A new Italian restaurant is opening at The Fresh Market Shoppes on Hilton Head Island. Gusto Ristorante is scheduled to open this month and will feature a full bar, extensive wine list and al fresco dining on a garden patio. Executive chef and owner Giancarlo Balestra and his wife, Nancy, plan to bring the vibrant flavors of his hometown Rome to Hilton Head.
Hilton Head chefs Lee Lucier of FISH Seafood and Raw Bar and Clayton Rollinson of Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar are friends who share two passions: food and football. After playfully ribbing each other on social media, diehard Philadelphia Eagles fan Lucier and New England Patriots devotee Rollinson made a friendly wager: The chef whose team loses the Super Bowl will host a pop-up event in the winning chef’s restaurant. The Eagles came out ahead, beating the Patriots 41-33, so Rollinson will be cooking at FISH to benefit Volunteers in Medicine at 6 p.m. March 1.
CELEBRATING YEARS OF LOWCOUNTRY OYSTER HERITAGE
I married into the oyster business 30 years ago. My husband's grandfather moved to Hilton Head Island in the early 1900s and started one of the first oyster shucking houses in the area, and it has been a mainstay in the Toomer family for all of these years.
The business has changed drastically over time. Waterfront docks have been sold because the land was prime property. As our families got older, there haven’t been many others to fill in. We have been fortunate to remain in business here in Bluffton, but we’ve felt the labor shortage.
NEW PROGRAM HOPES ‘SEA-TO-TABLE’ FOCUS WILL LURE VISITORS AND BUSINESSES
Aquaculture, sea-to-table, aqua-tourism, merroir: Larry Hughes loves using expressive terms for the Lowcountry Oyster Trail.
“Why can’t we have aqua-tourism? We have ecotourism,” he said. “It’s just tourism focused on our special marine ecosystem.”
When it comes to oysters, “merroir” is the maritime version of what terroir is to wine — the environmental factors that affect the grapes the wine is made of. The term is gaining acceptance among oyster lovers.
The G-Free Spot recently opened in Coligny Plaza and its menu is entirely gluten-free. The bakery offers baked goods such as brownies, cookies, cupcakes, cheesecakes and breads. Nicole Gardner, owner of the bakery, opened the storefront after running an online store. Gardner and her daughter both learned they were gluten intolerant in 2011, which was about the time they moved to Hilton Head. The store is at 1 N. Forest Beach Drive. It is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays during the offseason and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day during peak season. The bakery also offers wholesale distribution to local restaurants and hotels.
Explore the culinary landscape of Hilton Head Island and Bluffton at participating restaurants offering “prix fixe” menus. The Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce Restaurant Week will feature the best in Lowcountry culinary experiences. Modeled after successful restaurant weeks in New York and other cities, thevent features more than 70 of the area’s top award-winning restaurants.
Breakfast and lunch franchise First Watch opened a restaurant in the Grayco Center in Bluffton last month, near Hobby Lobby. The same menu is served from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every day. Breakfast items include avocado toast but also traditional favorites such as bacon, eggs and grits. Fresh-squeezed juices are also offered. This is the restaurant's first location in South Carolina. The nearest First Watch is in Jacksonville, Fla.
Kroger on Hilton Head will now allow patrons to sip beer and wine while they shop for groceries. The store has opened a small bar with a selection of beer and wine that customers can purchase during their visits. The bar will be located between the grocery store’s deli and the Starbucks. Kroger plans to work with local breweries and wineries to stock the bar with Lowcountry beverages.
Mullets, a food truck that features ocean-to-table seafood dishes, will open behind Barnacle Bill’s Fresh Seafood Market on Hilton Head Island. The grab-and-go food truck received approval from the Town of Hilton Head Island’s Design Review Board in January. Greg Berkes, the owner of Barnacle Bill’s, created the food truck to serve islanders searching for a fast, fresh-caught seafood dining experience. The food truck is expected to hit the road in the spring.
Celebrity chef Sean Brock has debuted his newest Savannah restaurant spot, Husk. Husk is an Appalachian- and Lowcountry-inspired culinary experience that began in Charleston in 2010. Brock won the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Southeast in 2010 and is a four-time finalist for Outstanding Chef. He has competed on “Iron Chef America” and his cookbook “Heritage” is a New York Times best-seller. Husk’s menu will change daily and the restaurant is open seven nights a week. For more information, call 912-349-2600.