palmetto Dunes Resort, this hidden gem is no longer a secret. In business for over 14 years, Sea Grass Grille has consistently been voted “Best Seafood Restaurant on Hilton Head” by readers of local publications and has earned the prestigious Wine Spectator Award of Excellence since 2012.

With a Lowcountry beach house theme, the atmosphere is vacation casual with a touch of elegance, perfect for a family outing, romantic dinner, a get-together with friends or a special event. Owners Kathy and Chad are always on hand to roll out the welcome mat and make sure you have the best dining experience on Hilton Head Island. Come see why Sea Grass Grille is on everybody’s list of favorites!

Plantation Center
807 William Hilton Pkwy., Suite 1000
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
(843) 785-9990

Hogshead Kitchen + Wine Bar
At HogsHead Kitchen and Wine Bar, four-time James Beard Award-nominated chef John Pashak offers unmatched Lowcountry cuisine in a one-of-a-kind atmosphere. Whether you eat at the 200+ year-old barn doors in the bar area or butcher block tables in the dining room, you won’t be disappointed, as the seasoned and knowledgeable staff takes expert care of their guests.

The food and drink selection is extensive. Chef John’s scratch kitchen prepares anything from the tastiest American prime burger to incredible entrée salads or fresh local catch—and also desserts! Feature craft cocktails include a classic Brandy Sazarec, as well as local favorites like the Creek Tea and Blueberry Lemonade.

Pictured here is their signature Filet Mignon, served with brown buttered Brussels sprouts, crispy new potatoes, and a Bing cherry demi glace—some have called it the best in the Lowcountry! Pair it with one of the many wines available by the glass or a bottle from the hand-selected boutique list.

Enjoy HogsHead Kitchen and Wine Bar’s upscale food and service in its relaxed and casual environment Tuesday through Saturday, starting at 5 p.m. for dinner service and lunch service Wednesday through Friday starting at 11:30 a.m. Walk-ins welcome but reservations suggested.

1555 Fording Island Rd., Ste. D
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
(843) 837-4647

Tequila Sunrise Grill & Cantina
Signature dish: Roasted Chili Relleno—Roasted poblano pepper, stuffed with jack cheese, and topped with ranchero sauce.

Signature cocktail: Cadillac Margarita—the original! 1800 reposado tequila, triple sec and sweet & sour mix with a side shot of Cointreau Noir.

We have a straightforward mission at Tequila Sunrise, which is simply to bring you the freshest Mexican food possible. We promise to give you fresh flour tortillas, hand-smashed guacamole, sizzling fajitas, and pico de gallo salsa diced fresh daily. When you arrive at Tequila Sunrise, you are invited to a place where you can kick back and relax while you sip on one of our signature handmade cocktails.

Tequila Sunrise is our name, so of course, we know how to make incredible drinks. We are equally known for the freshest Mexican food this side of the border. Come see for yourself.

841 William Hilton Pkwy., Suite L
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
(843) 341-3300

Old Fort Pub
As Charles Fraser’s vision of Hilton Head Island was coming to fruition in the early 1970s, he commissioned one of the island’s art community pioneers, illustrator Frank Ballantine, to design a waterfront restaurant overlooking Skull Creek in Hilton Head Plantation, adjacent to one of the area’s Civil War forts. Like its sister restaurant CQ’s, Old Fort Pub was formed from the mind of a man in touch with the Lowcountry and all its nuances. It is these nuances that Pierce and Bonnie Lowrey so deftly protected and nurtured when they purchased Old Fort Pub, along with CQ’s, in 1993.

The only AAA four-star restaurant on Hilton Head Island, seventeen years running, Old Fort Pub is a culinary masterpiece with sunset views and charming elegance emanating from every stunning angle and each delicious dish. Recently named in the “Top 100 Scenic Restaurants” by Open Table, and “Best View” by the Food Network, Old Fort Pub has a lot of competition for attention, and Executive Chef Broderick Weaver does not disappoint. His menu focuses on American cuisine with a French accent, featuring sustainable seafood and local farm-sourced produce.

With four decades of staying power, Old Fort Pub is the place for a special occasion, an everyday treat, or where you go to feed your culinary imagination. Guests come for the remarkable sunset view and then are simply wowed by the service and the food. Old Fort Pub has deftly balanced Fraser’s original vision with the future, nurturing guests again and again.

65 Skull Creek Drive
Hilton Head Island
(843) 681.2386

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