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New Eats in the Low Country including-Zunzi’s Hilton Head Island

It’s a running joke over here on my side of the Savannah River that any new restaurant that rolls into downtown Savannah every year sets their sights on being open by St. Patrick’s Day.  That makes a lot of sense, of course, because it is the one week of the year where everyone in and around Savannah’s historic district sees the most green.  Literally and figuratively.

In and around Hilton Head Island, there’s also a ‘north star’ that new businesses chase every year.  They all want to be open ‘by Heritage.’ Hilton Head Island’s annual PGA Tournament which brings millions of dollars to the region every year.

There’s been a flurry of new eats of late in the area, some are incredibly popular already. One of them has yet to open, but should be in full swing by the time the calendar officially switches to Summer in Mid-June.

Joelle –  Bluffton

Joelle is Bluffton’s latest entry into the Italian food scene. Robert and Breana Deleo are the husband/wife team behind this good-looking neighborhood spot.  The vibe is a little more on the casual side than I originally expected, but that’s not a negative.  There’s a lot of energy in the room and a beautiful bar space holding it all together.  They offer salads, sandwiches and pizzas for lunch.  At dinner time, pastas and entrees are added to the mix.  First impressions have been good across the board, which is a good start because you don’t need me to tell you that practically every single resident of Beaufort County is required to have their favorite Italian restaurant on speed dial.  

Madre and Mercado -Hilton Head Island

I had been told several good things about “Madre” in recent weeks.  The brand new Mexican concept in the Fresh Market Shops on the island are brought to you by the same folks behind the very popular “Jane” on the island as well as Beaufort’s “Wren” so I had to try it.

Full disclosure, it took a minute to pin it down.  They’d been open a month and I couldn’t find a website or a Facebook page, which I found odd.  Once I finally made it over there, I found a simply gorgeous restaurant.  From my seat one of the prettier spots on the island.  Beautiful.   I stopped in for a quick hitter lunch of some chips and dips with a promise to return another time.  I suspect Madre will do well. This is a restaurant built out with locals in mind.  Decor and menu.  The cocktail menu was intriguing.  I’m looking forward to a return visit once they get rolling.

Madre and Mercado

Zunzi’s – Hilton Head Island

At one time, Zunzi’s was Savannah’s best hole in the wall restaurant.  The South African themed sandwich eatery and bar has since gone the corporate route with locations beginning to pop up across the region.  Savannah, Tybee Island, Atlanta and now Hilton Head Island.   Work is ongoing at their new location on Pope Avenue near Woodhaven Lane. Zunzi’s offers a variety of sandwiches and salads with their most popular and ‘flagship’ sandwich, if you will, being The Conquistador which offers their roasted chicken, provolone, their special sauce plus lettuce and tomato.  That sandwich has been named Best in Georgia more than once.  It’s something you should try at least once if you haven’t already.  

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