5 Affordable Family Restaurants in Hilton Head

Culinary Spelunker's picture

Exploring something new. That’s what vacation is all about for our family. And one of the best ways to keep that theme alive revolves around the meal table. We try to avoid chain restaurants in general but as a rule when we’re on the road. But unless you have your own kitchen, meal costs can add up fast.


Hilton Head! From 5 Affordable Family Restaurants in Hilton Head


On our recent trip to Hilton Head, we challenged ourselves to find unusual, fun places to eat that were also inexpensive. Hilton Head, a beach haven along the South Carolina coast that quite literally juts out into the Atlantic like a foot about to kick back at the mainland, includes plenty of restaurants. Yet many were quite pricey, especially when you’re adding up the bill for five.


5 Affordable Family Restaurants in Hilton Head


We dug deep into Yelp! and kept watch for good restaurants as we drove around. Below are a few of our favorites.

One note—and this is a big one—be careful driving at night. Hilton Head maintains limited light for environmental reasons. I made sure that my smart phone was fully charged and my Google maps at the ready whenever we went out.


Bullies BBQ

Of all the regional types of barbecue in the U.S., Carolina is thought to be one of the oldest. Pork reigns—shredded or sliced, but most often pulled. While I’d highly recommend Bullies BBQ’s pulled pork, pick up some of the brisket and a few ribs. Bullies BBQ sells barbecue as meals or by the pound so you can take it and eat on the beach. Don’t be put off by Bullies BBQ’s location right next to a gas station, this little corner spot knows how to smoke.

Bullies Real BBQ on Urbanspoon


Taqueria El Potrero

Authentic Mexican taco shop. That’s what you’ll find tucked into this strip mall that houses both a Mexican grocery store (it’s tiny) and Taqueria El Potrero. I thought of ordering my usual taqueria fare—al pastor (marinated pork cut thin and usually served with a sliver of pineapple)—but instead chose the torta (a Mexican sandwich held together with refried beans, the meat of your choice, and finished off with avocado slices). Good call. For kids, you can keep it simple with a cheese quesadilla.


Kenny B’s Cajun Seafood Hut

Head right to the cash register to order at this sit down restaurant that nixes the wait staff, but still provides plenty of service. Since we’re all about trying new things we ordered the gator bites, yes little pieces of alligator breaded and fried, which came with a paprika-spiced aioli dipping sauce. I’d recommend any of the po boy sandwiches or the any of the dishes that come with an option to have the meat blackened, like the Blackened Redfish Atchafalaya. Skip the Jambalaya and stick with the Seafood au Gratin if you’re hankering for a tried-and-true Cajun favorite. And be prepared—the kids’ meals are served cleverly in dog bowls—French fries on one side, main dish on the other. One word of caution: Do not leave Kenny B’s without ordering the beignets for dessert. The fried pillows of just-chewy dough come piping hot in a small cast iron pan showered with powdered sugar.

Kenny B's French Quarter Cafe on Urbanspoon


Beignets, Kenny B's Cajun Seafood Hut. From 5 Affordable Family Restaurants in Hilton Head


Kenny B's Cajun Seafood Hut. From 5 Affordable Family Restaurants in Hilton Head


Gator bites at Kenny B's Cajun Seafood Hut. From 5 Affordable Family Restaurants in Hilton Head




For breakfast, lunch, or a quick snack I’d stop at Watusi, a local place that serves ‘what-you-see,’ hence the name—Watusi (yup, it’s not from some ancient language or a Latin word for smoothie). Split an order of the Crab Benedict for breakfast or the Ocean Club Scramble. We found that all the ingredients were fresh, the service fast, and the portions enough for two.

Watusi on Urbanspoon


Whole Foods

I know, I know. It’s a chain. But here’s what I like about going to Whole Foods for a meal—you can visit the hot or cold bar and each person can find something to eat. My craving at the time was vegetables—marinated, sautéed, I filled my plate with some of each while my kids picked up individual pizzas. And for dessert, everyone chose a cookie. Mine? Vegan oatmeal chocolate chip. Quality ingredients and food, everyone got to choose their own dinner, but no one had to tip a server. I consider that a success.



Kristen J. Gough is the Global Cuisines & Kids Editor for Wandering Educators. She shares her family's adventurous food experiences--and recipes--at MyKidsEatSquid.com.


All photos courtesy and copyright Kristen J. Gough