Food & Drink

Popular New Jersey Chef plans to open Italian restaurant on Hilton Head this month

Nunzio Restaurant + Bar is on schedule to open on New Orleans Road on Hilton Head Island this month, according to manager Maribel Patruno.

The restaurant’s owner, Nunzio Patruno, has seen success with New Jersey restaurant Nunzio Ristorante Rustico, which opened in 2003 and has been reviewed by The New York Times among others.

“Adulation of fresh vegetables and seasonal ingredients may seem cutting-edge, but Nunzio Patruno grew up cooking this new old-fashioned way years ago, and he has the loyal hordes to prove it,” the New York Times article says.

Maribel said staff at the Hilton Head restaurant is currently hiring, applying finishing touches and going through the last series of inspections.

A 1,300 square-foot kitchen has been added to the 18 New Orleans Road location — a former Reebook Crossfit location. The restaurant, able to seat about 175 people, also will have a large bar area and two outdoor seating areas.

A menu has yet to be released for the restaurant but Maribel said it will focus on Italian cuisine and be mid-range priced.

“We are not looking to be the special occasion,” she said. “There is something for everyone at every price point.”

Angelo D. Patruno, Nunzio’s brother, will be the chef cuisine, Maribel said. He owned Ristorante IL Melograno in Doylestown, PA for nearly 20 years.

Radius Magazine says Angelo was born in the Puglia region of Italy and attended the Culinary Institute of Italy. The magazine serves the arts community in Bucks County, PA.

“Once you have a good ingredient and it’s fresh, it can speak for itself,” Angelo said in the article. “Keep it simple and use fresh ingredients. That’s my goal.”

An open house job fair will be held Wednesday and Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the restaurant. They are hiring for all positions.

We asked tourists and locals which restaurant on Hilton Head Island was their favorite to eat at, and here's what they had to say.