Then Mia Ayanian realized what she really wanted to do was introduce people to vintages and regions of the world through wine and tell the stories connected to each bottle.
“The fun part was actually pouring wine and interacting with patrons,” she said.
In June, two years after she and husband Kevin retired to Hilton Head from Maryland, they turned their ideas into reality with the purchase of a space at Shelter Cove.
“We are living our dream,” Ayanian said.
The Other Sister’s Wine Bar celebrated its grand opening on Aug. 28 in the former location of the Mediterranean Harbour Bar and Grill at 13 Harbourside Lane, Unit B.
Ayanian is the youngest of three sisters, so the name of the restaurant is a riff on a family joke. It’s better than a name that would be “drab, drab, been there/done that,” she said with a laugh.
The Nebraska native collaborated with Lebanese Chef Georges Waked on the restaurant’s new fusion menu.
“We aren’t stuck in one category at all,” Ayanian said.
Features include the Lowcountry empanadas made from sweet corn, mozzarella, sautéed onions and red peppers; and a hummus platter with avocado, beetroot and traditional chickpea hummus. “Big and juicy” beach burgers and a selection of panini are offered for lunch, while the dinner menu includes salads, seafood and steak.
Prices range from around $10 to around $25.
Cheese and charcuterie boards that serve two people are in the $20 range.
Sunday brunch is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with highlights like the Shelter Cove Benedict and pancakes with honey bacon.
All of that is meant to be paired with wine.
The bar has more than 50 bottles to select from, plus beer, cocktails and daily tastings.
“We are always expanding our wine portfolio,” Ayanian explained.
She said popular choices are the Ruffino Prosecco or sparkling rose, along with winemaker Charles Smith’s Kung Fu Girl Reisling from his “Kill Bill” series.
There’s no need to dress up, and reservations aren’t needed except for large parties.
The outdoor seating area is kid- and pet-friendly and offers views of the marina. A children’s menu includes a grilled cheese and a “Yacht Dog,” among other options.
“We kind of want to cater to everybody,” Ayanian said.
“It’s such a great setting,” she said, “casual on the outside; elegant and romantic inside.”
What: The Other Sister’s Wine Bar
Where: Shelter Cove on Hilton Head Island
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday. Happy hour is 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.