Southern Living magazine has rated the sunsetsnear The Church of the Cross, overlookingthe May River in Bluffton, some of thebest on the East Coast. This is reason enoughto come to Calhoun Street for an evening. Butwith spring in the air, the fine alfresco diningat The Cottage makes spending an evening inOld Town absolutely magical.
The Cottage is special, not in a pretentious,formal way, but in a familiar, down home,come-as-you-are way.
"The other night I paused just to take in thehappy voices and laughter all around me,"said chef Leslie Rohland, owner ofThe Cottage. "It reminded me of the holidays."The restaurant is housed within Carson Cottage,which was built in 1868 by Confederatesolider J.J. Carson as his residence. In 1902, heformed The First Baptist Church of Bluffton inthe front room. Then in 1928, the house wassold to Captain John Derst, the bread baronfrom Savannah.
For all its historic charm, it's The Cottage'sunique menu that really steals the show. Fromlocal cobia to fresh baked pastries, Rohlanddraws inspiration from Southern favorites andhome grown flavors. Try the root beer andbourbon glazed baby back ribs or the Southernpeach and bourbon BBQ shrimp for asavory meets sweet treat.
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Desserts are outstanding at The Cottageand it's fun to try something new each timeyou go. Selections include pie, tarts, cookies,bread pudding, cheesecake, dessert bars,coffee cake, cupcakes, scones, muffins, browniesand shortbread. Everything is baked freshfrom scratch.
Much of the food at The Cottage is basedon traditional Southern recipes, with a new,healthy or gourmet twist. For example, fromthe Sunday brunch menu, the B'town gumbo($12.75) is fresh local shrimp, andouille sausage,tomato and okra over rice. Its servedwith a house salad and corn bread.
Much of restaurant's produce is purchasedfrom local farmers' markets (both on HiltonHead and in Bluffton), where The Cottage'sfresh breads and baked goods also can besampled.
"I'm excited that we've joined South Carolina's'Fresh on the Market' initiative," said Rohland."At least 25 percent of our menu featuresfood grown right here in South Carolina."Thursday afternoons, when the Blufftonfarmers' market is in full swing, are bustling atThe Cottage. Reservations are always recommendedfor parties of more than five.
Whether you come for breakfast, lunch, afternoontea or dinner, The Cottage is truly anidyllic gem. Visit www.thecottagebluffton.comto see their menu and sign up for their eblaststo get a sneak peak at weekly specials.