• Beaufort Lifestyle Magazine

Dining Feature

1635 On The Avenue

Created With Passion

Story By Julie Hales     Photos By Paul Nurnberg

When Randy and Lorett Hayes moved to Beaufort to live out their retirement several years ago, Lorett just wasn’t ready for that. She has a passion, and her passion needed an outlet.

      Lorett loves making people happy….and her favorite vehicle to bring happiness to others is a plate of food. Food, good food, is her passion.

      “She can’t leave food alone,” says Randy, “She just wasn’t done.”  And, that was the beginning of her restaurant, 1635 on the Avenue.

      Opening a restaurant was not anything new to Lorett Hayes.  The couple had owned three others in the upstate prior to their move to Beaufort.

     They began with an old fashioned ice cream parlor, which later started serving lunch. With the addition of the lunch venue, it didn’t take long for Lorett to find her new love.  She recalls, “That’s when I got the passion for what I do. We are all given a gift. My gift is food.”

     The couple’s next adventure was a Bed and Breakfast which also housed a 65 seat dining room. Then, came another restaurant, which is where they decided to “retire” from.

      “Retire” was just not something Lorett was ready to do! “I thought we were done with the restaurant business, but I could see it coming, here we go again,” Randy said. And again, they did it…or, the correct statement would be, she did it.  He adds, “I am just an occasional handyman. This is her child and she has done such a great job raising it.”

     1635 on the Avenue is approaching their three year mark, and still going strong. Lorett says, “We have locals and tourists who come in to eat, mostly locals.  And, we have people who are still just finding us.”

     “Our customer base is so broad. We have customers who come from Callawassie Island, Spring Island, St Helena and as far away as Fripp and Hilton Head. It is quite humbling.  It is astounding that they drive that distance when there are other restaurants they can go to. Yet, they choose us. That’s pretty cool,” she adds.

     What’s even cooler than that is these customers are sending new customers. They are talking about the quality of food and great service they received at 1635 on the Avenue. And, that’s why they are still growing, quality food, great service, excellent price points and consistently good….consistency is a must.

      What will the sale of the port bring to 1635 on the Avenue? Randy says, “The sale will be great for Port Royal. When we were looking for property to buy for the restaurant, from a business stand point, we both felt Port Royal had the greatest potential. We knew it would change, by direction or fault, it had to with everything going on around it. We are delighted that the administration of Port Royal is on board to guide the town through growth.”

      Lorett adds, “I am ecstatic about it. When there was a gas station on every corner, where did you go? You went to the place where the guy knew your name and gave you the best service.  He took care of you, so you were faithful to him. It’s the same way with a restaurant or any other business.  When there’s one, it’s just going to bring more people to you when there is two or three more down the street.”

    It is very obvious that Lorett knows what her customers like. She is not just the owner, she is the chef. She has an excellent menu that has a great variety of starters, small plates, soups, salads and entrees. The customers have plenty to choose from. Her homemade Meatloaf is definitely a popular item, and the Ribeye Steak has been said to be the best steak in town.  But, the most popular items on the menu are Shrimp and Grits and the Grouper.

     Even though Lorett is in the kitchen making sure your dish is perfect before your server brings it out, she always finds time to come to your table and personally speak to you.  She wants to make sure that her customers are happy and nobody leaves 1635 with an issue.

     The menu does change periodically, and they always have a weekly special.  1635 on the Avenue is open four nights a week and there special is served all four nights.

      1635 on the Avenue may be a small restaurant, but it’s definitely one with BIG taste. It is a place you can feel comfortable…from dressy attire to shorts and flip flops. It is a place you can linger after a good meal and enjoy a conversation with your family or friends. It is comfortable.

      “I am just a girl with a passion. I love sharing the experience of 1635 on the Avenue with everyone, from our modest prices to our exceptional food quality. There is no greater joy to me than hearing a customer say that there meal was delicious,” states Lorett.

     She adds, “We serve dinner Wednesday through Saturday and we are no longer open for lunch.  We are not open on Sundays either. Reservations are appreciated, but not required.”

      1635 on the Avenue is located at 1635 Paris Avenue, Port Royal, South Carolina.  Their number is (843)379-0607.

     Call today for your reservation…experience southern comfort with a twist!

    by Cindy Reid

 

Breakwater Restaurant, now in thirteenth year, has earned the right to be called a Beaufort institution. Their sophisticated menu, lively bar scene and downtown location have come to represent the best of the casual upscale dining and libation environment. But Breakwater doesn’t ride on their reputation, in fact they are committed to shaking things up every few months with seasonal menus,  make-you-happy Happy Hours and week night food specials that reflect their fun and fresh hospitality. Summer offers the opportunity for a seasonal reset and Executive Chefs Gary Lang and Beth Shaw have designed the perfect menu for you to enjoy summer’s local bounty.

 

Let’s start with the food. It. Is. Always. Superb. Doesn’t matter what you order. Could be the filet mignon or could be Southern fried shrimp. It simply never disappoints. Breakwater has been using a contemporary approach to traditional Lowcountry dishes for years and they are always updating the menu to include seasonal seafood and other local fare. It is what good food is supposed to be and exemplifies the best of “New Southern” cuisine.

The Sorghum BBQ Pork Belly, a new item on the menu, illustrates this perfectly. At Breakwater the pork belly is compressed again after cooking, removing fat, making it a more flavorful and updated take on the traditional dish. Served with bacon macaroni & cheese and sorghum barbeque sauce, it is a rare treat.

Another popular item is the Ricotta Gnudi, served with wild mushrooms, smoked gouda, and spinach. “It is important that we always have a vegetarian entrée available for our customers” says General Manager Donna Lang,” and this one is both healthy and delicious.”

A perennial diners favorite is the Scottish Salmon, served with caramelized fennel , spinach and grape tomatoes , artichokes ,marinated chick peas ,charred lemon and basil vin blanc. It is a refreshing and healthy choice, beautiful to look at and even better to eat.
Summer Specials

Don’t want to eat heavy meals in the summer? Pop in and enjoy one of the many small plate options on the menu or one of the small plate specials served twice a week. Tuesdays are officially dubbed Taco Tuesday, with each week bringing a new version of the fan favorite. One week it might be Kung Pao Chicken with julienned sugar snaps peas and smoked cashews and the next Tuesday it could be Fried Shrimp with corn salsa, green curry creme fraiche and  spinach. What a great deal at 2 for $8.00 ! A new addition is Slide into Thursday, which features the ever popular sliders, in this case the  Nashville Fried Chicken sliders. They were such a hit at the Breakwater Kentucky Derby party that they have put on the menu for the summer. That makes all us a winner!

 

Blended Burger Project

Donna Lang, “We are doing the  James Beard Foundation Blended Burger challenge for the third year in a row. It is a nationwide competition and our Chef de cuisine Megan Horne is entering her creation the Lowcountry Black and Blue. It starts with a fifty/ fifty blend of chopped wild mushrooms and wagyu beef that’s seasoned with her own Lowcountry blackening spice.”

Seared to perfection, it is finished in the oven, topped with blue cheese, port onions, lemon aioli, local melon salsa and arugula all served on a brioche bun. Wow! Starting May 30 and running until July 31st, Breakwater will be serving up Megan’s signature blended burger.

The Blended Burger project “asks participants to join a movement that strives to make burgers better by blending ground meat with chopped mushrooms, creating an incredibly delicious patty that’s healthier and more sustainable for the planet.” The James Beard foundation will award the top five chefs with the most online votes with a trip to the historic James Beard House in New York City where they will showcase their burger at an exclusive event in 2018.

So swing by, try the Lowcountry Black and Blue and then go online and vote for Beaufort’s own Megan Horne!

Happy Hour

And what about that Happy Hour? Monday through Friday from 5- 7 PM you can enjoy $4 well drinks and $4 glasses of wine, with a red, white and rose available. In addition there are seven draft beers on hand, including local craft beers. Donna Lang says, and patrons agree, “It is the best deal in town. Come on in and have a drink and enjoy a summer special, all for well under twenty dollars.”

The restaurant’s ambiance compliments the cuisine and libations. The dining room and bar are among the most comfortably cool rooms in Beaufort. Cool in the sense of after a scorching summer day, it is a welcome relief to enter and immediately feel better, and cool in the sense of its modern design and sensibility. Breakwater pulls off the very rare feat of being sophisticated but not stuffy. It is just chill y’all!

 

Breakwater  843-379-0052, 203 Carteret Street, Beaufort, SC

www.breakwatersc.com

Open at 5 PM, Monday through Saturday (Closed Sunday)  

 

As you round the corner on Paris Avenue going into historic Port Royal, pass the Parkers gas station and then stop your car. Right there on the right, tucked into a small two-story grey building with white trim is the restaurant 1635 On the Avenue. There are several tables with red striped umbrellas and enough chairs for all your close friends to join you on the patio. And the parking is easy.

Or, go on inside if the summer heat is too much for you. There you will find a lovely and relaxing palette of grays, and pleasing striped fabric on the built-in banquette. The coastal feeling is enhanced with artwork by local favorite artist, Jonathan Greene, and a few other nautical pieces as well.  You will also notice the most important accoutrement to fine dining – there are white table cloths on all the indoor tables and charming mercury glass votive candle holders.

Wherever you choose to sit, peruse the menu carefully because the selection is unlike any place else in Beaufort. If your waistband has been a little snug lately, you’ll be pleased to know that you can sip something and choose from the small plates menu. A glass of white wine paired with the Steamed Mussels, which themselves are steamed in white wine, butter, garlic and served with crusty bread is a good diet selection, as are the Escargot, also cooked in white wine, butter, lemon, Parmesan cheese and served with crusty bread. These are particularly good choices if you happen to be a fan of white wine, butter and bread; but isn’t everyone?  If you’re feeling like something a bit more robust but still not an entire dinner, then try the Smoked Gouda Mac which is penne pasta, heavy cream, smoked Gouda and Parmesan cheeses, layered over crispy bacon pieces and, again, served with crusty bread. Or you can have salad: Cranberry Chicken Salad, Roasted Vegetable Salad, or a Large Green Salad, all served with choices of homemade salad dressings. Perhaps you’re more in the mood for the Tomato-Basil Pie which is puff pastry filled with roasted tomato, basil, Colby cheese, and cream cheese mixed with red onions and served with a green salad. A tall, cool, gin and tonic would be a great accompaniment to the Coastal Crab Cake or the Fish Tacos. Of course iced tea, coffee, Coke products, ginger ale and imported and domestic beers are offered along with a full list of wines and spirits.

Chef, and owner, Lorett Hayes, opened this restaurant with some serious background in this business in Pendleton SC. Lorett came into the restaurant business through the back door. “I thought I wanted to be in retail so I bought a building, I quickly decided I didn’t like sitting there waiting for people to come to me so my husband, Randy, had the idea to turn it into an old fashioned ice cream parlor which we named Serendipity. We quickly realized that people wanted food as well so we made Serendipity into a lunch venue.” Lorett recalls, “That’s when I got this passion for what I do. We’re all given a gift, but some of us never find it; mine was food.”

After Serendipity, Lorett and Randy bought an eight room B&B, Liberty Hall, that also housed a dining room with sixty-five seats and a bar also with a dining room. Next was 1826 On the Green; when they decided to retire they sold that business to two of their employees and moved to Beaufort where they had a summer house at Land’s End for twelve years. Although Randy has remained in retirement, Lorett still had the itch and they bought the property at 1635 Paris Avenue, restored it and opened this restaurant. As the only person cooking in the kitchen, Lorett says, “I’m a one girl party!” and laughs.

Ranked #1 in 2016 on TripAdvisor for restaurants in Port Royal, it’s clear that Lorett knows what her customers like. “It’s all about the customer; people in the service industry have forgotten that. You need to do everything for your customer.” And she has it absolutely right, from the starched white table cloths to the menu, the service, and the presentation. The dishes are artfully layered or decorated, sauces are swirled and fanned. “When you get a present, if it’s just in a bag, it isn’t as exciting as if it’s wrapped in pretty paper with bows. I believe that people eat with their eyes first.” So Lorett prepares for them a dish that is that is presented like a gift.

In addition to all the above reasons for choosing 1635 On the Avenue, is also one of great significance, and that is the value. You can have a cup of soup and a baguette for $6. The small plates, starters and salads range in price from $7 to $14 and the most expensive item on the full dinner menu is $24 for the Rib Eye Steak which is a 12 oz. steak served with caramelized onions and mushrooms, and comes with a salad, your choice of a rice cake or roasted potatoes, and fresh sauteed vegetables. The pasta dishes can be ordered as a whole or half portion and are served with a salad. And yes, you can order bread with your pasta. A favorite, Fried Catfish is a filet served over smoked Gouda grits, finished with creole gravy and Andouille sausage ($18); Lorett says “This dish is the perfect marriage between smoked grits and fish. People say we have the best catfish they’ve ever had.” But don’t overlook the Buttermilk Fried Chicken and other assortment of seafood dishes, as there is something sure to please every palate.

Open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00. Reservations preferred, so make yours now.

story by mary ellen thompson

photography by paul nurnberg

You fantasize about it, you know you do. You sneak a peek at the dessert menu before you order dinner, hoping you’ll save room for that dessert. Lick your lips right now; you are a grown up. You can order dessert first and finish up with a salad or a shrimp cocktail, or just have a second and maybe even third dessert. Go ahead, who cares? My grandmother did it – she ordered a banana split for dinner in a restaurant somewhere outside of Chicago in the 1960’s. I still haven’t forgotten that dinner; she demonstrated such daring, such je ne sais quoi.

What Chefs Beth Shaw and Gary Lang have on Breakwater Restaurant and Bar’s dessert menu will leave you with the same lasting memories. Well, not just the dessert menu, but everything. Be forewarned: if you absolutely love a burger, do not order the Pimento Cheeseburger made with wagyu beef and pepper bacon unless you are prepared to be totally spoiled, and we don’t even have to mention those skinny little potatoes fried to perfection. But here is the hint for those on a diet: skip the bun and eat the fries to your heart’s content. One bun equals fries which is a very decent, if not decadent, trade. Trust me on this.

Summertime is a fun time in the imaginations of Shaw and Lang. There are specials galore starting with cocktails. If you have martini madness then a Sparkling Pomegranate Martini should be on your bucket list: Tito’s Vodka, POM Wonderful, Taste of Florida Lime juice, triple sec, fresh orange juice, and Marquis de la Tour Rose. A very popular concoction is The Prohibitioner which is made with Gentry Bourbon, house-made brown sugar simple syrup, orange and cherry bitters. If you might have the teeniest of sore throats, the Prohibitioner is just what the doctor ordered. (Put some in your flask just in case.)

Behind the bar, Amber, Jen, Sean and DJ are responsible for thirteen tasty creations on the specialty cocktail list. And there are other special cocktails on certain nights; one evening a certain Beaufort mini-celebrity was spotted consuming oodles of the Georgia Mule which is bourbon, rhubarb simple syrup, peach jam and ginger beer served over ice in a chilled copper cup. Fortunately, he lived within walking distance.

So after you’ve had your cocktail and started dinner backwards with with Peanut Butter and Jelly Pie, or Panna Cotta Topped with Kettle Corn, turn your attention to the Southern Fried Shrimp appetizer with the most delicately battered local shrimp you will ever sink your teeth into, or the Tuna Tartare that aficionados will not let Chef Lang take off the menu.

Feeling the need for something green? Butter Bean Hummus with grilled pita, and  those bright green castelvetrano olives mixed with feta will do the trick. Or you can take the more traditional approach (if you must) and have a salad; your personal trainer will be pleased with you. Try the Butter Lettuce Salad with bacon lardons (who can resist bacon?), Clemson blue cheese, cherry tomatoes, tossed with southern buttermilk dressing. Don’t drool yet, this is just the beginning!

Summer dinner specials, in addition to the regular menu, are Monday night: moules frites, Tuesday: tacos, and Wednesday: tapas. The tapas include one nightly special and three items from the regular dinner menu that are served in slightly smaller portions. First is Blackened Mahi/aligot potatoes/wilted spinach/ deconstructed crab beurre creole. Next is Scottish Salmon/pan seared/sautéed kale/sea island red peas/quinoa/ sauce vierge. The third is Lamb Meatloaf/aligot potatoes/haricots verts/crispy onion strings/bacon tomato sauce. Who can choose?

Because sometimes, in the summer, our appetites are a bit less in the heat, or we are thinking about how we look in that bathing suit, the good news is that there are also several small plate dinners on the menu. Not to worry if you are as hungry as a bear, you can still order from the main dinner menu and content yourself with Grilled Filet/cauliflower chèvre puree/roasted shallots/green beans & asparagus succotash/wild mushroom & truffle sauce.

You will be happy to know that Breakwater Restaurant and Bar sources as much as possible locally; all seafood comes from Sea Eagle, the vegetables and fruits come from local farms, and ninety-eight percent of the food comes into the kitchen in ingredient form and is made there.

Go ahead and put this magazine down for a minute, before your fingertips get too sweaty, and call and make your reservation for dinner, 843-379-0052. You can make a reservation for the main dining room, or the wine room. Think about all your friends who have invited you for dinner and with whom you need to reciprocate and just go ahead and book the wine room for twelve people. You can close the curtains and pretend it’s your own private club; or you can eat, drink, be merry and be seen. Choose your guest list carefully. In your own little enclave you can order from the menu, have a private wine tasting, discuss and create your own menu with the chefs, make up a specialty drink with your name in it, the possibilities are endless. You didn’t want to have all those people to your house and have to cook and clean, you know you didn’t.

Or, just go and sit at the bar or at one of the high top tables where you can chat with people nearby, drink in the aromas, and take a peek at the tasty creations available for your choosing. Remember that there is a Breakwater Restaurant and Bar in Greenville SC as well.

story by carol lauvray     photography by paul nurnberg

Looking for a delicious change of pace for breakfast or lunch instead of the usual fare? Then Lazy Susan’s Café & Creperie in the nearby Habersham community may be just the place you’ve been searching for! Nestled among the shops and restaurants in the quaint town center, Lazy Susan’s offers its signature crepes—very thin, light and airy pancakes—wrapped around a wide variety of savory and sweet fillings to satisfy every palate.

Signature Crepes

From menu favorites like the number-one-selling Huevos Rancheros crepes (jalapeno, sausage, bell peppers, avocado, egg, pico, and cheese, topped with a fried egg) and the French Englishman (tomato, bacon, cream cheese and egg), to newer offerings like the John Wayne (black forest ham, cream cheese, jalapeno and tomato) and the Vegetarian Rainforest crepe (bell pepper, mushroom, onion, spinach, tomato and pesto), these delicious crepes will tantalize your taste buds! Lazy Susan’s owner, Marine Captain Phillip “SUSAN” Goebel, says that he likes to give his crepes fun and interesting names, like the James Bond, Paris at Noon, and The Old Forge, which is named after his family’s creperie located in Put-In-Bay, Ohio.

But don’t forget dessert! For those who want to indulge their sweet tooth, try one of the sweet crepes—the Turtle (Nutella, caramel, sliced almond and sea salt), the Snickerdoodle (butter, cinnamon and sugar), the Honeymoon (Ghirardelli dark chocolate, whipped cream and almonds), or Carolina Summer (blueberry, chocolate, glazed pecan and whipped cream), to name just some of the possibilities! Your kids will love Lazy Susan’s too, where they can choose from these Kids Crepes selections—Pizza, Banana Crunch, and P, B & J.

Gourmet Coffees

And for coffee lovers, Lazy Susan’s serves its own special blend of Brazilian, Colombian, Guatemalan and Honduran coffees, which soon will be sold as whole roasted beans at the restaurant so patrons can enjoy brewing it at home.  Phil says Lazy Susan’s blend, with its light roasted beans, is actually stronger and has more caffeine than darker roast coffees. The café also serves Ethiopian and decaffeinated brewed coffees, as well making all of their coffees using larger ground beans and a French Press, for those who prefer a more intense, full-flavored coffee experience. And you’ll be able to enjoy your coffee at the café in Le Creuset serve ware in colorful Marseilles Blue, Flame Orange or Cherry Red.

Weekends at Lazy Susan’s

Weekends are special at Lazy Susan’s—that’s when the café features one of its most popular dishes, Red Pepper Biscuits and Gravy. Be sure to come early to get yours, because the café sells out of it quickly on Saturdays and Sundays—it’s not offered during the week and you can’t call ahead to order it, so you’ll just have to get up early! Another popular feature at the café is the special Mimosas—8 ounces of champagne and orange juice, with just a splash of Grenadine for sweetness, served in a 12-ounce Pilsner glass. Phil, who used to bartend when in college, created the café’s signature drink, which happily is available every day the café is open. He notes that a traditional Mimosa is just 5 to 6 ounces, so you get a lot more to enjoy at Lazy Susan’s!

The café also celebrates the Habersham community’s First Friday (of the month) Habby Hour from 5 PM to 7 PM with specials. Recent offerings for the monthly event included cheese and chocolate fondue, a triple-decker grilled cheese, and a tomato-basil soup bread bowl. Plans are in the works for a Valentine’s Day Dessert Special at February’s First Friday Habby Hour, so mark your calendar now!

Winter Panini Specials at Lazy Susan’s

This winter, in addition to crepes, you can enjoy these features:

• Paris at Midnight Panini—Ham, Swiss and, Dijon mustard

• Green Goddess Panini—Avocado, spinach and pesto

• Caprese Panini—Tomato, mozzarella and balsamic glaze

• Pizza Panini—Pepperoni, mozzarella and marinara

• Sweet Bananas Panini—Bananas, Nutella and sugar

Winter Drink Specials

• Pumpkin Spice Latte

• Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

• Hot Caramel Apple cider

A Neighborhood Connection and Welcoming Atmosphere

Aside from the mouth-watering food and drinks, what makes Lazy Susan’s Café and Creperie a special place?  It’s the friendly atmosphere and staff who warmly welcome patrons. Phil and his staff personally greet folks when they enter the café and engage them in conversation—it’s more like a neighbor saying ‘hello’ than the owner of an establishment. Phil says that the Habersham neighborhood is very supportive of the businesses in the community and that it’s easy to get close with customers who patronize his café. The ambiance of the café welcomes guests too. It’s a cozy, comfortable space painted in warm yellow tones with turquoise accents—and filled with homey touches including a coffee-cup chandelier overhead. Phil has decorated the café with his personal collection of military photos and mementos as well. A Marine F/A-18 Pilot with VMFA (AW)-533 at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Phil, who has been deployed to Middle Eastern countries several times, greeted me for our interview in his leather flight jacket and uniform. He said he was leaving afterward to do training on a flight simulator and had flown a couple of days earlier, but emphasized that he would love to fly every day if he could.

Phil is quick to acknowledge his café staff, comprised almost entirely of Marines’ wives, for their outstanding work and support. “My staff has done an absolutely phenomenal job since we opened the café in July 2014, running the business in my absence for nearly a year while I was stationed at Camp Lejeune. Lazy Susan’s would not be the success it is now without the dedicated folks who work here,” he said. “They are amazing people, and the reason people return again and again.”

Coming Soon!

What’s next for Lazy Susan’s? Phil says he’s planning to expand soon into the mobile crepe-cart business at festivals, farmers’ markets, receptions, parties and showers. “I want to be able to bring Lazy Susan’s food to my customers wherever they are,” Phil exclaimed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chic, cozy, and casual all at the same time, Breakwater Restaurant and
Bar is a restaurant where you can go dressed in shorts and flip flops,
or your little black dress and pearls, and be equally comfortable. Not
only is the vibe fun and welcoming but the food is also exquisite,
mostly because Donna and Gary Lang and Beth Shaw’s dedication to
excellence rivals Carrie Bradshaw’s passion for Manolo Blahniks.

Want a fancy dinner? Done. Want to celebrate a special occasion?
Done. Want a private dining room surrounded by 1300 bottles of fine
wine? Done. Want to grab a bite and a beverage and walk out the door
without breaking the bank? Done.

You can choose between sitting at the bar where you’re likely to
strike up a conversation with your barstool neighbor, or at a high top
table in the bar where you can survey the scene, or at a cozy table in
the room in front of the bar where you can whisper, or in the main
dinning room. Don’t forget about the wine room which seats up to
twelve and you can show off your party animal for all the bar to see,
or close the drapes and make everyone wonder what you’re up to, or
just be private.

Now that it’s summertime, Breakwater has, in addition to the
regular menu, weeknight specials that are not to be missed:

Monday – moules and frites, or steak and frites (in case your
multi-linguistics are on the fritz, moules is French for mussles,
frites is French for fries)

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday – chef’s choice of tacos

Wednesday: Farmers Market Menu – 3 courses based on what’s fresh and
exciting from the local farmers market, plus the added bonus of 1/2
priced wines

Thursday: Thin Crust Thursday – a choice of flatbread pizzas. (Sigh, yum.)

Can’t choose which suits you best? Try them all, it’s a great way to
spend the summer.

On weekends, the restaurant still offers all the seasonal choices
that make your mouth water. Need comfort? Order the Southern Fried
Chicken served with red skin mashed potatoes, haricots verts and cream
gravy. Seeking your seafood fix? How about the Southern Fried Shrimp,
Spicy Southern Calamari, Blackened Mahi, Fresh Catch, Pan-Seared
Scottish Salmon; or the Diver Scallops which are pan-seared and served
with creamy chive and corn risotto, basil and mint pesto, and
watermelon radish.

Or maybe you’re just in the mood for something light – like the
seasonal salad and lamb chop tapas. Don’t try to tear this page out
and eat it – make a reservation.

Of course the wine, beer, and cocktail selections are extensive
and interesting, so if you’re just there to socialize, order a glass
of wine and try the Pimento Cheese Plate for a nibble.

If all of this isn’t enticing enough – the food is locally
sourced and ninety-eight percent of it comes into the kitchen in
ingredient form and is made there. Gary Lang describes it as a “from
scratch kitchen.” He continues, “Our sauces aren’t roux and butter
based, they are made from stock reductions and we make our own stock.”
Now we’re approaching healthy and natural and local. Local sourcing
relationships are such an important part of the economy and the
ensuing enjoyment of the food itself, as well as a matter of pride to
the restaurant and the supplier alike.

Enough about the food for now. Let’s talk about the dynamics.
Three business partners for fourteen years, and best friends to boot.
How does that work? Gary and Beth are the chefs, Donna’s forte is the
business side as general manager. Gary grew up in Gainsville, GA where
his mother owned a deli that grew into a catering business. When he
was in college in Atlanta getting his degree in real estate and urban
development, he worked as a waiter at Steak and Ale, then at Gregory
Scotts which was, he says, “When I got the bug, it was during the
blackening craze, and the food was not only good but creatively
prepared.”

Originally from Birmingham AL, Beth started out with a degree in
civil engineering, but knew she wanted to go to culinary school so she
took the money she made from engineering and put herself through
Johnson and Wales in Charleston, then went to Montana to intern. (Now
she’s putting that engineering background to good use as she’s
studying equipment repair part time at TCL because there is a lot of
equipment in a restaurant kitchen.)

Donna was living in Atlanta, Gary was in Memphis, and one weekend
when he came to visit, Donna took him to an open house for the
culinary program at the Art Institute of Atlanta. They moved up their
wedding plans, took off on their honeymoon and Gary enrolled in the
culinary program; “At 35, I was the oldest one there.”

When his program was finished, Gary and Donna started to look for
a restaurant on the coast, found Bistro on West Street in Beaufort and
bought it. Meanwhile, Beth finished her internship, wanted a job in
Beaufort and knocked on their door. She started out making salads,
became a line cook, second sous-chef, and sous-chef in rapid
succession. Then she became their business partner and it’s been a
relationship that works beautifully for all of them.

When in the kitchen, Gary and Beth draw on their upbringing for
inspiration. The fried shrimp recipe comes form Gary’s mom; the
pimento cheese from Beth’s mom. They have taken the traditional
Southern food that we all love and made it lighter and healthier,
without sacrificing any of the flavors. And then there is the
selection of desserts which are always something that cannot be easily
resisted.

There are some favorites that never seem to leave the menu, or if
so, for very long. One of the most popular choices is the tuna
tartare. As a matter of fact, Gary says this is a dish that is just
popular nationwide. He wasn’t planning on putting it on the menu in
their Greenville restaurant but people insisted. The recipe has been
through a few incarnations with the tuna being paired with a soy based
glaze, avocado, or Thai chili sauce at one point. This is the
description currently on the menu: “Tuna Tartare (based on
availability) sushi grade tuna marinated in a house made volcano
sauce, lime, green onions, wasabi pistachio puree, pickled cucumber &
ginger salad, wonton crisps.” How could you resist?

Wander on in, look for a seat at the bar, or make a reservation,
and have a lovely evening; just reading the menu is indulgent as you
can almost feel the flavors tease your palate. Enjoy!

Breakwater Restaurant and Bar: 102 Carteret Street, Suite 102,
Beaufort SC 29902

(843) 379-0052   www.breakwatersc.com

story by mary ellen thompson     photography by paul nurnberg

Down the street and around the corner, in a renovated old house nestled in the trees in historic Port Royal, is the neighborhood gem – MoonDoggies Cafe and Grill.
Owners Jeff and Dawn Harris’ vision is to present a high quality product with old family recipes served in a casual environment. To this end, they source most of their ingredients locally and thereby support other Beaufort businesses. Jeff comments, “We are not a five star restaurant with five star prices, but our food is right up there!”
Their mouthwatering menu features appetizers, soups, salads, a superb selection of sandwiches for lunch, and the dinner menu is accented toward seafood but includes some very fine steaks and pasta as well.
Although the actual MoonDoggie was Jeff’s beloved Weimaraner, who is immortalized in the mural in the front dining room, the menu sneaks in some references to the nostalgic era of Gidget and Moondoggie from the movies. Gidget’s Grilled Salads offer a choice of Caesar salad or mixed greens with a selection of cheese toppings and either: thinly sliced grilled chicken breast, six spicy grilled shrimp, grilled or blackened Mahi fillet, eight ounce NY strip steak grilled and sliced, or grilled and sliced Portabella mushroom.
There is a tempting selection of homemade Big Kahuna’s Desserts, and the Lil’ Surfers  menu is for children.
When Jeff bought the building in 2004, it was an old house and needed nearly a years worth of renovations. He thought the front dining room should have a mural, so the walls are painted with a dark sky and lowcountry images, including the dog sitting under a full moon. The back dining room is quite interesting architecturally and actually almost has a surfer sort of vibe to it. All wood, made from reclaimed railroad box cars, with a porch wrapping around the exterior, and a high ceiling, it has a distinctively different feel to it, almost like being outdoors. This is where the music happens on the weekends when Jeff and friends play guitar on Friday nights and John Sheppard plays the piano on Saturday evenings, both nights between 6:30 and 9:00.
Whether you are enjoying the weekend music, or dining during the week, you will probably try the crispy fried pickle chips as an appetizer since they are one of the signature dishes here. If you’ve never tried fried pickles – welcome to the South! Served with two dressings, ranch and horseradish, these chips are a wily and tasty bit of ingenuity. Jeff tells the story of how they came to be on the menu; MoonDoggies’ opening in 2005 coincided with the Port Royal Soft Shell Crab Festival. The Boars Head sales rep asked Jeff if he would consider serving fried pickles made from the Boars Head garlic dill pickle. Rising to the challenge, Jeff concocted a Cajun inspired seasoning made with seventeen secret ingredients that coat the slices of pickle before they are fried to crispy perfection. The rest, as they say, is history and they are a much loved item from the menu.
In addition to the crispy fried pickle chips, luncheon appetizers include crab cakes, coconut shrimp, and roasted red pepper artichoke bake. The salad choices are numerous but if you are a sandwich person, you’ve come to the right place! Thirteen sandwiches, not including what you can arrange from the deli offerings, make choosing just one a bit of a dilemma, however you can always order one (or more) to go; bodacious reuben, lowcountry po’ boy, spicy shrimp burger, and fabulous frank, are just a few.
Although the dinner entrees include such scrumptious seafood offerings as Mahi, shrimp, oysters, flounder, and tilapia; filet mignon, rib eye and NY strip steaks, as well as linguine provencal, the crab cakes are perhaps the piece de resistance. Fashioned from another family recipe, lump crab is used to make the cakes and they are served with a house made remoulade sauce. They can be ordered as an appetizer, in conjunction with any of the steaks, or as part of the seafood feast which includes grilled or blackened Mahi, five spicy grilled shrimp, five fried oysters, and the crab cake; all the dinners come with a dinner salad, a choice of: baked potato, French fries, seasonal casseroles, or pimento mac and cheese, as well as bread. A feast indeed!
Dawn is always searching for new and enticing recipes, she is the queen of the soups, casseroles and desserts. The desserts are not to be missed – you can select from homemade pies, cheesecakes, puddings and whatever else she dreams up. It may be wise to first ask what is for dessert and plan your meal accordingly! This fall she has created a roasted butternut squash soup and a pumpkin spice cheesecake among many other things.
Open Tuesday thru Saturday, lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and then dinner is served between 5:00 and 9:00 p.m. Wine and beer are offered; carry out orders are welcome, and don’t forget the music on Friday and Saturday nights. The entire space is available for rental and will seat about 50 people and parties of up to 24 can be accommodated in one dining room.

Story by MARY ELLEN THOMPSON   •   Photography by PAUL NURNBERG