August 2020

From Mild to Wild: Get sauced at Hot Daddy’s of Hilton Head

Author: Amy Bartlett | Photographer: M.KAT Photography

As early as Mayans adding pepper to water on their best day ever, or as new millennium as Gordon Ramsey’s cult classic “Hot Ones,” where celebs cry and drink milk on YouTube to prove they can take the heat, people love a good hot sauce. Enter Hot Daddy’s of Hilton Head, located in the heart of Coligny Plaza, with tightly stocked shelves of sauces, dips, and oils, from gimmicky to gourmet.

The power of flavor
Owner and operator Garret Seman said many customers come in looking for a challenge, asking the No. 1 question, “What’s the hottest thing you have in the store?” The aftermath can be read in kill-me-now comments on Google, Yelp, and Facebook, where Hot Daddy’s has an almost perfect record of 4- and 5-star reviews. Mentioning “awesome owners” and “friendly staff,” the third most common remarks are tales of survival and swagger like “melt my face” or “Don’t Do It Reaper Sauce” or gifts for friends who “aren’t happy unless they’re in pepper pain.”

“A lot of people come in looking for a challenge,” Seman said, “but most just come in looking for recommendations. We know our product, and we try to have a little something for everybody. Starting our focus with the hot stuff, we’ve gradually grown to provide a one-stop shop for sauces, seasonings, oils, balsamics, jellies, and more.” (The “and more” includes grilling, steak, and BBQ sauces; spices and rubs; pickled goods and salsas; and “not-hots” like fruity dessert sauces.) “We believe in the power of flavor,” says the About Us section on their website, which reads like a food blog. “We pride ourselves on having something suitable for any dish known to man. Whether you are making a gourmet surf ’n’ turf dinner or trying to spice up that bowl of ramen.”

Though sampling practices are different now due to added measures of caring for the community’s health, the proprietors are still proponents of the try before you buy philosophy, ensuring sanitary options for tasting tours.

How high you can climb on the Scoville Scale?
The shop is organized by heat level, “from mild to wild.” You can brave your way to “can’t feel my face,” hang in the kiddie pool with Cucumber Melon White Balsamic, or pick up a Carolina Cajun rub for the weekend. Not sure? The walls are covered with pairings, and the helpful hosts know how to talk you through your menu. No food shop in the state would be worth their southern salt without a selection of local and regional sauces, and Certified S.C., Palmetto Pepper Potions make great gifts or summer souvenirs for locals or faraway friends.

Basic recommendation for beginners? Seman suggests the go-to Sweet N’ Spicy Peach, which has just the right amount of everything. With reward cards, mini bottles, gift packages, and more, Hot Daddy’s of Hilton Head invites you to stop by the shop and “get sauced.”

For more information, visit hotdaddyshhi.com or call (843) 802-4830.

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