Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Kiawah Island Vacation 2014 – Dining Options

This year’s June 2014 vacation spent on Kiawah had a slightly better kick to it. This year we had the honor of having extended family from Chicago join us in addition to meeting up with cousins from Atlanta. We got a lot of beach time with family along with other fun outdoor activities each day. The days all concluded with some really great moments of breaking bread with family, friends and good conversation.

I am a foodie by nature so I figured dining stops merited their own post. My play time and other outdoor activities will get written down her at some later time.

Eating Out in the Low Country

During our time in Kiawah, we prepared a little over half of our meals during the week.  We stocked up on groceries at the West Ashley Publix to get us through most breakfasts, lunches, and a few dinners.  Over half of the evening meals were prepared by our parents (my in-laws) as we walked over to their villa just a stone’s throw down tennis club. The in-laws were once again more than gracious with their hospitality. The meal quality and company was second to none.  Aside from Kiawah’s natural beauty, vacationing with extended family is a prime reason we keep coming back to this area. When we did not eat our meals “in house”, we visited the following places to dine.

Reds Ice House (John’s Island - Bohicket) – Our first dining out experience was Monday night at Red’s Ale house at the Bohicket Marina near Seabrook Island. Our group had spent the day at the beach enjoying sand and surf and preferred to keep things close to home. The wait for a table at Red’s was about half hour, but we did score an outside table which was a bonus. The food was decent as usual as table orders included blackened grouper sandwiches, peel and eat shrimp, assorted salads, she-crab soup, fish and chips and crab legs (noted specialty at Red’s). As far as I am concerned they could have served me a cheese quesadilla and I would have ranked the experience as phenomenal simply due to the sunset view over the marina. The view encouraged us to remain for a drink or two more and spot a very large storm cloud out on the horizon that displayed some pretty stellar lightning; though too far to be of any concern.

Vincent’s (John’s Island - Freshfields)
Always a mandatory stop, I brought the kids to Vincent’s for ice cream. The place was hopping with a lunch crowd at two o’clock and very noisy. It wasn’t quite the same experience as with previous drop ins during my walks around Freshfields. The counter help consisted of five teenagers bumping into each other and concerned with discussing their own private lives and telling jokes. Attention to customers seemed secondary.  When it came down to processing orders, there really seemed to be just two people doing all the labor with the other three just standing around. Didn’t quite understand that work flow.  Perhaps it was just a shift change and that stirred some commotion. Regardless, the cones took about ten minutes to prepare for just myself and my three kids! The lack of attention made the tip jar on the counter come off as quite comical.

Lucky Lucianos Pizza (Bohicket)
After another one of our long beach mornings, we returned to the villa for lunch. I ordered two pizzas from Lucky Luciano’s over at Bohicket. Pizza was ready within a half hour. I ordered a plain cheese and an Italian sausage thin crust. The pizzas were pretty decent and the price was fair as it set me back about $30; much cheaper than the Market at Kiawah. The gentleman that rang up the order and handed me the pizzas could not have been any nicer.  In my fourteen or so years of travelling to Kiawah, I have always hoped a good pizza joint would thrive down here. I hope this business lasts a long time.

Bessinger’s  (Charleston)
We did our mandatory Thursday evening stop at Bessingers in Charleston.  Why visit Bessinger’s on Thursday? Well, because kids can eat for $.99. It used to be free, but I will happily pay a buck a kid. It was a great evening of barbecue (Big Joe), sweet onion rings and iced tea. The added benefit of world cup soccer being televised on the flat screens inside the dining room was the cherry on the sundae. I would love to have a Bessinger’s up here in Chicago. As with most restaurants in South Carolina, don’t pass up the banana pudding at this joint!

Sticky Finger’s Barbecue (Charleston)
Like Bessingers, a trip to Sticky Fingers is an annual ritual. We ended up stopping in early Friday afternoon after walking through the Market. The lunch menu was pretty solid and reasonably priced. Just about the whole group ordered some sort of barbecue lunch special whether in the form of ribs, pulled pork, pulled chicken or wings.  The meals tasted good and I was happy to get my fix of sweet potato casserole as a side dish. The food server was a tad irritable and seemed annoyed by the size of our larger group of eleven. He did finally manage a smile, though only when he was paid his tip.

King Street Grill (Freshfield’s)
We ended our week at King Street in the shopping mall. We did our final Friday dip in the ocean at sunset and all had room for some light fare and drinks. The restaurant was bopping as the wait time was close to an hour. Apparently King Street and most of Freshfields is quite busy on Fridays! The influx of customers at King Street was attributed to the lawn entertainment concluding. Overall, the food and service were good, and I did enjoy the sports bar theme with several flat screens located throughout the restaurant. Our group came in with light appetites as we had dined on Sticky Fingers earlier in the day. Everyone went with appetizers and drinks. The food was solid and wait staff seemed attentive to our needs. Our waitress even referred to my twelve year old daughter as “princess” which I mockingly dubbed her the rest of the evening. Doesn’t that make me a King?  I will have to come back here at some point and get a regular sized meal.

Restaurants missed

A week’s time did not allow us to hit our usual favorites. Yes, we got our good fix of barbecue and had some good seafood at Reds, but I have a few I will need to visit next trip. I will have to pay a return visit to Hominy Grill, Mustard Seed and J.B’s smoke shack. Until then, I will be counting down the days until my next visit.

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