Spring is in the air at The DryDock Seafood, Grill & Spirits on Hilton Head Island, where live music is back on the deck on Friday evenings and the outdoor tables are popular for lunch. On March 18, acoustic singer Joan Solley will play, with musician Rich Graham.
Owner Rob Arbogast said St. Patrick's Day is "probably our biggest day all year" and the celebration that began after the island's annual parade stretches on through at least tomorrow. Arbogast is serving homemade corned beef and cabbage ($9.99) today and Thursday, "and Friday if we have any left," he said.
The DryDock has been a staple of the island bar scene since 1994. Since moving in 2009 from its former home near The Sea Shack, the eatery's staff has focused on the food. The DryDock's thin, sweet onion rings ($4.50) served with Cajun remoulade get rave reviews, as an appetizer by themselves or accompanying seafood sliders ($9). The sliders are three small sandwiches with your choice of grilled mahi-mahi, fried clams or fried shrimp -mix them any way you want.
Both seafood and beef are done well at The Dry Dock. Try the mussels or clams in garlic and wine sauce ($8), which are sauteed with butter, garlic, wine and basil. Chef Al Howard uses grouper for the fish and chips basket, and the fries are homemade from whole potatoes.
On the deck, John Detert tends bar every day starting at 3:30 p.m. Also outside, Rob Arbogast smokes Boston butts on a charcoal grill. Then the staff pulls the pork to make The DryDock's famous barbecue. Starting the weekend after The Heritage and running through the summer, The DryDock hosts Sunday afternoon cook outs called "Beach, Music and Barbecue," serving ribs, fish and shrimp tacos, bratwurst and steak, all cooked on the grill.
The DryDock is a refreshing mix of regulars and visitors at the bar, and diners who are there for a tasty, affordable meal. These days, many patrons at the curved, copper-accented bar are focused on NCAA action on the flat screen TVs. Near the eatery's entrance, a table shuffleboard game draws enthusiastic players who push metal-andplastic pucks down a long, smooth wooden table into a scoring area at the opposite end.
The shuffleboard game, which co-owner Vickie Arbogast estimates is about 40 years old, was lovingly restored by DryDock regulars who work in construction. The restaurant also has pool, darts and a separate dining room which is used for private parties and meetings.