Springtime on State of Mind Street is a beautiful thing.
The Promenade opposite Calhoun Street is a hive of activity lately, and Captain Woody's offers the perfect vantage point from which to take it all in. Patrons can relax on either the screened patio or rooftop bar to soak up the scene or just sit for a spell and smell the flowers in nearby window boxes or in the park at the Promenade's center.
"The increase in tourists doing day trips to Bluffton is enormous," said Lauren Jordan, a Captain Woody's manager who recalls a post-Recession era six years ago when the restaurant and a wine bar, both original tenants, were the only establishments on the block. "The festivals and everything Bluffton puts together have been a tremendous draw," she said, for vacationing visitors.
Captain Woody's also has a loyal local following of folks who love the delectable He Crab - that's not a typo - Soup, a rich, creamy, spicy crab bisque without the roe (thus the "He"), $4.99 for a cup or $5.99 for a bowl.
Woody's famous fish sandwiches also have legions of fans. Priced from $9.99 to $13.99, there are three types of fish - tilapia, trigger fish and grouper - served four ways and accompanied by a choice of seasoned fries, homemade chips, coleslaw or potato salad.
Open from 11 a.m. to 9 or 10 p.m. daily, and for Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Woody's serves the same menu throughout the day, with Happy Hour from 4 to 7 p.m. daily. The popular rooftop bar features its own food specials, such as Taco & Tequila Tuesdays, with a la carte fish tacos for $3 and discounted margaritas and Coronas.
Craft beers are $3 all night on Mondays, and Wednesday is Trivia Night from 7 to 9 p.m. Upstairs is also the place for live entertainment from 7 to 10 p.m. every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
With nearly a dozen signature entrees ranging from Alaskan Snow Crab Legs to grilled or blackened fish, stuffed flounder or a 16-ounce bone-in ribeye, priced from $15.99 to $29.99, you can't go wrong with Woody's Shrimp 'n' Grits. Featuring a generous portion of grilled Gulf shrimp over cream cheese grits, smothered with an aromatic tasso ham gravy and garnished with fresh chopped tomatoes and red onions, for $15.99, it will have nearby diners saying "I'll have what she's having."
While you're waiting for your food to arrive, peruse the menu page that recounts the fascinating history of the reclaimed building materials used throughout the space.
Captain Woody's does not take reservations, but you can preview its menu at www.captainwoodys.com.
Freelance writer Pam Gallagher was a copy editor at USA Today and a staff writer and fashion editor for the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press.