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Southern California Beach Vibes

By Rae Walberg for The Island Eye News

(Photo by Lynn Pierotti)

Sullivan’s Island’s newest eatery is dedicated to bringing SoCal beach vibes to the East Coast beach scene.

The Beach Shack, which opened its doors on Middle Street June 27, is a fusion of Californian and Southern food and a culture imagined by owner Annie McPhaul and her fiancé, Chris Grimalda.

They both are experienced Lowcountry restaurateurs who currently own Coquin in downtown Charleston – a cafe and bar dedicated to “the art of the Parisian lifestyle,” according to its website.

The Beach Shack, however, is something altogether different, “a very laid-back spot that combines the surf lifestyle and Charleston’s friendly hospitality,” according to McPhaul.

The vision of the restaurant encompasses both Mcphaul’s and Grimalda’s upbringing.

 “Chris is from California, and I am originally from Austin, Texas,” McPhaul said. “With his California roots, we wanted to bring a little bit of the Southern California surf vibe to Sullivan’s Island.”

The vibe at The Beach Shack is inspired by cafes in popular Southern California surf spots which McPhaul described as the “perfect place for grabbing a quick bite before or after hitting the beach.” The menu includes lobster rolls, acai bowls, avocado toast, hot dogs, coffee and gelato. In addition to providing visitors with a bite to eat before or after a trip to the beach, they also offer all-day parking for $10.

McPhaul’s faith in her concept of The Beach Shack had prompted her to take a risk – opening a new restaurant amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We really saw a need for our concept on Sullivan’s Island and decided to take a chance during an unexpected time,” she explained.

Since The Beach Shack opened, South Carolina has experienced a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, with Charleston County identified as a hot spot of the disease in the Palmetto State, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Along with Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island has passed an ordinance that requires island visitors and residents to don a face mask in restaurants and other businesses when social distancing is not applicable.

Despite the pandemic, McPhaul said she has had “an amazing experience” opening The Beach Shack.

“Everyone in the neighborhood has been so incredibly supportive and welcoming,” she said. “We are excited to continue meeting our neighbors.”

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