When Frank Gibson and Chef Tony Alessi bought Sigler's Rotisserie and Seafood restaurant in Bluffton last August, they didn't want to make a big splash to the public during the transition. They wanted it to be seamless, no big waves, given the restaurant's loyal following and reputation.
They kept the name "Sigler's" after Michael and Shirley Sigler turned over the keys after 21 years of ownership to retire.
The new owners also kept the same menu with a handful of Italian additions and made sure the open kitchen still shined. The rotisserie remains the star attraction.
The duo never closed the restaurant at Sheridan Park while undergoing an interior renovation that included new lighting, new tables (seating for 127; private and event seating for 58), shiplap walls and a new color scheme. They continued serving daily and remodeled at night after hours.
"It's been completely updated on the inside," said Gibson, who splits his time between Ohio and Bluffton. Chef Alessi and his wife Candy, who handles the front of the house, live here full time.
"We kept everything the same, and the food is the same now with some new dishes; we now serve lunch (Monday through Friday)," he said.
"Everybody knew that it was bought, and they had a chance to meet us ... we've gotten very positive replies," Gibson said. "We haven't missed a beat.
"It's a casual, upscale and friendly atmosphere," he said.
The menu is chock-full of options from the starters (fried calamari, oysters Florentine and fried green tomatoes), salads (caprese and roasted fennel and beets), and soups (she crab and French onion).
The extraordinary entrée offerings range from braised short ribs, pan-seared sea scallops, prime rib, pork schnitzel, pasta prima vera with chicken, veal cordon bleu, half-chicken and veal Oscar. A generational family recipe of pierogies also makes an appearance.
Add a slice of cheesecake or key lime pie to top off your dinner.
To Gibson, this effort is a family affair. He's known the chef and his wife since they both grew up in Ohio.
"My partner has been in the restaurant business his whole life, (40 years)," Gibson said. "He brings everything to the kitchen. Creativity, new dishes, and a high-quality standard that were already in place.
"It's still the same restaurant that everybody's been going to, but it's time to put our spin on it," Gibson said, "keeping the old things in place but adding some new."
Welcome to the newly named Sebastion's Steak & Seafood restaurant.
The spin will be introduced at its grand opening celebration April 3-4. Billy Donato, a Las Vegas headliner and longtime friend of the Gibsons, will perform both nights in a "Vintage Vegas with a Modern Twist" dinner and show. Buffet and entertainment packages are available.
For more information, call 843-815-5030.
Lowcountry resident Dean Rowland is a veteran senior editor and freelance writer.