Lunch Bunching at the Red Rooster Cafe

6 mins read


It was almost mid-afternoon when the Lunch Bunch straggled into the Red Rooster Café in its semi-new location on Boundary Street. Not to be confused with the Red Lobster, which briefly occupied the building, the Red Rooster has been delighting Beaufort diners since 2011, when it first established itself on Ribaut Rd. 

Island News staffers, left to right: Margaret Evans, Betty Davis, Mike McCombs and Hope Oswald. Not pictured: Jeff Evans

While waiting for a couple of late arrivals, we perused the menu. The humor and creativity displayed there is reason enough to give this restaurant a try. How can you not love a place that gives its sandwiches names like The Humpty Dumpty, Toasted Disco, Yo, Adrian, and Wile E Coyote? 

There’s a burger called Hey, Y’all and one called Rooster Cogburn, and the salads sport names like Et Tu, Brute, Veggin’ Out, and The Free Bird. 

Hope was running late – and our stomachs were growling – so we ordered for her, a Panini called The Gobbler. (Our server said it was a house favorite.) Betty ordered the Curried Rooster Waldorf sandwich, I had the Pear Necessities salad, Jeff got the Southern Sunrise breakfast (you can order breakfast all day!), and Mike ordered the Butch Cassidy burger, with a starter of She Crab Soup. 

Mike was done with work for the day, so he was able to avail himself of the Red Rooster’s full bar. Margaritas were his poison of choice, and he was forced to order a second when he found that the She Crab Soup – though delicious and full of crab – contained a healthy dose of paprika.

Betty declared her Curried Rooster Waldorf sandwich outstanding. “It’s a real treat,” she said. “Not over-curried.” Hope thoroughly enjoyed The Gobbler Panini – with its roasted turkey breast, soft brie and homemade strawberry sauce – and especially loved the Asian slaw that came with it.

Jeff’s Southern Sunrise satisfied his mid-day hankering for breakfast and even surpassed his expectations. It’s hard to go wrong with a hearty serving of eggs and sausage, but grits can be dicey. These were particularly good – stone ground and fluffed to perfection. 

“The best part,” he said, “is that I’m sitting here eating breakfast at 1:45 pm.”

I had ordered the Pear Necessities salad almost entirely because of its name – I like to reward whimsy – but it’s just as delicious as it is cleverly-named. A spring mix topped with fresh pears, dried cranberries, grilled chicken, sweet and salty toasted pecans, bacon, and feta… with light poppy seed dressing. Need I elaborate? 

Mike had finished his She Crab Soup, and his second margarita, and it was time to tackle the Butch Cassidy Burger. He deemed it “a good, big, basic burger.” (Personally, this is all I want a burger to be. Ever.) 

He was especially impressed with the pasta salad on the side, calling it “very rich and creamy; heavy on mayonnaise.” 

Near the end of lunch, manager Fredrick McKnight paid a visit to our table. Freddie’s one of those F&B people who loves the business and has mastered every aspect of it. 

“I started at Dockside as a dishwasher when I was a teenager,” he told us. “Pretty soon, I discovered cooking and thought: This is it!” 

He’s been in the biz ever since and clearly does a little bit of everything – or, more likely, a lot of everything – at the Red Rooster.

Freddie told us that the restaurant recently extended its hours. After years of serving only breakfast and lunch, they now serve dinner Wednesday-Saturday. (And remember, there’s a full bar!) They also serve free breakfast most Friday mornings to cadets graduating from boot camp on Parris Island. 

“These kids are risking more than I ever would to serve our country,” he said. “Feeding them breakfast is the least we can do.” 

Freddie McKnight is a good guy and The Red Rooster Cafe is a delightful restaurant. We of the Island News Lunch Bunch give its two thumbs up and a promise to return soon.

Red Rooster Café

2045 Boundary Street

Beaufort, SC


Mon and Tues: 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Wed-Fri: 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Sat: 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Sun: 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Top photograph: Red Rooster manager Fredrick McKnight

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