Category: South Carolina

St. Francis Thrift Shop, 6 Southwood Park Drive Hilton Head Island, SC

The St. Francis Thrift Shop on Hilton Head is definitely worth a visit. It is one of the larger shops, with one full room for clothing and household items, and a separate area for furniture and other larger pieces.

The prices are generally good, with an approximate $3.00 starting price for clothing separates (ie shirts, shorts). Of note is the .50 t-shirt rack, where you can find a nice variety of event-specific, advertising-type shirts. I pickup up a nice pink one from the Hilton Head Rugby Club.

Everything is well organized and sorted by type of item.  There are also typically several specials, which are posted near the entrance and throughout the store. On the day I visited, items with a certain color tag were all $1.00, and another color tag was 50% off. There is a designer section in the back that is worth checking out; it has its own half-price section, and there are plenty of reasonably priced brands in that area.

My biggest complaint about the shop is that the sale prices can be somewhat *flexible”. Just because the signage clearly states something is on sale (ie blue tags are 50% off) does NOT necessarily mean that all items with blue tags are 50% off. I tried to purchase a blue tag item and was told that this specific item was excluded from the sale. I asked for an explanation, as it was clearly stated in multiple places throughout the store that blue tags were reduced, and was not given a satisfactory answer. (The explanation that “the cost of this item is already low enough” did not work for me. If ALL blue tags aren’t 50% off, then the signs should say so. If a volunteer put the wrong tag or price on an item, the store should still honor it.)

The cashier who assisted me was not particularly friendly, and did not seem at all familiar with the store’s pricing and specials. While not overtly rude, she didn’t smile or seem happy to be there. (I will mention that the gentleman doing the bagging was very personable. I enjoyed chatting with him, and it was because of his friendliness that my overall rating isn’t lower.)

This cashier also had no clue about the specials. She didn’t seem to believe me when I told her that the two t-shirts I had found on the .50 rack (these were not priced individually) were actually .50. I had to point the rack out to her so that she could read the sign for herself. Then she didn’t know that one tag color meant that the item was on sale for $1.00; I had to direct her to the nearest sign (which was ON the checkout counter) before she would honor the price. There was also the above-referenced “THIS blue tag is excluded from the 50% off sale, although we have no real explanation as to why” issue I mentioned above.

I should also note that, last summer, I had a similar problem. There was a sign by the belt rack saying that cloth belts were on sale for .50. I spent quite a bit of time looking through them all, and selected several cloth belts. The cashier tried to charge me $2.00 each for them, as that is the standard price for belts. I explained about the sale sign; she said that is must have been posted by mistake and didn’t want to honor the price. I argued enough that the posted price was eventually honored, but don’t enjoy feeling like I have try to convince a store to honor posted prices.

Final verdict: A nice shop, with plenty of good deals to be found. Just be prepared to argue your case if the cashier doesn’t want to honor the store’s posted sale pricing!



Captain Woody’s, 6 Target Road, Hilton Head, SC

We had dinner at Captain Woody’s on July 22, 2016. The overall ambiance of the restaurant was exactly what you’d expect from a seafood place in a beach town. There was plenty of wood planking, featuring an indoor “dock”, palm trees with lights, and a wonderful string light display covering the ceiling. There was no AC, but the giant ceiling fan kept the air circulating enough to keep the main dining area at a comfortable temperature.

The food was very good, and mostly reasonably priced. I had a very large salad with grilled chicken for $9.99. The chicken was cooked perfectly and lightly seasoned, and the salad included a variety of greens, onions, two kinds of peppers, carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers. The highlight, however, was the light tomato vinaigrette dressing. Slightly spicy, with a nice tomato flavor, it was a welcome change from the usual balsamic that every other restaurant offers as the only light option.

Another diner in our party ordered the fish and chips platter (fish, fries, and hushpuppies), and said that everything was delicious, especially the fish. I sampled both the fries and hushpuppies, and thought both were quite tasty. Of note, the hushpuppies had some peppers baked into them, making them a bit different than what I’ve tried at other restaurants. Our junior diner thoroughly enjoyed his grilled cheese sandwich with bacon.

The service was prompt and friendly. All the waitstaff members we saw were dressed in casual shorts and Captain Woody’s t-shirts. I was pleased to see that they all looked comfortable and appropriate, unlike the servers at many restaurants who are apparently required to wear the tightest clothing they can possibly fit into.

A couple of minor points:
1. Our table appeared to have been wiped down, but it was still sticky when we were seated.
2. I thought the hushpuppy appetizer was a bit overpriced compared to the rest of the menu, at $6 for 8 hushpuppies. They were quite tasty, but a few more would have been nice for the price.

Plus bonus points for the awesome autographed photo of Dick Butkus!

Overall, four out of five wheels of gouda!



Coco’s on the Beach, 663 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head Island, SC

We stopped by Coco’s for lunch today, 7/21/16, as we were spending the day on the adjacent beach. I had been wanting to try it out, as it definitely has a nice “local” feel to it. Lots of hand-painted decor directly on the walls, as well as the tables, plus the open air seating within sight of the beach make this a great lunch option.

The menu is limited to burgers/hotdogs/fries, but Coco’s seems to stock a variety of beer, and offers a nice selection of beachy cocktails. We were lucky and managed to queue up to order when there wasn’t a line, and were able to place out order quickly. It took over 30 minutes for our food to be ready, but the wait was worth it. We all had burgers, plus a side order of fries (which can easily be split two or three ways).

What can I say…the burgers were delicious! They seemed to have been hand-pressed, were quite large, and were served HOT and cooked exactly as requested. The toppings were also generous. The price ($8 for any burger, regardless of toppings) plus the side order of fries (split among the group) seems comparable to other casual restaurants in the area.

Now for the negatives…my main complaint was the incredibly bad drink refill service. We were given our (non-alcoholic) drinks when we ordered, and sipped on them while we waited. Issue #1: Coco’s offers ONLY ONE refill. Issue #2: We took our cups with us when we went to pick up our food and were told that, for refills, we had to go to the back of the line of people waiting to place food orders. WHAT? We had to wait in a (fairly long at the time) line to get the drinks we’d already paid for while the food we’d just received sat there getting cold. The only other option was to eat lunch with no beverages. Issue #3: After waiting in line, we finally got our refills, which were served WITHOUT ANY ICE. Obviously more staff is needed to provide an adequate level of service for patrons. While I’d eat at Coco’s again, I would skip the drink and plan to eat on the beach with unlimited refills from my own cooler.

Another (more minor) issue was the Great Ketchup Quest. You’d think that a place that serves only burgers and hotdogs would make sure there was ketchup on each table, but ours was missing. We tracked down a bottle on a nearby table, but it was almost empty. The next bottle we found (on the other side of the restaurant) was runny, but usable. Perhaps the new staffer(s) that Coco’s should hire could make sure that the condiments were refilled regularly, in addition to handling drink refills.

Another issue I had with Coco’s was the smoking. Since the establishment is entirely open-air, I assume it is exempt from the usual restaurant smoking ban. However, this doesn’t require them to allow smoking! Why not at least leave the main seating area smoke-free, and restrict smoking to the back area, if it has to be allowed at all? Even better, let anyone who wants to smoke do so on the surrounding sidewalks or beach area. We were lucky enough not to have any smokers nearby (although I had to walk through a cloud to get to the restroom). But it was pure luck; I would not have been pleased if I’d had to eat while inhaling someone else’s fumes!

Overall, four out of five cheddar chunks, but only because the burgers were so good!


Up the Creek, 8 Simmons Road, Hilton Head, SC

During my travels around town yesterday (July 19, 2016), a local I was chatting with recommended Up the Creek as a great place to eat and watch the fireworks (the town puts on a show every Tuesday at 9:30pm). I followed his advice and have to say that this place is one of the area’s lesser-known gems.

First, the restaurant offers both interior and patio seating, both of which were quite pleasant during the dinner hour. The indoor decor was a delightful mix of directly-on-the-wall painting, hanging art, and unique kitsch. My favorites included the dollar bills upon which patrons had written various messages, and the display of hanging hats (most likely a unique lost and found display?).  Perfect island flair!

The service was prompt and friendly. Everyone working there was constantly on the move, working, chatting with customers, and generally looking happy to be there. The staff seemed willing and eager to pitch in as needed to serve the patrons as efficiently as possible.

The food was also good. As usual, I sampled the meals ordered by my dinner companions, both of whom ordered the burger/fries meal. The burgers were wonderful, juicy, and cooked exactly to order. The fries were particularly good, with just the right amount of seasoning. I ordered an entree salad, and was pleased with it, although (in general) I interpret “mixed greens” to mean more of a variety than just iceberg and romaine. The salad was topped with a generous amount of tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, and croutons (onions also available, but I opted out). Plenty of tasty dressing was served on the side, to be added to taste.

My one complaint about the whole experience (and the thing that kept me from being able to give a 5-slice rating) was that, for some unknown reason, my personal side order of hushpuppies was served to the table (well before the meal) as an appetizer. As it seemed rude to point out to the rest of the party that the dish was part of my meal, I only had a few bites of my side dish. The hushpuppies were wonderful, but, as a rule, any dish not ordered as an appetizer, or “for the table/for the group” should be served as part of the meal, and only to the person who actually ordered it.

The single, unisex bathroom was well-stocked and remarkably clean, given the amount (virtually constant steam) of use it got while I was in the restaurant. It also sported nice decor in keeping with the overall theme of the establishment.

I highly recommend trying this restaurant, especially on a Tuesday night around 7 or 7:30pm (to allow plenty of time to catch the fireworks from the nearby dock afterwards).

4.5 out of 5 provolone slices!