Bluffton, SC…An Unexpected Treat

The CottageAs we mention in our latest episode of Eat It and Like It, so many of us have driven through Bluffton, South Carolina…headed to or from Hilton Head Island. To or from Savannah. Let’s be very honest though. You don’t see any signs on the highway saying “Bluffton 25 miles” or exits marking Bluffton, SC. You just don’t. Well, we are here to tell you, we should be. And I believe we will be seeing those things soon.

We’ve spent a good amount of time in Bluffton, researching this episode. From Downtown Savannah, it’s about thirty minutes over the bridge. It’s really not much different than driving to Tybee Island, or out to Richmond Hill for a great dinner. We did it quite often and, as is typically the case, it’s so hard to narrow it down to four or five locations to put in an episode. It always is difficult. Squeezing all of the great food this area has to offer into thirty minutes is impossible. All the more reason you should just head out on ¬†your own and explore.

In our episode you saw:

Corner Perk – Corner Perk is a new version of an old favorite in Old Town Bluffton. Josh Cooke used to have a shop on Burnt Church Road. Now they are in the heart of Old Town. Great breakfast, lunch, and coffees. On Thursday, Friday and Saturdays, they’ll stay open late for cocktails and house made desserts. We really enjoy it. You will, as well.

The Cottage – The Cottage is down the street three or four blocks away from the Old Town Promenade where Corner Perk is. Calhoun street is Old Town’s ”Main Drag”. The majority of art galleries and shops are there. As are a number of great places to eat along Calhoun street, including The Cottage. Originally named “Carson Cottage”, it was built by a former Confederate soldier after the war. Try the Shrimp and Grits. The Monte Christo Sandwich is fantastic, as well.

Calamari at NEONEO – NEO is Bluffton’s Farm to Table jewel. The name of it is NEO HHI (Hilton Head Island) because their mailing address says “Hilton Head Island”, even though they are on the mainland side of the bridge to the island. Long story I’m told, about a development that once upon a time, wanted a “more prestigious” Hilton Head Island address. They are firmly planted in Bluffton. As far as Chef Russell Kean’s approach? He says “ninety percent of what they serve comes from within nintey miles” of his restaurant. You can just hear the passion in his voice when he talks about it. The menu includes Bone Marrow, Calamari, Pizzas, and Nachos. It’s a beautiful space. But nothing at all stuffy about it.

Pour Richard’s – Pour Richard’s is on Bluffton Parkway, a little removed from the charms of Old Town, as well as the hustle and bustle of Highway 278. In a tiny strip shopping center next to a Mexican restaurant. It’s a wonderful spot to eat, and a fantastic place to dine. Yes, there is a big difference. I’m told a certain automotive executive asks his staff to make reservations at Pour Richard’s the moment he finds out his travels will be bringing him to the Low Country. Yes, it is that good. And yes, you definitely need reservations. Even to eat at the kitchen counter. Especially at peak times and weekends.

Some other spots we love in Bluffton that didn’t make it into the episode (and there are many) but here are a couple more:

Bluffton BBQ – Everyone has their favorites for BBQ in the South. You should try this one. It’s very, very good. Located in Old Town.

Walnuts Cafe – Better be patient with this one. Not only will it take patience to find it tucked way back in the back of a strip mall off of Highway 278, but lunch time is jammed. The staff is great. The food is fantastic.

See you on TV.


Eat It and Like It launched in Savannah, Georgia with television personality Jesse Blanco as the host. His passion for food and travel has made Eat It and Like It a two-time EMMY nominated program about contemporary and traditional Southern food.


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