Captain Woody’s BLUFFTON
BY BARRY KAUFMAN • PHOTOS BY ROB KAUFMAN
This may come as a shock to many Blufftonians, but there is another Captain Woody’s. It’s on Hilton Head Island. We know, this may come as a surprise. Feel free to sit down while you read on. Yes, the stalwart wood-sided institution that has anchored the Promenade since the dawn of Bluffton’s modern era of explosive development (2008-present) is actually the expansion team. Captain Woody’s Bar and Grill Bluffton is such an iconic Old Town landmark, most people not only assume that it’s been there forever, but express genuine shock that there’s another one on Hilton Head Island. “We get that a lot, actually,” said manager Lauren Jorden with a laugh. It’s not hard to understand how people can be confused. For one, there’s the laudable attention to conservation that was putting into sourcing reclaimed material for the restaurant. Many of the tables were repurposed from Hilton 68
The iconic island restaurant picked the perfect time to expand to Bluffton. Eight years in, it’s a crucial part of the State of Mind. Head’s old Chart House. The hostess stand is made of recovered timbers from the old dock at Palmetto Bay Marina. Then there’s the signature double doors under a gothic archway that greet you upon entering, pulled from an old Philadelphia fire house. “People ask us all the time what our building used to be,” said Jordan. “I have to explain that it was built brand new to fit in with the feel of Old Town Blufffton.” But it’s not just the décor’s throwback style. It’s also the fact that something about Captain Woody’s just makes it feel like it’s always been there. Maybe it’s in
the menu’s casual-comfort-food approach to fresh, delicious seafood. There’s something about the satisfying crack of a crab leg that pairs so exquisitely with a bucket of beers and cool breezes crossing the screened in lanai that you can only get here. You won’t find a hint of pretense on the menu, just classic seafood dishes prepared for the exact kind of laid-back lifestyle that Bluffton engenders. Sure you can order scallops jasmine in a delicate mornay sauce that balances béchamel and gruyere and be suitably impressed. But you’d be missing out on the simple magnificence that is the grouper melt. Or the tangy, perfectly textured fried oysters tumbling out of a brioche bun on the signature Po Boy. So it could be the tried-and-true menu that makes Captain Woody’s feel like it’s always been there. Or it could be the masterful way the building was constructed to feel historic.