Restaurants: New season brings a plateful of new dining options
By Jason Lesley
New restaurants in Pawleys Island and Litchfield this spring run the gamut from comfort food to fine dining to sushi to casual with spice and sweets.
Anne Hardee and Adam Kirby, co-owners of Bistro 217, will open Rustic Table on Tuesday in the former Island Café and Deli at the Island Shops. The late Russell Hardee started there in 1988, and the family closed the restaurant for remodeling this winter.
The interior space has been opened up, making more room for wooden tables and chairs and a larger L-shaped bar. The community table in front — it seats 14 — was made by Joe Chandler of Murrells Inlet from 800-year-old cypress dredged from a river. Designers used reclaimed barn wood on the interior walls as wainscoting.
Chef Kirby said the menu will be Southern foods he learned to cook from his mother and grandmother with a little of his own flair. “Everywhere you go,” he said, “food is popped out of a box. I wanted to get back to the basics of cooking.” Rustic Table will offer local seafood in addition to barbecue, fried chicken, meatloaf and steak. Vegetables will come from local farmers, Kirby said. On Saturdays and Sundays, Rustic Table will serve brunch from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., offering the norm, blueberry pancakes and eggs Benedict, to the sublime, Kirby Goes Bananas, caramelized bananas on French toast. There’s also country fried steak and eggs and smoked salmon on the menu.
In addition to brunch, the restaurant will be open Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for lunch and Tuesdays through Sundays from 5 to 10 p.m. for supper. The menu and hours are posted at rustictable.com. Make reservations by calling 843-314-0164. Kristi Pieterse will be the manager.
Boll Weevil Café | Julie Ford is bringing a concept she discovered in Augusta, Ga., to the former Mayor’s House in Litchfield Village. Boll Weevil Café and Sweetery offers an eclectic dinner menu ranging from shrimp and grits to a gumbo with Cajun sauce to jambalaya. Soups, salads, sandwiches and appetizers range from an original tomato apple soup, to the Boll Weevil Salad featuring grilled sirloin steak on a spring mix, to a Curious Georges’ sandwich of turkey topped with spinach dip and provolone cheese to appetizers fried green tomatoes and black bean quesadillas. There is one burger on the sandwich menu, a bison burger with pimento cheese, and luncheon entrees include tacos with pork or blackened fish and a pasta creole in a spicy alfredo sauce. Suppliers will include Millgrove Farms of Georgetown, an organic vegetable grower.
Ford confessed she did not cook during the first eight years of marriage to her husband, Mike, except for mac and cheese, peanut butter sandwiches and the occasional hamburger. She admitted to a certain reverse logic of starting to cook after having children — three in all, ages 9, 7 and 4.
She discovered Boll Weevil Café and Sweetery when the family moved from Colorado to Augusta, Ga., and found owner George Harrison’s dishes and big chocolate cakes irresistible. Even after the Fords left Augusta, Julie drove back for the cake.
Mike Ford took a job with Georgetown Hospital System — living in North Litchfield was the deciding factor over a job offer in Charlotte and a few others, Julie says.
An entrepreneur at heart, she bought the rights to Boll Weevil’s recipes and concepts, and the owner came from Augusta to Litchfield to train the cooks and bakers.
The Boll Weevil Café layout retained the former Mayor’s House bar in back. Space inside the front door was organized into a bakery display — cakes are sold from the cases by the slice or whole with a day’s notice as well as fresh bread. Around the corner is a bright, airy dining room with wooden tables and chairs. Ford was delighted to find original wooden floors under the restaurant’s old carpet and even used the Mayor’s House sign as a base for her new lettering. The owner says there will be tables and chairs on the front porch when the weather turns warmer.
Boll Weevil Café and Sweetery will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week. It will open on Sundays from April to October and move its closing time to 10 p.m. Order at 843-314-0680.
Sabella’s Italian | Arthur and Tracey Sabella are bringing New York-style fine dining to Litchfield Village with Sabella’s Italian Restaurant and Bar in the former JD’s Steakhouse.
The husband and wife have been in the restaurant business for 35 years. They met in Manhattan when Arthur’s family ran a restaurant named Casabella and Tracey’s uncle ran a pastry shop, La Bella Farrows, on opposite sides of Mulberry Street in Little Italy. They have had restaurants in Manhattan and Long Island, perfecting a menu of regional Italian dishes, featuring the butter and cream of the north and the olive oil and garlic of the south, Tuscany and Rome, Arthur said.
There are familiar dishes on the Sabella’s menu. Veal chops, braised short ribs and a New York Strip all feature an Italian twist like a Parmesan-infused potato for instance. Patrons won’t find the “chicken Parm” of typical Italian restaurants, Tracey said. Sabella’s features nine pastas. The Sabellas say they have spent their first month here clearing up a misconception among some patrons that they are a reconstituted LaBella’s, an Italian restaurant on Highway 17 that closed. Only the names are similar, she said.
Hours are Monday-Thursday, 4 to 9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday, 4 p.m. to late night. Make reservations at 843-235-4020 or get more information at sabellasitalian.com.
New York Pizza |Brothers Max and Armond Alou have opened New York Pizza Kitchen and Sweet Cups Pawleys Island Creamery at Pawleys Market in the two spaces north of Lowe’s Foods.
New York Pizza features a hand-tossed “king crust” with all fresh ingredients baked in a brick oven, according to Max Alou. Pizzas are sold whole and by the slice. The restaurant also offers 14 hoagies, stromboli, calzone, pasta, burgers and salads for dining in or take-out. Order at 843-353-2160.
Sweet Cups features 10 flavors of frozen yogurt and 16 flavors of ice cream with 36 toppings. It has three flavors of gelato and offers coffee, cappuccino, mochaccino and espresso.
The Alou brothers have run restaurants in Myrtle Beach for 15 years and been in business 27 years overall.
The pizza parlor is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. with plans for later summer hours. The ice cream shop is open seven days a week from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Divine Dining Group | will open three restaurants in one this month at the former site of Nosh in the Hammock Shops. Plans call for the Pawleys Pavilion Bar and Cafe on the covered deck with Cera Sushi and Pawleys Prime, a steak and seafood restaurant, inside.
Velma Mobley has been retained as general manager.