Lucky Rooster and Lucky Beach Bar + Kitchen
Every now and then, we like to stretch our legs (and taste buds) into southern Beaufort County for a change of scenery. Although there are plenty of places to explore in Bluffton, sometimes the call of Hilton Head is too great, and we find ourselves there on an empty stomach. Aren’t we lucky that now David and Carrie Leffew and the Leffew Restaurant Group are giving us two great options with Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar along William Hilton Parkway between Palmetto Dunes and Shipyard and the newly opened Lucky Beach Bar + Kitchen a few miles north near Folly Field Beach.
Let’s start with a little background. When we first found our way to Beaufort in the
mid-2010s, our long-time tourism buddy, Charlie Clark, with the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce (thankfully) introduced us to Lucky Rooster. Owned then by chef/owner Clayton Rollison, it became one of our favorite Hilton Head destinations. An American bistro with a touch of Southern soul, we couldn’t get enough of his pimento mac & cheese, fried chicken, Hamachi tartare with beets and Asian pear, and, especially, his insanely delicious fried chicken skins that were a bar snack secret and served up in a perfectly greasy brown paper bag. We still dream (and drool!) about them.
Amidst the pandemic, Rollison shuttered Lucky Rooster and ultimately decided it was time to move on. However, he had built a reputation for Lucky Rooster as one of Hilton Head’s most progressive places to eat. And he didn’t want to see his legacy end. Enter the Leffew Restaurant Group, who, with decades of hospitality industry experience, wanted to keep his local and seasonal approach alive. And luckily, the name.
Today, Lucky Rooster is as fabulous as ever. Relaxed and approachable, the dining room is the perfect combination of rustic
and elegant, with a convivial bar and spacious dining room. In 2022, they added an outdoor heated patio and bar, which has proven very popular.
Taking their drinks as seriously as they do their food with a daily happy hour from 4:00-6:00pm, the cocktail list offers up the classics along with seasonal concoctions like When Life Gives You Lemons with house infused blueberry basil vodka, blueberry liquor and lemonade, Lucky Mule with bitter orange vodka, blood orange juice and ginger beer, and My Raspberry Beret with local Hilton Head Bulrush Gin, raspberry liquor, fresh lemon and bubbles. They also serve a great selection of local and visiting drafts on tap, a wine list curated to pair with the chef’s cuisine and a Happy Hour snack menu with whimsical tastes like bread cheese with honey and walnuts and a Cajun shrimp martini.
In keeping with the original vision of Lucky Rooster, the menu is a cornucopia of fresh ingredients sourced from local and
regional farmers and purveyors—as well as our local waters—and crafted into refined comfort food. We’ve been known to make a meal out of their shareable menu, including devilishly good deviled eggs with smoked seafood, tomato and bacon; breaded chicken livers over toasted brioche bread with a caramelized onion and apple demi-glace; to-die-for pimento cheese fries with duck fat fried potatoes, pimento cheese, bacon crumbles, a fried egg and house made ranch dressing; a Lowcountry charcuterie board and a trifecta of peel-and-eat shrimp, barbecue-spiced mussels and grilled oysters.
You can also make a meal out of their tasty first course options like lamp lollipops (isn’t everything better when they call it a lollipop?), crab cakes and creative salads like watermelon and ricotta, roasted beet, and a classic Shrimp Louie salad, all available with a host of proteins to make it a dinner salad.
Entrees have something for everyone—from a souped-up surf & turf with a blue cheese crusted filet topped with fried oysters (only in the Lowcountry, baby!); seared salmon with lobster bacon rice; grilled fish banh mi; their take on shrimp and grits with seared scallops and sweet Georgia shrimp over Charleston Red risotto with andouille sausage, asparagus tips and seasonal mushrooms all slathered in a crawfish cognac cream sauce (yum!); and Southern specialties like their off-the-charts fried chicken, grilled pork chops with grits and collards, and, of course, the Lucky Burger, featuring two smash burgers, onion and bacon BBQ jam, and pimento cheese served with duck fat fries and roasted tomato aioli. Are you feeling lucky yet?
And don’t forget brunch—with mouthwatering weekend winners like chicken +
waffles, Buffalo chicken Benedict with poached eggs and Roquefort cheese over biscuits, brioche French toast with berry compote, a Lucky cheesesteak and, wait for it, a collard green melt with collards, white American cheese, house made 1000 island dressing on a toasted brioche and served with duck fat fries and tomato aioli (sign us up!).
With all the success that Lucky Rooster has had, it’s no surprise that they are continuing their lucky streak with a second
location. Lucky Beach Bar + Kitchen opened to rave reviews over Memorial Day weekend. The fun, fresh and funky younger sister of Lucky Rooster, Lucky Beach Bar + Kitchen is a beachy family-friendly restaurant serving modern American classics with a Caribbean-inspired décor and vibe. According David, “Lucky Beach is every day versus the special occasion of Lucky Rooster. It’s casual, fresh, fun and vibrant.”
With 250 seats inside and out, a massive open-air bar serving bright, tropical cocktails (the creative frozen drinks like You’re Bananas and Lava Flow are perfect on a hot, summer day, as are their margaritas and specialty cocktails), ice-cold beers and a curated wine list, a firepit, and a live music venue, Lucky Beach is a great addition to the Folly Field neighborhood and beaches area of northern Hilton Head Island. There’s also a dedicated take-out window that’s open early to late for take-away breakfast and coffee drinks, along with creative grab-and-go foods and soft-serve ice cream until the wee hours. With the extensive Hilton Head pedestrian and biking pathways nearby (and convenient bicycle parking on site) and a robust online ordering system, it’s a perfect place to pick up breakfast, lunch or dinner and take it to the beach.
The all-day menu runs through lunch and dinner, and features big, fun, shared appetizers to get
the party started like crab bread, smoked fish dip and ceviche served up with colorful tortilla chips and The Cheese Stick, a funky mozzarella cheese stick that’s on steroids. Refreshing entrée salads like a BBQ chicken salad and the Lucky Beach cobb salad offer up light meals that scream Lowcountry. For heartier appetites, there’s the classic beach burger, a Southern burger with pimento cheese and grilled red onion, fish tacos, Lucky’s famed fried chicken, and more. Sides are a highlight with southern specialties like a mile high baked mac & cheese, corn pudding and cherry tomato crisp, bless their hearts. Save room for dessert because Lucky Beach’s oversized confections are to die for. Don’t miss the Nutter Butter nanner pudding or the carrot cake waffle, a la mode, natch.
We knew we were lucky when we discovered Beaufort. Now our luck has doubled with Lucky Rooster and Lucky Beach Bar + Kitchen.
Lucky Rooster Bar + Kitchen
841 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head Island
Dinner Tuesday-Sunday 5:00pm–9:00pm
Sunday Brunch 10:30am-3:00pm
Happy Hour Tuesday-Sunday 4:00pm-6:00pm
Lucky Beach Bar + Kitchen
14 Folly Field Rd., Hilton Head