Story and photo
by Becky Billingsley
Three cooks are in the Old Fish House kitchen: Fred Mannick, James Dozier and John Lee.
Lee joined the team this year; Mannick and Dozier are longtime employees.
Bucky and Angie Watkins are the restaurant owners. Bucky was born and raised in Pawleys Island and his mother, Tootsie Watkins, was a well-known local caterer.
Bucky and Angie opened a restaurant called Big Tuna in a different location on Front Street in Georgetown, and when they moved to their present spot they changed the name to Old Fish House.
"But a lot of people still call it Big Tuna," Angie Watkins said on Aug. 17 at the restaurant.
Unless the entire restaurant was outside under a big tree, you couldn't get much more rustic in a decor than the manner in which Old Fish House is decorated. Bucky salvages pieces of old buildings, and he used recycled materials to create a vintage wooden wonderland.
The circa 1770 building used to be an apothecary shop, but the only original part of that heritage is the brick wall.
Now the space is filled with salvaged wood cupboards, floors, tables, chairs, old advertising signs and art.
Inside is a long bar and several tables, and outside is another covered open-air dining room and an uncovered al fresco area with a terrific view of the Sampit River.
It borders the Georgetown River Walk.
What's to eat
Seafood is king here; chicken, pork and beef play supporting roles.
One of the most popular dishes is the Whole Fried Flounder that's prettily scored and is served with a small portion of Black Beans and Rice and Coleslaw.
Most of the seafood entrees are served with Black Beans and Rice and Coleslaw, including Fried Oysters, Fish of the Day, Crab Legs and Fried Scallops.
I had the Fish of the Day, which was Scamp Grouper, and was served plump, moist and thick strips of delicious fish.
The black beans and rice is well seasoned and tasty, and I love the sweet vinegar dressing on the slaw.
The coleslaw's flavor reminds me of the sweet refrigerator pickles my mom used to make.
Meals can start with Fried Calamari, Littleneck Clams steamed in garlic butter, Seared Tuna with ginger sesame dressing, and Shrimp, Crab or Oyster Cocktail.
A special appetizer when I visited was a Crab Cake served with mayonnaise-based roasted red pepper sauce.
The panko-crusted crab cake was all meat and delicious, but I wish I had known it was $9.
The server didn't mention it when she described the day's specials, and I should have asked because it brought the bill for my lunch to $27.
Sandwiches are another option, and those choices include Cheeseburger, Chicken, Italian Sausage, Fried Fish and thinly sliced Ribeye Steak.
All sandwiches come with a dill pickle spear, fries, slaw or chips.
Two salads are served - Shrimp Salad or Crab Salad - and they come on a bed of lettuce with tomato slices and crackers.
Most wines are either $5 per glass or $20 per bottle, and a bevy of beers are $3 each.
Dessert is not offered.
Old Fish House/Big Tuna
Where: 807 Front St., Georgetown
Noise Level: Moderate. It is easy to overhear conversations at the next table, but you can still hear your own dining companions.
Vegetarian Options: Black Beans and Rice, Fries, Cole Slaw, or you could ask for a salad without the shrimp or crab salad on top.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; the bar stays open until midnight.
Prices: Starters are $5-$9; sandwiches $8; salads $10; entrees $12-$19.
Check for Two: A $20 bill would cover the lunch tab for two sandwiches and two teas. Dinner with one appetizer, two entrees and two glasses of wine would run about $50.
Litchfield chef earns award
On Aug. 11 Certified Executive Chef Robert Beuth, who works at Litchfield Plantation's Carriage House Club, took first place and earned a gold medal at the U.S. Foodservice Show in Savannah. He beat 17 competitors at the wildcard mystery box event sanctioned by the American Culinary Federation. His winning dish was Seared Scallops and Butter-poached Shrimp over Warm Barley Salad with mushrooms, onions and bacon, and roasted asparagus with a lemon and thyme vinaigrette. Chef Beuth has earned many gold and silver ACF competition medals, and has also won several first places throughout the southeast. Earlier this year he was one of 16 American chefs to vie for the title of ACF Chef of the Year.
The Carriage House Club at Litchfield Plantation has reinstated its daily breakfasts and uses free range chicken eggs from Thornhill Farms in McClellanville. Their milk comes from Happy Cow Creamery, the shrimp from local creeks and crabs from nearby tidal waters. Those ingredients are then turned into egg plates served with apple smoked bacon and omelets such as the Local Shrimp and Blue Crab Omelet. Traditional Eggs Benedict features two of the plump eggs with vividly yellow and buttery yolks. Membership is required to dine at The Carriage House Club; anyone may join for a $45 annual fee. The Carriage House Club at Litchfield Plantation is at 24 Avenue of the Oaks off Kings Road in Pawleys Island. Breakfast is served from 7:30-10:30 a.m. daily, and the number is 237-9322.
Lexington County is the site of new S.C. State Farmers Market
The new South Carolina State Farmers Market and Agribusiness Center on S.C. 321 in Lexington County had its first phase open this month, which includes the S.C. Dept. of Agriculture’s Laboratory and Consumer Services facility and farmers sheds and administration building.
The opening coincided with the opening of private wholesale companies, V.B. Hook & Co., Inc. and Senn Brothers Inc. and Supersod Inc.
The next phase, planned for the fall, will include opening of several more wholesale facilities in addition to other privately owned facilities – the RV park, amphitheater, and school/tour bus drop-off as well as the Corbett Building (Stables Building C) that will house the exhibition kitchen, bakery, restaurant, and retail produce space.
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