Diner appeals to Michiganders' taste in hot dogs

July 5, 2009 

When Robert McCloskey started dating a chef five years ago, he figured she could help him launch a diner-like restaurant to bring his beloved Michigan-style hot dogs to Hilton Head Island.

Just one problem: Dina Walker didn't want to cook hot dogs.

After training at a culinary institute in New York and cooking more elaborate dishes for more than 20 years at restaurants in North Carolina, Virginia and on Hilton Head, Walker wasn't at first enchanted with her boyfriend's idea.

"I just couldn't grasp the concept," she said.

McCloskey put it more simply: "She told me I was crazy."

Walker changed her mind once McCloskey took her to visit his childhood home of Clarkston, Mich.

Numerous diners there serve breakfast, usually with menus that include Greek influences.

By the time they returned to the island, Walker had bought into her boyfriend's dream.

After working on a business plan for several years, McCloskey and Walker opened Southern Coney and Breakfast on June 1 in a remodeled Pizza Hut at 70-J Pope Ave., near Bi-Lo in the Circle Center.

Their signature Coney dog comes with chili, mustard and onions. They serve breakfast and lunch all day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with daily lunch and dessert specials.

Their restaurant, with white walls and black trim, is built to serve "homemade food made fast."

Although the fare is similar to a traditional diner, the couple try to add some healthier touches with salads and fresh ingredients.

For example, McCloskey orders coffee from a company that sends beans to him as soon as they're roasted. As a former golf pro, he insisted his restaurant serve better java than he was used to at area golf clubs.

"They've got all this money and these huge machines," he said, "and the coffee's terrible."

So far, he has sold about 250 pounds of his first 1,200-pound pallet of Koegel's hot dogs shipped from Michigan.

He hopes his restaurant will resonate particularly well with people from his home state and former residents of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.

"They've all got their own version of this," he said.

Details: 843-689-2447.


Other recent business openings, closings and changes in the area:

• The proprietor of Remy's Bar & Grill on Hilton Head is expanding his hours and menu at a new location.

Roy Prescott has taken space that had been vacant since he opened his nearby bar in late 2007.

The new place, named Also Remy's, is within steps of the bar on the same courtyard in Heritage Plaza. It opened about two weeks ago.

Because the former Chinese restaurant has buffet facilities and better lighting, it replaced the bar as Prescott's lunch spot, serving a meat and three side dishes from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sandwiches, a seafood menu and a salad bar also are available. On Sundays, a buffet will be served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

After a short break, Also Remy's then serves dinner -- featuring a seafood buffet, full beef and seafood menu and salad bar -- from 5 to 10 p.m. The seafood buffet revives a tradition Prescott started at a previous location near Sea Pines Circle.

After another break, Also Remy's reopens again at midnight to serve a breakfast buffet, omelets sandwiches and munchies until 6 a.m.

That change means the island's hospitality workers have a new option for late-night dining after they finish their shifts, Prescott said.

"It's a shame they can't get something to drink," said Prescott, a vociferous critic of the town's recent decision to restrict bar hours, "but at least they can get something to eat."

Remy's Bar & Grill is now open from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. Monday through Friday and 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. It serves a full menu until midnight and offers live music seven nights a week, with occasional theme parties.

Both locations offer patio seating, and Prescott plans to add a courtyard bar.

He hopes the two establishments complement each other.

"We're trying to be full service," he said. "This gives us the best of both worlds, almost under the same roof."

Details: Call 843-842-3800, visit www.remysbarandgrill.com or search "Remy's Bar" on Facebook.

If you want to let Island Packet readers know about your business opening, closing or changing, or if you're a reader wondering what is going on at a particular location, contact reporter Josh McCann at jmccann@islandpacket.com or 843-706-8145.

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