Here’s a quick look around the new Tio’s Latin American Kitchen in Shelter Cove
Get ready, Hilton Head, this favorite Latin American restaurant will be reopening soon.
After several months of work, Tio’s Latin American Kitchen will have a soft opening in Shelter Cove Towne Centre on Friday, according to Sally Zuniga, who co-owns the restaurant with her husband Lynden and their business partner Eliha Bitton. Lynden Zuniga also serves as executive chef of the restaurant.
Sally Zuniga said patrons visiting the restaurant on Friday can expect a full menu, but wait times may be longer than usual.
The restaurant that abruptly closed its north end location last year will be serving its local favorites including Cuban sandwiches and homemade corn tortillas.
The new Tio’s, located in the space formerly occupied by Charlie Grainger’s hot dog restaurant, as well as the retail space next to it and the space where Rocket Fizz used to be, will seat around 200 including its exciting new addition — the to-go area, equipped with a full second bar and counter for pick-up orders.
“It’s a great extra space for pick-up service, or if you just want a quick drink for happy hour,” Sally Zuniga said.
Tio’s happy hour will include $2 off margaritas and other drink and food deals.
Sally Zuniga said the 4,000-square-foot restaurant employs 50 people.
“We’ve been very fortunate because Lynden has such a great reputation as a chef, and we’ve been able to hire some really great people,” she said of their employees.
Tio’s first opened its doors in August 2017 in the former Liberty Savings Bank at 87 Main St. and abruptly closed in April 2018.
Before opening Tio’s in 2017, Lynden Zuniga worked as a chef in several SERG group restaurants including Skull Creek Boathouse.
He was born in Honduras and moved to the United States when he was 14. Many of the dishes at Tio’s are inspired by his heritage, his wife said.
“Opening up a restaurant like this is really the American dream for (Lynden),” Sally Zuniga previously told The Island Packet. “I’m really proud of him.”
The menu will “include all of the old favorites,” but “going a little more authentic with more items from other Latin American countries like Peruvian ceviche, Puerto Rican pinchos, chicharrones and other Cuban bar food, Sally Zuniga said. She said they recently added fried avocado slices to the appetizer menu.
The restaurant will include indoor and outdoor seating and will have an “eclectic and local feel,” she said, noting that friends have been giving them dining room tables for the new restaurant.
Sally Zuniga is especially proud of a large, colorful mural created by local high school student Charlotte Ofee in the middle of the restaurant. It took her several weeks to complete between finals and tests at school.
“We’re really excited to open,” Sally Zuniga said. “It’s been a crazy, lightning-fast road getting here.”
Tio’s hours will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11. p.m. Friday and Saturday.