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Jul 10, 2010 11:16 AM

help - headed to Hilton Head

Can anybody help? I'm being dragged on a family vacation to Hilton Head/Bluffton,SC. I'm just praying I can redeem the trip with some good Southern food and/or barbecue down there. But it's such a resort-y area, I'm dubious. Suggestions in the area?

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  1. In Bluffton Oakatie Ale House and Pepper's Porch are outstanding. Oakatie serves sandwiches, fajitas, burgers, pizza, southern food and steaks in a beautiful setting with outdoor dining on the water. Pepper's serves low country cuisine in an old beautiful building in a gorgeous setting with live music and good times.

    Oakatie Ale House @ 25 William Pope Dr., Bluffton, SC. 843 - 706 - 2537.
    Pepper's Porch @ 1255 May River Rd., Bluffton, SC. 843 - 757 - 2295.

    Pepper's Porch
    1255 May River Rd, Bluffton, SC 29910

    1 Reply
    1. re: Littleman

      Okatie Ale House has good food, but nothing to write home about...and the outdoor dining "on the water" description? That water is a man made lagoon twenty feet from Highway 278.

      Pepper's Porch is a good suggestion. If you're looking for a roadhouse type place, I'd go to the Squat n Gobble in downtown Bluffton.
      If you want bbq specifically, I'd go to Jim and Nick's. Yes, it's a small regional chain, but they cook the bbq on site and it's pretty darn good. Alternatively, you could go down the road to Red Hot Mama's. The bbq is good there too.

      Pepper's Porch
      1255 May River Rd, Bluffton, SC 29910

      Okatie Ale House
      25 William Pope Dr, Bluffton, SC 29909

    2. Oakatie Ale House is generic chrome and fern bar food, nothing to write home about. There are a number of HHI threads on these boards, most of them still have some relevancy, and I recommend you to them. You are however going to a very "resort-y" area, and most of your good choices are going to be upscale.

      8 Replies
      1. re: fussycouple

        Fussy instead of chewing on the OP and myself why not merely suggest a few places at HH for the OP. You know about Oakatie you must know about HH. Give the OP a couple of choices for country/BBQ. Thanks.

        1. re: Littleman

          I'm not chewing on the OP, merely confirming some of his fears about the nature of the area. I wasn't chewing on you, merely disagreeing with your assessment, and agreeing with the assessment of sisterbeer. Oakatie is "on the highway", not "on the water", and my detailed assessment of the food there is already in another thread on these boards -- has been for quite a while, long before you posted about it. It's like an upscale chain joint, but imho there is better on the Island.

          I don't know of any "barbecue restaurants" in or near HHI that are "fit to eat" at. Therefore I remained silent. Southern food is not equal to "country cookin'" in my book, and while I suspected that was what the OP was hinting at, I really don't feel that it is my place here to try to convince folks otherwise. Nonetheless, my silence on Pepper's Porch may be taken as assent.

          Sunset Grill and Old Fort pub both serve southern food, neither are what I'd describe as "country". Sea Shack and the new place by Chef David are both worth going to.

          HHI is a resort area. It's a good one, and I like it, and there is nothing wrong with that. But if the OP doesn't like "resorty" areas, isn't willing to research these boards, and isn't willing to look at the list of related discussions that mention HHI (just below this thread on my browser), I don't know how to help them.

            1. re: fussycouple

              "the new place by Chef David are both worth going to."

              Chef David's place is called Roastfish & Cornbread and it sounds like it would fit the bill perfectly for the OP. Chef David is an island native and has one of the few restaurants on the island that serves up local seafood and low country fare. He is formerly of Sea Shack, fyi. Here is a link to his site:


              Sea Shack
              6 Executive Park Rd, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

              Chef David's Cafe
              508 E Church St, Laurinburg, NC 28352

              1. re: lynnlato

                We had a very nice meal tonight at Roastfish and Cornbread.

                I'll post on it in a new thread.

                1. re: 9lives

                  Great! Did you get a chance to meet Chef David? He's such a great guy. I'm so glad his place is doing well.

                  I look forward to reading about your meal there.

                  1. re: lynnlato

                    We didn't meet Chef David but as I said we really enjoyed the place. My parents have lived on HHI for close to 40 years and I'm visiting from Boston.

                    I've seen the R&C spot as Azteca..Mexican, Royal attempt to be a NY Palm place, and Spartina? Italian? It's a nice space in an out of the way location and nothing has worked there...til now. I took my mother about 7 PM last night,a was jammed and 1/2 hour wait. Nice to see someone busy and I think there are 2 reasons..very good food at a fair price.

                    We had the grilled triggerfish (a special), very fresh and grilled perfectly, a tasty crab cake and nicely fried oysters, excellent cole slaw. A few small service glitches but outweighed by the friendliness of the staff. I just had the shrimp gumbo that they "forgot" to give me for lunch..took it to go..:) delicious! I'll definitely be back. They characterize the place as "low country" cuisine and offer a number of seafood dishes; offered grilled, fried or blackened and a handful of low country dishes..I'd have liked to try the roast brisket..separate an extensive vegetarian menu.

                    Other places I like are:

                    Il Carpaccio. fairly priced Italian...great wood grilled pizza..not a "pizza joint" but a nicer room in Pineland mall.

                    upscale Italian..Michael Anthony's

                    Amigos Circle Ctr/Pope Ave, same mall as Kenny B's..authentic Cal/Mex..great burritos fried fish and oyster tacos and the chicken salad is great. Great margarita's. Order at counter and the food is brought to you. Casual, moderate priced.

                    Crane's Tavern for prime rib. This trip I ordered a steak, charred rare and it came MR. When I showed it to the waitress, she immediately took it away and asked if I'd like them to cook another or she could bring me a prime rib right away. I opted for the prime rib and it was 1 of the best pieces I've had. She also took a glass of wine off our bill for the mistake. She did this on her own without us ever talking about it..for the mistake. Mistakes do happen. The measure of a good restaurant is how they take care of it and Crane's got an A+..extensive wine list.

                    Hudson's..seafood..great views..was a working oyster plant. 1 of the few places that has been here for years and it's like stepping back in time to the HHI that I remember as a teenager when I started visiting. I prefer it to some of the newer glitzier seafood places.

                    Charley's Etoile. French, menu changes daily but always a few good fish options.probably favorite upscale place on island

                    Old Fort Pub..upscale,great location and I remember it being good but haven't been in a few years.

                    At the other end of the formality spectrum is a place I discovered last year. A guy named Carl who does BBQ outside a shack on Spanish Wells Rd. Very sporadic hours; sort of when he has time..:) Usually Saturday, or not. Call first 843 301 9076


                    I'm probably forgetting a few but that's my usual lineup.

                    1. re: 9lives

                      Great! I had the brisket and it was lovely, as were the lentils.

                      We go to HHI several times a year and at least once with a family who own a place there and have been going for 30+ years. They always insist on going to Hudson's. I haven't been to Old Fort Pub yet (are kids are finally at an age where they would behave) but it's on my list. Il Carpaccio is a local favorite too... but we haven't made it there yet.

                      Your photos are great - that smoker is impressive! Good God I could go for some of that butt and ribs. I'll definitely keep this place in mind when we return next summer. Great recs and thanks for the tip!

        2. Here is a good discussion:
          Here is a nice review:

          Fussycouple, Do you know anything about Robert Irvine's restaurant there?

          3 Replies
          1. re: Sensuous

            thanks for this. sorry, I hadn't seen the original threads on HHI. Didn't realize the site was so comprehensive.

            1. re: Sensuous

              Not the fussycouple, but we had dinner at EAT! which is Robert Irvine's restaurant in Hilton Head when we were there. I don't remember specific dishes but I can tell you we started with 3 or 4 appetizers, many were specials and all were fresh, imaginative and wonderful tasting. I think we also had some soup and salad and were happy enough to maybe order dessert. One or two of the dishes were definitely among the best things we ever ate, if I may borrow that phrase. And we'd go back in a minute if we found ourselves in Hilton Head again.

              1. re: yahooer

                Thanks, yahooer. I'll be down there again soon. I can't wait!

            2. As life-long vacationer to HH, the best way to describe the food is "sporadic." I say this because every time I am down there (twice a year for the last 24 years), we have to take stock of which restaurants have closed and what has opened.

              Aqua, mentioned in previous posts, is good and consistent. Not the easiest thing to find on the island. Red Fish, while a bit expensive, is another restaurant that is always good and has a solid wine selection.

              My personal favorite restaurant is Kenny B's. It's a little cajun restaurant tucked into a strip mall that serves great gumbo, authentic Po Boy's (with remoulade, not mayo) great hushpuppies, and other creole delights.

              Also, be sure to get to Hilton Head Ice cream while you're down there.

              Red Fish Restaurant
              8 Archer Rd., Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

              1. The two places we like on HH are Truffles in Sea Pines. Varied menu from hamburgers to fancier fare. Our fancier place is Old Fort Pub in Hilton Head Plantation. Beautiful atmospere, setting and really good food.

                Old Fort Pub
                Hilton Head Plntn, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926

                Sea Pines Restaurants
                32 Greenwood Dr, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928