Southern Beaufort County restaurant owners prep for Restaurant Week

It doesn’t turn much of a profit for area restaurants, but it gives their owners a rare opportunity to showcase their food to locals who — they hope — become regulars and return for regularly-priced meals in the future.

Restaurant Week, put on by the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce, kicks off Saturday and runs through Feb. 2. Seventy restaurants are participating.

It has restaurant owners like Brandon Arrieta, owner of Hugo’s Seafood & Steakhouse in overdrive, perfecting new menu items and prepping his staff for a swell of customers. Last year, Arrieta turned away about 900 customers during the week-long event because he lacked seating space in the restaurant. He predicts that number to swell to about 1,100 this year.

"It's not the time to reach out to a new demographic,” Arrieta said. “It's an opportunity to reach out to locals who are potential new customers and highlight your brand. You're going to take a profit margin hit. There's no way around it, but it pays off over time,” Arrietta said.

Click here for a list of participating restaurants and their menus, and check back for updates to this story.