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Sound, Color, Flavor:

Gringo’s Diner BY BARRY KAUFMAN • PHOTOS BY ROB KAUFMAN

To witness Gringo’s Diner at the height of a lunch rush is to see the brilliance of pure chemistry and effortless teamwork at its finest. Swirling through the colors and light of the diner’s quirky and charming décor, co-owner Adi Aliu is like a dancer in a ballet that takes her soaring past tables, out the front door, back in through the rear door and right back to the open kitchen behind the wide counter of bar stools. With fresh veggies and meats sizzling 16

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on the grill, co-owner and Chef Ariel Palma puts on a show of his own as he somehow works a varied menu across his relatively small workspace. With the kitchen spread out before customers, and the whirling dervish of Palma tearing through orders, it’s a common sight to see the bar stool crowd craning their necks to get a better view of the show. The aromas of his craft fill the space of the dinner, drifting through a buzz of conversation and creating a full sensory experience.

But of course, the experience isn’t complete until you’ve tasted what Chef Palma is creating on that grill. As much fun as the spectacle of a popular beachside diner is, the food is the real star of the show here. “Everything is fresh here; not a lot of people realize that,” said Palma, reaching up to a shelf to grab a potato. “See this?

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Hilton Head Island Dining, Restaurants and Nightlife