Keeping culinary diversity is crucial for Beaufort

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By Pamela Brownstein
When I heard recently that Port Royal Pasta Company on Ribaut Road had closed, I was surprised. It seemed to be busy, and there was a buzz about the food. When I heard that Heckler’s in Beaufort Town Center had closed, I was shocked. The food was really good, and it appeared to me to be a popular place, especially during karaoke night. Then when I heard that The Tooting Egret downtown was closing, I was floored. The food there was excellent, and I always saw people eating outside. It was personally upsetting because the general manager Matt had been so generous by donating his time and knowledge of wines to help us throw a fundraiser at the restaurant that was just fabulous.
The restaurant businesses is tough, and no more so in a still-struggling economy, so I wish all the employees a speedy job recovery.
But in the midst of this depressing news, there is hope on the horizon. The old Koth’s grocery store on North Street will likely see new life as “Ole Cantina,” a barbecue joint is slated for the former coffee shop in Port Royal, and a bakery could make its home on Carteret Street. As sad as it is to see local businesses close their doors, the news of these ventures opens up many windows of possibility and opportunity.
I feel fortunate that The Island News is able to feature local restaurants weekly. Eateries graciously open their doors to the Lunch Bunch, and we provide our readers with a sampling of what the menu offers. Our goal is to reach diners who might otherwise not have known about the restaurants. I often drive past a place and think, “That looks good, I wonder what it’s like? Or, I wonder when it’s open?” Hopefully, our articles help take the guess work out for would-be clients.
Also, our Dining Guide on page 26 lists all the local spots and is a good resource for the question that arises at least once a week in our house: “What do you want for dinner?” It’s fun to pick any place on that page, especially somewhere you’ve never been before, and try it at least once.
For Beaufort, maintaining our identity as a worthwhile destination depends a great deal on providing delicious, unique, affordable restaurants that appeal to both residents and tourists. So get out there and support your local businesses!