Street Smart



On a Venn diagram showing American food and health food, you wouldn’t expect to find a lot of overlap. This is, after all the nation where the Burger King reigns beneath golden arches. The country whose finest scientific minds came together to finally figure out how to deep-fry Coca-Cola. The country that loves fried chicken so much, we created a sandwich that uses it as bread.

But long before our national cuisine became an arms race of calories and fat, there was street food. Born from the native cuisines of a dozen nations and carried over in the recipe books of immigrants, the roots of American cuisine were planted in the streets.

It’s a legacy that Hilton Head restaurant Street Meet celebrates daily. And while you will find deep-fried Twinkies on the menu, what’s happening at Street Meet puts it right in the middle of that Venn diagram: It’s American food, but it’s healthy American food.

Street Smart2“Over the course of eight years, a lot of our regulars would ask us to prepare things specially depending on their nutritional needs,” said co-owner Cary Basciano. “Some people don’t feel comfortable doing that, so we thought we’d do it for them.”

The result is a new menu of healthy options that takes the classic American street food on glorious display at Street Meet and strips it down to its healthiest aspects. Start with the Power Bowl, which blends quinoa, grilled vegetables and black beans; or the Skinny Bowl, which offers grilled vegetables on spinach or field greens. You can top either one with a protein, from prime rib to tofu and everything in between.

Street Smart3Seriously, you can get elk patty. We’re talking everything in between.

The new healthy menu also lets you turn any one of the burgers, sandwiches or wraps into a salad bowl or a lettuce wrap.

“You can come at health from a lot of different angles,” Basciano said. “One of the beliefs we had is that a lot of the worst stuff comes from processing and freezing food. We cook from scratch, so we’re already light years away from that.” 

So while you can still get a deep-fried Twinkie, the new menu at Street Meet presents itself as a new take on American cuisine — one that sets a place at the table for everyone: the low-cal diners, the gluten-free, the vegans and even those following a paleo diet, right alongside those just looking to get a few beers in them and tear through a classic burger.

Letting everyone dine together, no matter their diet — what could more American than that?