Even Better than “Stay and Play”, “Eat and Play”!

While I had the good fortune to get to play 18 holes last Saturday (that’s right, golf season is not only alive, but very well on Hilton Head Island, even just after New Year’s), I got to talking to two new Island friends (though they’ve both lived here for years) and among our discussions, besides the incredible speed of the greens and the excellent quality of the fairway over-seed, was how improved the restaurant scene on the Island has become since we all moved here over the last decade-plus.

Not so long ago, there were only a handful of places to dine after a round of golf anytime during the year, particularly in January and early February when the population of Island visitors is traditionally at its lowest of the year. But the recent restaurant boom in the Lowcountry now provides all of us more choices than there are weeks to try them, and everyone (my group last Saturday included) has their own new favorites—from traditional American cuisine to Lowcountry preparations and menus for every type of palate, including some from names you’ll recognize from the Food Network and the big travel magazines. In fact, there might actually be more different styles of sumptuous dining options on Hilton Head Island than there are styles of golf courses—and that’s a golf nut admitting that.

The reason for the timing of this note is that it’s Restaurant Week—actually more like Restaurant MONTH in the Lowcountry, and many restaurants are offering incredible deals to keep their businesses going during the slower time of the year, and to expose all of us to the unbelievable dining options available all over the Island, and on the mainland as well. Add that to the off-season rates offered by nearly every one of the three dozen public-access golf courses in the area, and you have what my online dictionary calls value—“getting a reasonable or equivalent return,” or “quality that renders something desirable,” or “something that is regarded or esteemed highly.” In terms I can understand, it doesn’t mean “cheapo”, it means getting a terrific deal on golf (and the mild winter has brought in the over-seed as good as it’s ever been) AND dining. What I’m saying, in more than a whisper, is that NOW is the time to escape the northern winter and come visit—we’ll save tee times and dinner reservations for you—but you might want to grab a couple of sweaters and hustle!

Restaurant Week runs from January 26th through February 2nd. Check out participating restaurants and their special menus at www.chamberrestaurantweek.com, which is updated daily.