Whether it was the coincidence of meeting complete strangers from Pennsylvania at Harbour Town this morning and telling them about Sea Shack (where “the locals” dine) or whether the place has been on our minds since we arrived here two weeks ago, whatever the reason, we found ourselves cycling to this exceedingly modest restaurant for lunch today. This is the first time we’ve dined out since our arrival on the Island. And what a great way to start! It’s a Maritime hallmark! As always we were not disappointed. And as usual I had the identical meal I’ve had every time I have been there – a cup of soup (which daily varies between clam chowder and seafood bisque), blackened Grouper, cole slaw and corn bread. The meal always comes with three Hush Puppies (corn fritters). To drink I had unsweetened tea with a lemon wedge. We ate at one of three out-of-doors picnic tables next to the restaurant. It was the same Mexican server who delivered our meals to us, a single mom immigrant who came here about 25 years ago to escape the violence of Mexico City. She told us that she is tired of moonlighting at the yacht club, that she finds the patrons there too picky and that she is looking for a “good man” so she’ll be able to give up that “extra” job. The female cashier also recognized us when we arrived and placed our order. She welcomed us back.
These accolades are particularly significant because Sea Shack is a place that serves its food on plastic plates with plastic utensils. Except for the outside picnic tables, the tables and chairs are plastic too. You must help yourself to your choice of sweetened or unsweetened tea cafeteria style; and normally you have to collect your own order from the kitchen counter when it is ready. The restrooms are outside at the end of the sidewalk in front of the restaurant building. And yet the little restaurant is reputed to be one of the best 10 seafood restaurants in all of South Carolina! For my part I do not doubt it in the least! Everything about our respective meals today was done to perfection! And we each had different things from the menu. I especially appreciate that the flavours of the food instantly put me in mind of all that I know and adore about seafood dining in a beach town, whether here or Key West or Cape Cod. With each morsel the alarm bells sound!
When we first visited Hilton Head Island six years ago for a comparatively brief three weeks we dined out quite regularly. We tried mostly formal dining places, all of which were delightful. However since we began staying here for a lengthy period we have lost our interest in evening meals in restaurants. We still go out for the occasional breakfast and lunch. Our breakfast haunts are a diner in a nearby local mall and a “locals place” in a marina on the Ocean. The luncheon places are pretty much restricted to Annie O’s Southern Eats and of course Sea Shack. We have discovered as well that we can arrange a very satisfactory lunch or dinner by collecting pre-cooked orders from Fresh Market, whether lobster macaroni, Oysters Rockefeller, meatloaf, fried chicken or pork loin roast, all superlative!
Our delicious lunch at Sea Shack today put us in a great mood! The cycle back home from Coligny Beach Park was the ideal afternoon follow-up, sailing through the warm Ocean air into the dazzling sunshine, surrounded by the glistening water. It must have been a soporific because within moments of locking up my bike in the rack outside our condo I was asleep by the pool in the declining sunshine.