By Mimi Wood, Island Eye News Staff Writer
Photos by Steve Rosamilia
Tucked into the corner of the Island Center is IOP’s newest restaurant, The Refuge. Sisters Jocelyn and Patty Lamond have transformed 3,000 square feet into a retreat offering something for just about everyone. The space is unequally and loosely divided into three areas; a central reception/bar area flows into a casual “breakfast room” on one side, and a slightly more formal dining room on the other.
Upholstered bar stools surround the bar, in the center of the restaurant. Clever uplights highlight the tiered spirits, and upbeat barkeep Michael Fitzgerald creates a friendly, neighborhoody atmosphere. Boat drinks, the likes of which Jimmy Buffet never imagined, are de rigueur. Happy Hour, daily from 5-7 p.m., offers discounted mixed drinks and wines. Local players of acoustic music are often found here; adding another layer to the carefree island vibe.
No longer any need to travel off-island to satisfy that Starbucks craving; hand-crafted coffee and associated caffeine-laden drinks should assuage even the most ardent mermaid devotee. Grab one to go, or sink into one of the easy chairs and linger with your morning paper.
Quiche, steel-cut oatmeal, eggs in various forms, and of course a little something for your sweet tooth, can all be found from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m., on the Morning Tides menu, typically eaten in the airy room to the right of the bar. In addition to breakfast, this is a perfect spot for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
An assortment of Gourmet Grilled Cheese sandwiches top the Afternoon Tides, or lunch menu. Additionally, everything from an “Isle of P,” a hefty pastrami, to a “Sprouted Whale,” featuring sprouts and other fresh veggies, can be found. Some of this casual fare carries over to the dinner menu. Available after 4 p.m., the Evening Tides menu offers an excellent variety of locally-sourced, regional fare, including a daily Fresh Catch.
Robert Miller, one of two executive chefs, has created a to-die-for Grit Cake smothered in a kicky tomato-based sauce, punctuated with large fresh shrimp and spicy andouille sausage. Jared Rhine redefines a true Maryland Crabcake, magically melding nothing but jumbo, lump crabmeat together with an exquisite, yet barely perceptible remoulade. Both utterly crave-able.
The décor is Pottery Barn Beachy; a whimsical octopus oversees the casual Morning Tides space, while handsome plantation shutters provide the dining room, to the left of the bar, with a bit of screening.
From a morning jolt to a nightcap, and everything in between, check out The Refuge, open from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; late night Fridays and Saturdays.
The Refuge, l1517 Palm Blvd., Isle of Palms, 843.242.8934, TheRefugeIOP.com.