More room to ‘dock and dine’ on Hilton Head’s Skull Creek: Hudson’s opens expansion

Hudson’s Seafood on the Docks has grown to another dock.

Located on Hilton Head Island’s Skull Creek, Hudson’s opened a newly extended dock with 300 feet of space this week, making more room for boaters to tie down before dinnertime.

“There are relatively few options on the water for people that want to dock and dine,” restaurant owner Andrew Carmines said in a news release about the project. “The new dock is very easy to access from anywhere on the island, Bluffton, Beaufort, Savannah and beyond. And it is free for those people choosing to dine at Hudson’s.”

A total of 225 feet is open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. The remaining 75 feet serve as a port for charter vessels, Awesome Adventure charters, Bulldog fishing charters and Catmandoo fishing charters.

Hudson’s is open for lunch from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. and for dinner from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m.

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Kelly Smith Hudson's Seafood on the Docks

Rebuilding after Hurricane Matthew

The docks surrounding Hudson’s were mostly destroyed after Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The outdoor dining area, capable of seating 75 people at tables and 20 people at the outdoor bar, was the main draw for the restaurant that opened in 1967, Carmines said.

“Before Matthew, we had plans to do all these things,” Carmines said. “Matthew was just a very swift kick in the rear end.”

Damage sustained at Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks from Hurricane Matthew. Submitted.

In typical Carmines fashion, Andrew said he saw it as a bright side.

“When you’re dealing with total destruction, you’re dealing with a blank slate,” he said.

Plans turned to action, and the restaurant rebuilt its docks and outdoor dining area in a matter of months.

“We only did it with the support of the local community and our staff,” he said. “Basically, without them, we might still be closed.”

Even prior to Hurricane Matthew, Hudson’s faced environmental concerns.

In 2006, Carmines said the restaurant had “settled” so far into the ground that there were gaps between the windows and the window sills. Ripping out the wall of windows that look out onto Skull Creek solved that problem, but there was still occasional flooding in the main dining room.

Carmines said the restaurant added six inches of elevation to combat rising tides.

The recently rebuilt docks and waterfront dining area at Hilton Head Island’s Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks. Andrew Carmines, owner, is expecting to have the docks completed before the end of the month as electricians work to restore power to the docks after they were demolished by Hurricane Matthew in October. Brendan Massett Submitted

Visitors still see why the area is called the Lowcountry when the tide comes in and creates a small basin of water between the outdoor dining area and the main restaurant. As the curveballs keep coming, Carmines said Hudson’s will keep trying to adapt.

“We have some very exciting projects that we feel will make our current and future guests very happy,” Carmines said Friday.

Patrons fill the deck on a Friday night at Hudson’s Seafood on the Docks on Hilton Head Island. Delayna Earley Staff file
Katherine Kokal moved to South Carolina in 2018 after graduating from the University of Missouri and loves everything about the Lowcountry that isn’t a Palmetto Bug. She has won South Carolina Press Association awards for in-depth and government beat reporting. On the weekends, you can find Kati doing yoga and hiking Pinckney Island.