Story and Photography by Lindsay Gifford
When I first walked into 843 nearly six months ago, I was immediately charmed. With built-in shelves lined with cookbooks, paintings and interesting knick-knacks, antique hanging windows and an ecclectic mix of furniture, the restaurant makes you feel at home. However, it's not all about its good looks, 843 offers a one-of-a-kind menu that spans from Asian fusion to fresh local seafood. With spring here and the patio open for al fresco dining, this hidden gem should be on your list to experience.
843 began as a breakfast and tapas restaurant nearly a year-and-a-half ago, and shortly moved into offering lunch and dinner service. Now, the restaurant boasts a fantastic Sunday brunch, great happy hour specials, and daily lunch and dinner menus, featuring fresh, farm-to-table offerings. New owner Kathy Watson bought 843 in January, after moving to the island nearly a year ago. With a history from catering to practicing law at the CIA, she decided it was the perfect opportunity for her. She says, "It was my favorite restaurant on the island because of the excellent food and service. We plan to build and expand on what we currently have." In fact, Kathy has taken the dessert menu to heart and has worked to expand it with her own recipes, which include key lime cheesecake, chocolate Kahlúa fantasy cake and chocolate turtle brownie sunday. I had to try one of course...delicious!
Kathy works hand-in-hand with General Manager Jaison and Executive Chef Steven Blitch to offer a worldwide electic menu with a seasonal influence. Chef Steven, a S.C. native, brings a Southern cuisine upbringing, with various influences he's learned along the way, culminating in a deep well of flavorful knowledge. The 843 team believes in serving local, fresh ingredients. I was able to experience first hand when the team served seasoned scallops with wasabi mashed potatoes for me to sample. The scallops were fresh and perfectly seasoned—delectable! 843 also offers an extensive wine list that is very unique for the Island. Jaison says "We have a vast wine inventory and we go to great lengths to bring it in."
The restaurant features many unique twists. They offer a "beachy-elegant" atmosphere, creating a cozy table setting. The chandeliers placed strategically throughout, offer instant appeal as they shimmer and shine. Their repertoire also includes an ecclectic collection of plates, which makes the dining experience fun. You never know what you will get!
Champagne is also an important reccuring theme at 843. The "Press for Champagne" button at a few of the tables is probably one of the most photographed table accoutraments around. It allows for a fun twist on your normal refill, adding livliness to the mix. In addition, the "Save Water, Drink Champagne" painting is a fan favorite. The experience is rounded out with great music, which is live on certain nights of the week.
The Web site, www.843via808.com, also comes with a story. 843, obviously stands for the local area code, and was started by a previous owner from Hawaii with the 808 area code. Their site offers menus and more insite into the restaurant. 843 offers catering for birthday parties, graduation parties, cocktail hours and office parties. Their delectable bites are great for any party!
Whether you are visiting or a long-time islander, be sure to stop in and try out this hot spot. The Sunday Brunch is a real experience you don't want to miss. Bon appétite!
Fresh Market Shoppes, Ste 1
890 William Hilton Parkway
Hilton Head Island