It's been tough on restaurants during this pandemic. In large cities, many have shuttered and will never come back. When it comes to rural communities, the odds are even higher they'll shutter.
In McClellanville, a cool and hip joint located at 824 Pinckney Street is continuing to press forward and adapt. They continue to serve the great food their known for, and have special days, like "Drivin' N' Fryin'," where they serve up fried flounder and shrimp. The smile is still there, of course. Just covered up under a mask. You can hear the laughs, though.
But its the attention to safety detail that's continuing to bring customers.
Many people are wary of dining in for food and they even second-guess take out at times. Boats N Hoagies has a simple drive-thru model set up where you line up on the side of the road close to their eatery and you get served without getting out of your car. The staff is wearing masks and making sure social distancing is practiced.
More, the quality of the food hasn't changed. Matter of fact, I think it's gone up. With them simplifying the menu to core offerings, they are able to perfect the serving and stay consistent. They even wear shirts with their menu on the back so customers can see their offerings sitting comfortably in their car or truck - or golf cart.
I love their style. And yes, that's a WWE championship belt. Ellie, her husband and co-owner Brandon Wall, have made their uniqueness shine through dark and trying times.
With friends Paul and Andrea Holloway, you cannot ask for better folks to chat with and watch as they cook and serve food to you.
We may be in a pandemic, but don't tell Boats N Hoagies that. They are too busy serving customers their amazing food, awesome smiles and funny comments. Nothing has changed except how they do it.
If you're looking for something good and worry whether it safe or not, Boats N Hoagies in McClellanville is perfect for you.
They are closed on Wednesdays. Call for details or questions. 843-887-3058
A couple weeks ago, I was at home looking over photos I'd taken of food and restaurants and was wondering what the new normal was going to look like for the culinary industry when my phone rang.
I figured it was one of the many eateries in Georgetown calling to ask for advice, how to prepare for reopening or just to have someone to listen to them get their feelings off their chests.
Yes. In this time of uncertainty, what I do has become a landing pad for those who just want some comfort and who understands them. And I have humbly accepted the role.
It's very important the industry has someone in their corner. Someone who has been there before this, through it and will help them afterward. And, to me, it means the world I am thought of in such regard.
I love the industry and all in it.
That phone call.
When I answered with hello, this voice responded with enthusiasm and vigor. It was a voice I wasn't familiar with, but when he said his name I knew I was in for an exciting conversation.
Chef Patrick Runey has owned T.W. Graham & Co. for more than seven years. The restaurant, of course, has been around since 2003 and the building has been used for different purposes, like a general store, for more than 100 years.
As we talked about the current pandemic and the latest regulations for restaurants and updates on reopening, I told Patrick I was here for him and his staff and would help in any way I could to provide advice and support.
It was at the end of the conversation I knew where I had to be in the next few days.
The trip to the #MCVL was planned for a Saturday evening. The weather that day was picture perfect, and we ate outside, under an Oak tree with a beautiful sunset as the backdrop.
When we arrived, we were greeted pleasantly by staff, then chef Runey himself came out with a smile from ear to ear. As excited he was to see me, I was far more excited to be dining at the restaurant, outside, in such a portrait atmosphere.
Funny, it takes a pandemic to slow you down, recharge and assist in focusing on the precious things in life.
There was some history preserved from the past owners. Local seafood, simplistic recipes and bountiful flavors remained. But, Runey and his staff tweaked the rest and made it his own.
And he kept true to the roots of the eatery. Respect the past, treat the folks like family and show them all a big heart.
Regarding simplicity, let's talk about the tarter sauce. Or, as I dubbed it, tarter slaw.
It has a slaw-like consistency and is so complimentary to the seafood. It's not your regular tarter sauce, friends.
Runey checked on us periodically, but by 7 p.m., it was getting close to closing time and there were quite a few people waiting on to-go orders. The waitress made sure our sweet tea was topped off, safety-minded, and that we had what we needed to enjoy our meal.
The pictures tell the visual, but our taste buds were literally gasping with each bite. It was that good.
More, it was the ability to dine outside in a village known for peace and quiet, with friendly faces walking the sidewalks.
I think my favorite bite was the flounder. So fresh and filleted as perfectly as it was cooked.
Our food was packaged in to-go boxes as it was served to us, so it made it quite easy to pack up and leave. As we headed out and placed the tip in the jar, I stopped Runey and told him the fried scallops, shrimp were super good and the flounder was divine. I wanted him to know the food and service was great and his down-home personality was very appreciated.
I then asked for a photo of he and I. He obliged.
Before he left, he said he was appreciative of me and what I do for the restaurants. I said in return that it was I who was appreciative of you and all of those in the culinary industry. History doesn't just involve buildings and what they're used for. It also encompasses the people, the relationships, the smiles and the overall satisfaction enjoyed in them. The food you all cook and serve writes a history that should never be forgotten.
Nor the people who create it.
With that, we thanked him and headed back to Georgetown with stomachs full and souls recharged.
It was a great day in McClellanville.
We were out and about Saturday, May 2, 2020, giving out Outstanding Service awards to five locations on the culinary adventure of Georgetown, South Carolina.
What's an Outstanding Service award? Check out the story below by WPDE ABC 15.
You can see the story on past winners by clicking here.
And's the list of winners this weekend:
Enjoy the videos below, and congratulations to all on a job well done.
I came across this video a couple days ago posted by the Independent Restaurant Coalition.
I was touched. Very touched. Talk about getting in the culinary feels. You must watch it.
We are restaurants.
Fitting sentence, isn't it. When you watched that, did you get as flood of emotion? Really, there are many life moments that involve restaurants and culinary industry as a whole.
Here in Georgetown, think about the dinners before prom. How about wedding anniversaries and rehearsal dinners? Birthdays?
There's even personal crawls for those who love to try different eateries in a week.
Those moments are special. As are the people who work to provide them.
Let's all do what we can to help keep these restaurants alive. Click the button below.
Restaurants have been hard during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Many people have been doing their best to support the culinary, restaurant industry in Georgetown County and in South Carolina.
More, the restaurants and their staff have had to think and react on their feet to numerous changes in policies and trends.
I wanted to recognize a few of those restaurants with an Outstanding Service award.
All restaurants in South Carolina are doing an awesome job with keeping safe and servicing their customers, however, a few need to know they're thought of.
On April 25, 2020, I went to three restaurants and gave the owners a certificate recognizing them for their "Customer Commitment during the Covid-19 Pandemic" in hopes of showing them they're appreciated and thought of.
I wanted people to know these restaurants are diligently practicing safe standards and attention to detail when it comes to serving food to customers.
There will be more handed out. Stay tuned.
But, please try to support our restaurants and their staffs by ordering curbside, delivery or takeout.
Not only do you get fed, but you help keep these restaurants in business and allow them to survive with potential to make it through.
It's been quite a busy weekend for us.
We've made at least seven stops in Georgetown County to buy take-out and support eateries locally and traveled to McClellanville to make two more stops.
Our McClellanville stops were to Boats N Hoagies and McClellanville Diner, both of which really need the continuous support of town folk and from abroad.
The most common thoughts in providing help to our hospitality industry, specifically our restaurants, are geared towards buying. Whether it be curbside, delivery and/or take-out possibilities, we want to take advantage of what is offered to help keep these businesses alive.
More, we think of gift cards. That helps, too.
A new week brings new challenges. Everyone is day-to-day with their preparation. Some have already had to make the hard, tough decision to close until further notice. Now, that presents a scary situation.
Factoring the length of our restaurants being shuttered to dine-in customers, staffing and product availability, restaurants that close face an uphill battle in getting reopened.
Reports on the national scene say as much as 40 percent could never reopen again. Either way, the landscape will change. We face a possibility of losing a few eateries we've enjoyed for years when this clears.
I have shared via e-mail and social media a Facebook group for Georgetown County in which we can see and share what restaurant is offering curbside, delivery or takeout. I urge you all to join it, share on your social media and contribute.
You can add places you know of, share photos of food you get and do live videos encouraging the owners and chefs.
Another suggestion is cease all negative reviews on web platforms i.e. Google, Tripadvisor and Yelp. These are counteractive and pointless. They are NOT what the industry needs.
If you have an issue, take it up personally. Call them. E-mail them. Reach out privately on social media.
What the industry needs is what I've been doing for more than six years. One hundred percent positivity.
I also ask you share restaurants' posts on your social media. Even in good times, a marketing budget is not a priority, given our market. So, help them out with your networks. Share a post so others can see who follow you. Grow their reach organically. Take a photo of that amazing burger and tag them everywhere.
What the industry needs is an outpouring of support.
There have been many nonprofits that ask and ask again for donations from restaurants, participation in events. It's our turn to support them.
Those in the industry chose it because they love cooking and perfecting dishes for you. They seek out "beautiful smiles" as a deal closer for those "beautiful dishes" they create.
Let's come together and use our word-of-mouth power to keep these great eateries open, so they remember who was there for them when they needed us the most. Let's show them we can do as a whole what Georgetown Foodland has done and that's support with our hearts.
If communication ceases from our end, meaning we don't carry the message, the light will fade.
The awesome food we enjoy will possibly disappear.
Enjoy the culinary adventure, even it's take-out at home. The folks in the restaurants will thank you for it.
The rain that came during Opening Ceremony and Opening Night could not extinguish the culinary fire brought by all the talented chefs and staff at this year's Charleston Wine + Food.
And for those in attendance, they witnessed the precursor to the best festival yet.
With its 15th year in the books, the entire Charleston Wine + Food organization can be proud. The amazing talent, the production aspect, the quality of food, the Southern hospitality displayed were just a few key performance indicators that were off the charts.
This year, I was honored with media credentials, meaning I was able to attend many events held during the festival. My favorites were the Password, Please special party before Opening Night, Opening Night itself and Saturday's Culinary Village.
More, I was able to meet some of my chef friends in person that I have been connected with on social media for more than a year or so. It was such a humbling and rewarding experience.
More humbling, I was taken by surprise by chef Jason Scarborough and US Foods when he made me an honorary Food Fanatic. I was so choked up by the reveal on live video, I think I only got out a handshake, hug and thank you. Many times. I mean, wow. How awesome is that.
For me, Opening Night was like Christmas Eve. You waited for dark as a kid to go to Grandma's house to have some super good food and spend time with friends and relatives you haven't seen in a while. Maybe, if you're lucky, you get to open a present.
Yeah, that feeling hit home as I waited for 7:30 p.m. and the music under the big tent in Marion Square Park to start. As soon as it did, I was under that tent in seconds.
I was just in time, too.
After getting to capture the calm before the storm, so to say, I was off to many of the chefs' tables to get shots of the plated food - and try some of it, too.
Yes, it was all good.
About an hour in, the tent was packed. People raved over the awesome dishes being presented and the great music from the band on stage. But, let's not kid ourselves. We were here for the food.
As I packed up and drove home to Georgetown, I was on cloud 9. Such great food offerings and super cool chefs.
Now, Christmas morning came in the form of Saturday's Culinary Village. Literally, I would have been blinded by the beautiful sunlight - and culinary superstardom - if not for my trusty sunglasses.
As I walked in through the gate I stopped in the middle of the park's X feature and took it all in before the crowd of people amassed. The culinary St. Nick had come. And so many gifts of food were bestowed upon us.
And what's a so-called culinary Christmas without something barbecuing on a grill, right?
Well, there was plenty of that. And everything was so good and warm on a rather chilly day.
One of my favorite dishes came from renowned chef Michael Tuohy of Fullhouse Hospitality.
That duck sausage over Anson Mills grits with duck gravy was so divine.
And I relate finding this dish to Ralphie found out he finally got that Red Ryder BB gun.
Yeah, this was my Ralphie moment for sure.
After tasting my final dish, it was off to enjoy the rest of the village and see the sights of what this year's Charleston Wine + Food Culinary Village for Saturday had to offer.
And, as I got home and wound down for the evening, I fell asleep soundly, with dreams of tasting great sausage from Swig & Swine's Anthony DiBernardo and wearing my US Foods Food Fanatics apron.
One of the shining examples of great hospitality in a small-town is their main street. Where you can get a hair cut, grab lunch and some sweet baked goods all in walking distance from each other. More, you create an everlasting relationship with those small business owners because you probably live close to them.
The City of Georgetown has such a main street. It's called Front Street, and the warm welcomes you get here couldn't be contained in the river beside it.
As goes the water.
The street is lively during Spring and Summer, when locals and tourists alike flow through like blood in veins. It's exactly that for the owners. The business generated during this time keeps them afloat during the off season (tourism season is typically early Spring to early Fall).
However, other items have been seen afloat on the street, too.
In three years, Front Street has seen itself under water time and time again. Whether it be the "100-year-Flood", hurricanes or king tides, business owners have had to habitually prepare for the worst - and come to expect the worst.
One year, Castaway's Bar & Grill saw water in their restaurant as high as the seats. It was a trying time. But, the folks there rebuilt and have moved forward.
Today, you'd walk in and think nothing happened. Plus, there's quite a bit of good food being enjoyed.
Castaway's Bar & Grill is one of many restaurants to suffer heartache during these times. It's why the tourist season is so important to them as owners. They are not only making money for themselves, but are supporting staff who work for them. When disasters happen, those staff members don't work. That's weeks of not getting paid in some occurrences.
And you'd be dead wrong to say it doesn't bother owners.
Paraphrasing South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster from recent statements, we have to get along with the water around us. We live next to it and it's going to be here.
What we, as locals, can do immediately is give endless support to the restaurants on Front Street - and the surrounding businesses - and promote our culinary adventure to outsiders.
Take time to enjoy what Front Street has to offer. From the history in our museums, which is massive, to the restaurants and shops, we can nurture our own talking points from the pleasant experiences.
Front Street is a staple point in the city and in Georgetown County. It's a meeting point. It includes a great part of the culinary adventure in our town.
More, it's always going to be home. Our home. And as hospitality goes, we'd love nothing better than to welcome folks to our home with open arms, smiles and warm food.
So, go tell a friend. Tell a relative. Share on social media.
There's a culinary adventure on Front Street and we'd love to have you experience it.
There's an awesome sandwich joint in the heart of McClellanville that's worth checking in, but not dining in. Why? Well, there's no seating inside the small building, however, there are tables and chairs on both sides outside.
Located at 824 Pinckney Street, this two-year-old eatery has been slinging out fresh-made sandwiches, homemade ice cream and lemonade and other treats to a very hungry - and dedicated - crowd.
That eatery is Boats N Hoagies. The name has a hilarious backstory, but you'll have to Google that and ask more when you visit.
Owners Brandon and Ellie Wall have built up quite a reputation with their food, too.
They serve breakfast and lunch 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, however, they prepare dinners on Wednesdays for pick-up. These dinners consist of Brandon's uniqueness, meaning he tries out dishes he's thought of and that are not on the menu sometimes. These dinners are portioned well and can feed up to four people.
So, let's talk about what we had that we think you ought to have.
The Steak & Egg came with roast beef, peppers, onions, Swiss cheese and a fried egg. You can choose your bread - Texas Toast, Ciabatta, Whole Wheat or have it in a Tortilla Wrap. I had this sandwich on Texas Toast and it was super good. Very flavorful.
I also tried The 843 on Texas Toast. This consisted of a local lump crabcake with shredded romaine, tomato, cucumber with roasted red pepper vinaigrette. It normally comes on a ciabatta, but Ellie told us to have fun with the menu. The Texas Toast on this worked great.
Next, the MCVL. This sandwich is packed with a well-portion sized chicken breast, mushrooms, vidalia onions and local brie cheese. Oh, it was just perfect. True Southern flavor right there, folks.
We can't forget to mention the homemade ice cream. The pistachio we had was creamy, thick and flavorful. Nothing like having some while waiting on - and smelling - your sandwiches being cooked.
The homemade lemonade is also a must. Again, Southern flavor and reminiscence of days when you stopped by a lemonade stand.
When you drive in, look for the building to your left and find a parking spot. Come in, tell'em Georgetown Foodland sent you and check out their order board. The specials are also a hit. When the aroma of your food hits your nose, you'll know this is a place to visit time and time again.
When I was on social media yesterday before heading out to dinner, a post popped up that stopped me in my tracks. It really floored me.
Atlantic House Restaurant announced they were closing. For good.
And while this may be a quick response to the announced closing, I had to express my utmost respect and appreciation for one of the greatest restaurants this town has ever seen. That includes the staff, too.
Owner Roz Wyndham is no stranger to the restaurant industry.
Remember Roz's Rice Mill Cafe? It was located in The Hammock Shops in Pawleys. She was earning accolades left and right there. And the food was quoted good enough to make you move to Pawleys Island and eat there everyday by Southern Living magazine.
But when she moved to Screven Street, she was able to focus on her passion for creating awesome dishes.
I wanted a smaller restaurant where I could get back to my true love-cooking and being with customers and less time being a manager of a business.
And you did exactly that. Even winning the People's Choice Award for the 2013 Taste of Georgetown.
The quaint ambiance of the restaurant welcomes you in like a breath of fresh air. The food is cooked to order. The offerings are unique and plentiful.
And there's still time to enjoy the food.
May 16th will be their last dinner serving and the last lunch served will be on May 16th.
I cannot express how thankful I am to have experienced the tastes offered here and the people met.
Shawn has been a consistent, stand-up host and server. Always on point with delivering a great experience.
And Roz is and always will be a good friend. I remember when my daughter played softball for the high school and my wife and I had to work the concession stand one night. I reached out to Roz and asked her if she'd be willing to make her famous chili for hot dogs. She lit up like the 4th of July. Happy to do so. I was so excited, I made a print out and posted on the outside of the stand to exclaim where this chili proudly came from. Made it a point to refer people to the restaurant to try more dishes.
And there are more stories about Roz and her giving back to a community she loves.
But, she and her staff need to know they were loved, too. Not only for the food.
For providing a pleasant, safe escape from the hustle and bustle of the world. A warm smile and embracing hospitality.
Thank you, Atlantic House Restaurant, for contributing to the culinary adventure of Georgetown, S.C.
You could not of asked for better weather on Sunday, March 10, 2019. The temperature was pleasant and the sky featured a happy sun.
This was the day we attended the Charleston Wine & Food's Culinary Village.
And to call it a village is hitting the nail on head. It's a melting pot of chefs, flavors, personalities and all-around excitement.
Located in Marion Square, the Culinary Village is the heart + soul of Charleston Wine + Food, and the 2019 menu is bigger and better than ever before. Opening Friday of festival week at Opening Ceremony and continuing through Sunday, an all-inclusive daily ticket guarantees five hours of tasting, sipping, chef demos, live music, retail therapy, and more. Whether a first time attendee or a Wine + Food veteran, the Culinary Village must be on your festival week itinerary.
It truly was the heart and soul of the event. Looking at the map doesn't do it justice.
But, it does provide the essential layout for you to plan your culinary attack of the food and wine offerings.
There were many features we appreciated. The sectioning of the park, the wristbands, the main stage. But, there was one feature we loved.
The chefs were given intervals. The booths remained the same, however, the chefs interchanged after 2-3 hours to allow them not to burn out and to give all chefs a role and attendees the chance to taste an abundance of flavors.
And the time frame was perfect. There's a lot to enjoy, but you do have time to see it all.
And we did.
Like meeting Chefs Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite from three successful restaurants in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, one being DanDan. These guys were a hoot. Their tasting was a mouthful of scream. Excellent flavor combinations.
While there were quite a few guest chefs outside South Carolina participating, the state had its best of the best representing, too, with outstanding tastes.
Marc Collins Chef Award Winner Kelly Franz, executive chef of Charleston's Magnolias, was presenting smiles along with her comforting food offering. It it was homey, fitting for the village theme.
(For a full listing of chef awards given out at the opening ceremony, visit here.)
The village is a run like a well-oiled machine. It has a great flow and although the sticker shock of pricing and massive amount of activities may intimidate, rest assured the tickets are worth the price and you'll leave wishing you had more time - even if you been to all the village had to offer.
We highly recommend this annual event to any foodie looking to add a culinary adventure to their portfolio outside of Georgetown County. You'll love the food, smiles and friendly faces from all over the culinary map.
Plan now. March 4-8, 2020.
As 2018 winds down, the culinary adventure in Georgetown, South Carolina, has grown leaps and bounds. So, it's only fitting to say 2019 looks to be a breakout year for our Georgetown restaurants.
While there have been a few restaurants to close, we saw just as many open their doors. Root, located at 919 Front Street in the City of Georgetown, has been taken in with welcoming arms. They were also the December recipient of the Simply Amazing Dish of the Month (Beef Short Ribs).
Chef Armando Cobian opened Sol Cocina Mexicana, a high-scale Mexican restaurant, serving creative dishes with a "twist of Mexican flavors" in each bite. It is located at 12036 Ocean Highway in Pawleys Island.
We've also seen some of the perennial favorites strengthen their menus, develop eye-appealing and mouth watering dishes, win awards from various news outlets and further establish their status on the culinary map.
Rustic Table, Frank's and Frank's Outback, Perrone's Restaurant and Bar and Chive Blossom all fit the above mold.
We've also discovered a revival of tradition with restaurants like Janette's Super Burger and Seaboard Restaurant; and businesses like the Bearded Butcher. The patriarchs of such places have passed down their teachings, recipes to families and friends willing to carry on what so many people have enjoyed. They'll also introduce a new generation to those great tastes.
We also heard the phrases "dock to dish" and "hook to fork" when speaking with Dylan Foster of Wicked Inlet Seafood. Another business upholding tradition by having chefs and restaurant owners come to the docks and pick their fish, fresh from the catch. A sure way to know exactly where your seafood comes from.
Wagyu beef was introduced in a big way to the area with a partnership between Foodie City Network and OMD, Inc. Now, restaurants have a pristine location to order the succulent beef from and save huge on shipping costs. This partnership was years in the making.
And, a new concept to the area was introduced. A food tour! Yep, there's a actually a food tour on the culinary adventure of Georgetown, South Carolina.
Carolina Food Tours is a rapidly growing food tour business showcasing many of our Georgetown County restaurants. Not only does this endeavor help introduce locals and tourists alike to our excellent restaurants, it builds a connection with restaurants to bring in business possibilities that otherwise might not have been explored. More importantly, it is year-round and has incorporated seasonal themes.
Speaking of themes, the Georgetown Business Association has introduced restaurant crawls to the city. Quite a few restaurants participate and offer a signature drink on the trail. This exciting concept is a great way to get acquainted with out restaurants in the city. The well-known crawl is the Kringle Krawl that takes place around Christmas time.
With all this, you'd think some of the well-known chefs and food journalists would be taking an interest in our area. The fact is, our chefs are becoming famous in their own right and are drawing people because of their consistent dedication to creating the most eye-catching, flavorful dish.
Steven Perrone, Adam Kirby, Danny Smith, PaulKelly Renault, Greg Metcalfe, Armando Cobian and Graham Plummer are just a few of a huge arsenal of chefs our county has to offer.
And, yes, the interest is there. Eater, Food Network and Yelp have seen what cannot be ignored any longer. It has to be shared with the masses.
I see the year 2019 as a culinary explosion for Georgetown, South Carolina. The whole county.
All our restaurants work tirelessly to provide a great experience and awesome food on the culinary adventure of our county. For what was a secret to us locals will soon be a shining star to many.
All families have them. Whether they're beach cookouts on the Fourth of July, frying turkeys for Thanksgiving or Christmas barbecues, the purpose is to gather amongst family and friends and enjoy some great food.
The annual Bruce Christmas barbecue fits the same mold, however, there's a greater meaning in the gathering. It began in 2001 as a way to create memories for the children and has blossomed into a grand tradition.
Along with Joel, Linda, Melanie and Robbin Bruce, Roger Bruce, his wife Tina and his family plan out each December's barbecue in advance. Why? Because there's a good chance something might pop up.
One year, Roger had to work during the barbecue and nearly missed the whole thing. But, as family does, the reigns were picked up and the festivities carried on. Yes, there were leftovers, but not being there hurt a little.
The week-before-Christmas event is usually the only time the extended family and friends gather amongst one another. It's a time to enjoy one's company, see what's new in life and reflect on a year almost gone. More, it provides the elders an opportunity attract their growing children to the crowd for some food and companionship.
I am married in to the family. In the early years of me attending, I considered it a time to eat some good barbecue, chat a little and carry on about my days. Boy, did I have huge wake-up call coming.
As the years passed and the barbecue rolled on, patriarchs of the family began to pass.
Two such people were Uncle Archie Bruce and Aunt D.C. Those were tough ones. You could see it on everyone's faces. While they tried hard to put on a happy face, you knew deep down they wanted them there. Just one more year, please. No one had to say that, but their eyes told it with the tears shed.
Another would be Judy. I loved seeing her. She loved seeing the little children running around and having fun, always asking whether or not they've been good. One year, she dressed as an elf. She told me Santa left her behind to make sure to get the names of all the good kids at the gathering for him.
Family means a lot. To the Bruce brothers, it's golden. To some, the event is a couple hours of eating off the pig and having a few desserts. To them, it's their contribution to keeping the family together and allowing them to congregate amongst one another. You know, because we aren't guaranteed the next day.
They know that.
And as the years have passed, and I have seen their children grow up, my daughter grow up and my stepchildren grow up, I know it, too.
In the fast-paced world we live in, we take for granted all who are around us. This event has been and is a way to slow time for a bit and enjoy one another while enjoying great food.
And that's why I look forward to it each year. My appearance is a way of saying thank you for continuing a tradition that means a lot to the family involved, myself included.
Oh, and don't ask about the sauce. Roger doesn't measure anything. He knows when it's the right amount.
The building sat dormant for years. The smell of those famous "super burgers" that used to grab folks on Indian Hut Road was gone into the wilderness. Deep down inside, Mrs. Janette couldn't stand it. "I have to be moving, doing something. That's me all the way," she says as she tells about her recent doctor's visit. "All my life, I've been doing. Late night drives to Columbia to the produce market then back to the restaurant. Had to take care of children."
And that she did. Her cooking provided for her kids education, first cars and more. And if it wasn't the mere fact of supporting a family that drove her, it was her passion to deliver good food.
"I love to cook. Have a big family. Cooked a big Thanksgiving meal this year. They love my collards."
Her years developing a unique burger and working to perfect it became famously known as the "Super Burger" to a lot of her customers. Just one patty was the size of your hand. And people loved the size and taste. They were all made to order. Nothing sitting around.
Folks working at the saw mill back then knew where to stop for a quick lunch or a dinner for home.
But one day, the doors shut. No more grand-size burgers walking out.
Her family knew the importance of tradition. They knew a person like Mrs. Janette and her determination and grit to make something needed an eternal flame of sorts. More, the people of this generation needed to experience what others had done so decades ago.
And I am glad Tammy, Frankie and Buddy are doing that!
How many true mom-and-pop restaurants do you know of that still exist today? There's not many. And when you get deep into Georgetown, away from the beach and city, you find those gems. Hidden, of course, and only known to those in a certain radius.
I think folks like Mrs. Janette and Janette's Super Burger need to be recognized. Not only recognized, but enjoyed.
Look at the smile on her face above. In mere minutes of our conversation, her face began to light up, as if those memories of years gone gasped breath and flowed through her veins. It looked like a recharging of a spirit that was always there, but needed a boost. At one moment, she perked up, said she had to go to kitchen and see if they needed help. And from that point on, she stayed back there. With her family. With Tammy, Frankie and Buddy.
The glow was brighter than the any of lights in the small building providing at the time. Nothing but smiles.
And as people walked in to grab an order, they saw her back there. The smiles, the higher pitch of voice filled with excitement and the appreciation for what she created could all be felt in simple words - Well, hello Mrs. Janette!
Tradition lives on at Janette's Super Burger. The smell of those famous super burgers is back in the air.
And Mrs. Janette couldn't be more happier.
And we couldn't be more thankful.
This location in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, has seen a few restaurants come and go. I think, however, The Rusty Rudder is here to stay for quite a while.
Owners Brian Johnston, Eric Paul and Executive Chef Mike Eckert not only have a great location with comforting decor and an amazing porch setting, but the food will astound you!
We dined in on a Saturday, which was all-you-can-eat oysters from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Manager Cameron Paul was ecstatic and pleasant while making sure both the inside and outside were handled well. Chef Mike was on the fire pit steaming oysters and they were coming off perfect. The back of the house never missed a beat as orders flowed from the kitchen in a timed rush - satisfying the customers not only in wait time, but taste as well.
Here's a little bit about the restaurant.
The Rusty Rudder Mount Pleasant serves chef crafted Lowcountry cuisine offering something for everyone including house smoked BBQ, award winning wings, pasta, local seafood, oysters, steak and more. Whether you’re looking for a delicious dinner, happy hour, live music, a friendly place to catch a game or just a great family friendly atmosphere The Rusty Rudder is your go-to spot in Mt. Pleasant.
That last statement couldn't be any more truer.
Let's talk about some dishes!
Look over to your left. That's the BBQ Shrimp. Comes as an appetizer. You can, however, ask for it as a dinner portion. Keep it our little secret, though. Sautéed shrimp over a sweet onion grits with house smoked pork belly and red bbq sauce. So good!
The Rudder Melt is an 8 oz. burger with Charleston ‘hot’ seasoning, pepper jack cheese, bacon and onion jam, on Texas Toast. Do not let the word "hot" scare you away. The sweetness of the bacon and onion jam counter what heat is there and it works so well together.
The Shrimp & Grits come as a hefty portion! Sautéed shrimp, alligator andouille, roasted red peppers, corn, tomatoes and green onions over pimento cheese grits topped with a chipotle cream sauce. The flavors of this dish really hit your taste buds - and put a smile on your face as you go for more!
The awesome Crab Dip comes with lump crab baked with a light parmesan cream sauce and served with a French baguette.
And you cannot go wrong with either a "BBQ Mac" or a "Seafood Mac" or a "Prime Rib Mac"! We say try all the macs!
The menus have a lot to offer! Right now, take a look at the photos and plan your culinary adventure at The Rusty Rudder today!