Published on 3/31/2009
* 'Just a way of life'
By Clayton Stairs
The Front Street landscape has changed a lot since a landmark restaurant overlooking the water opened its doors in Georgetown.
Sid Hood and Sally Swineford welcomed their first customers to the River Room Restaurant in April 1984.
Now celebrating their 25th year in business, Hood and Swineford continue to serve fresh seafood, steaks and more to anyone who would like to come and enjoy.
"It is just a way of life for us," Swineford said. "We have been doing it for 25 years and we are still going strong."
At the time they opened in their first location, just west of where the restaurant is now, there was no Harborwalk along the Sampit River and most of the buildings were in disrepair.
"A lot of the old dilapidated buildings looked like they were going to fall in the water," Hood said.
Three years later, their dream property came available -- a 19th-century commercial building beside Frances Marion Park in the middle of Georgetown's historic waterfront district.
Renovations included an extended river-facing dining room with plenty of windows to capture the view of the water and a main entrance on the side of the restaurant.
By that time, the Harborwalk was built making the restaurant accessible by land and water.
They also opened the Harvest Moon Ice Cream Shop on the Front Street side of the building and both businesses were receiving customers within four years of their first opening.
Chef Joe O'Hara went to work in the River Room kitchen and he is still there today creating his special dishes like creamy Shrimp and Grits with tasso ham, McClellanville Crab Balls, Spicy Crawfish Dip, Herb-Crusted Grouper with Citrus Mojo, and Petite Filet with Oysters.
"We specialize in char-grilled fish and seafood, but our menu is eclectic and varied with steaks and pasta dishes," Wood said.
He said they also have one of the best wine lists in South Carolina.
Both Swineford and Wood said they are grateful to their loyal customers who have provided steady business through the years.
"We have regular customers who have been eating with us for over 20 years and visitors to the area who come back year after year," Wood said. "We appreciate their continued support and we welcome anyone who hasn't tried the River Room to come on in."
Sid and Sally, keep it going for another 25! Don't ever run out of the world's best chicken tenders and keep Lamar around. . .Debby Summey
Posted by on 4/2/2009
Congratulations on 25 years! My wife and I enjoy the River Room on or annual treks back to Georgetown for vacation.
Posted by Tom Howard on 4/1/2009