By Wendy Pollitzer
A few weeks ago, I came to the counter at Red Roster Café to pick up my to-go order. The lovely and pleasant Ashley Robinson Buckley (newly wed) asked if I still wrote the lunch bunch column, and I sadly said no. When asked to fill in for Pamela Brownstein this week while she takes a well-deserved vacation as Editor of The Island News, I happily said yes. And what a nice surprise it was to be asked to write the Lunch Bunch column about one of my favorite restaurants in town, The Red Rooster Café.
The eclectic and humorous Brendon Smalls, a familiar face at Red Rooster, served us first our drinks…all delivered in the classic southern staple, a mason jar. Joining me were Elizabeth Newberry, Nikki Hardison and Irene Goodnight. Irene ordered an Arnold Palmer and was delighted that Brendon offered the mixed berry honey lemonade as an alternative to the standard summer favorite. In fact, he told us that Red Rooster changes its lemonade options three times per week. It’s details like that that really sets the restaurant apart from others.
Ashley and Brendan were kind enough to bring us some starters that included their infamous crispy potato chips and four perfectly battered southern fried green tomatoes, served with a yummy guava sauce and topped with roasted red peppers and brie cheese on top of baby spinach greens.
Choosing from the menu for our entrees was the hardest part. Red Rooster offers a selection of breakfast items (as meals and a la carte), salads, sandwiches, Panini’s and burgers. As diverse as our choices were, our palettes were equally pleased with our plated works of art. Irene chose the Special for the day…an oven roasted chicken breast covered and smothered with pepper jack cheese, crispy bacon and an Italian drizzle squeezed between a toasted hoagie roll. Nikki opted for the Yo Adrian, a toasted ciabatta sandwich with ham, pepperoni, salami, provolone cheese, banana peppers and condiments paired with a classic Italian dressing. Elizabeth ordered
from the Panini selections and decided on the Pepper Jack Skip Jack, a sourdough Panini with tuna salad, the obvious namesake…pepper jack cheese and a fresh Lowcountry tomato. I was craving a burger this particular day and thoroughly enjoyed my Kissin’ Kate, a patty topped with roasted red peppers, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions and finished with a melted brie cheese.
Stuffed and satisfied, we politely asked Brendan for our to-go boxes when he surprised us with yet another treat…four tasty root beer floats. We toasted to a fun summer and drank the delightful, youthful dessert beverage as Brendan brought us even more sugar. He presented a plate of cookies…white macadamia nut, chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, rocky road and peanut butter. I had to take some home to my daughters, Abbie and Julia, who subsequently devoured them in 30 seconds flat after dinner.
We had such a delightful experience at Red Rooster as always. It’s a timeless institution in Beaufort, though not very old. Owner, Courtney Keith has figured out a way to create a relaxed atmosphere with traditional ambiance and deliver delicious Southern cooking with a progressive, flavorful twist. Influenced by American, French and Hawaiian cuisine, Red Rooster Café has the comfort of a meat and three diner with the sophistication of a world-class bistro.
Red Roster Café is located at 1210 Ribaut Road and is open Mon.-Sat. from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. They can be reached at 843-379-2253.