I've been beating the Bluffton drum for a couple of years now. In fact, two seasons ago, I dedicated an entire episode of our TV show (7:30 a.m. Sunday mornings on WSAV-TV) to the growth of the food scene in Bluffton.
For my money, Pour Richards and The Bluffton Room have led the way to this point. Now, there is a new spot in Old Town Bluffton that's getting a lot of attention, and deservedly so. By the time they hit their stride, they might just end up as the best in the area - certainly in Bluffton.
Farm Bluffton is this shiny new penny, located on May River Road near Calhoun Street in the heart of Old Town Bluffton. The concept was created and developed by three partners, Ryan Williamson, Josh Heaton and Executive Chef Brandon Carter. "The three of us live in Bluffton" Heaton told me recently. "We've watched Old Town grow into what it is today, something totally new and different. That inspired us."
The concept is pretty simple. They try to source everything they prepare themselves. Ryan owns a 5-acre farm down the street, Josh runs the day-to-day operation, and Chef Brandon runs the kitchen. That's not to say they don't bring things in from elsewhere, it's just that they try to source as much of what they serve themselves.
"We are thinking about our menus weeks and maybe months ahead," says Josh. "We aren't afraid to pull an item off the menu, no matter how popular it may be, if we can't get great ingredients to make it with," he adds.
At lunch time, they call themselves a "Meat and Three." You can usually get a burger made with grass-fed beef from Brasstown Farms in Asheville, N.C., along with any of the vegetables they have in house. The day we visited, they had tempura cauliflower, butter beans and grits. They were all delicious.
Dinner time is a completely different animal. Again, the menu changes almost daily, so we can't promise any dishes, but Red Snapper with shrimp, sweet potato, collard greens and coconut curry was on the menu we saw. As was a Brown Sugar Brined Heritage Pork with hominy grits and charred spring onion. There are seafood dishes, meats and potatoes for the land lovers and almost anything in between, including charred octopus.
Their cocktail program is as creative as any 50 miles from the heart of Bluffton. When you are told that they make their tonic water with botanicals from around the world, but they are sweetened with Savannah Bee honey, then you see what I mean.
There is absolutely zero corner cutting going on at Farm, and the best part is that the final product is always delicious.
Farm Bluffton is tiny, only about 50 seats. Yes, they do take reservations, which you will very likely need, especially on weekends. They are open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner, but closed from 2 to 5 p.m.
Jesse Blanco is the host of the two-time Emmy-nominated television show "Eat It and Like It" on Savannah's WSAV-TV.