Paris-trained Chef Olivier Allain traveled the world cooking and perfecting his recipes before opening his new restaurants, Elements Restaurant and Lounge, in Hilton Head Island’s Beach Market. COURTESY ELEMENTS RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE

It is a very busy month for new businesses readying to open, businesses committing to spaces and entrepreneurs expanding their empire. Let’s get to it.

B-Jack’s Deep South Mercantile, 16 Church St., Bluffton: You may know Michael Gonzalez as a Realtor in town, as an avid boater, and active philanthropist, but now he’s added “mercantile shop owner” to his resume. This shop has a little bit of everything that will appeal to Southern souls, from fishing rods to college and pro-team themed tailgate gear, and apparel to Rugged Road boat coolers. Church Street is turning into a browser’s dream with Bluffton General Store right next door, and there is very little overlap between the two stores. B-Jack’s has a lot of unique finds, from the TidalBall beach game to Toadfish non-tip koozies and oyster shuckers to William Murray and Lowcountry Livin’ golf shirts. Plus, they have their own private label candles and hand soap made in partnership with Bluffton Candle Company.  

Lobster Bar, 81 Pope Avenue, top floor, 843-715-0224, You might remember this space as the former home of a bar or comedy club. Now, Rob Saxton has transformed the space above New York City Pizza into a 180-seat restaurant and bar featuring beautiful views of the new Celebration Park. You will find some boilerplate apps like mozzarella sticks and delicious wings, but the stars of the menu are the crustaceans. Lobster bites, lobster mac and cheese, and tempura fried lobster dominate the app menu. Also on the menu are four types of lobster rolls, including the Maine roll with chilled lobster, the Connecticut roll with warm lobster and butter, the Buffalo Roll with flash fried lobster and the Lobster Bar Classic. You can even get lobster on a burger bun, thanks to the surf and turf burger. Great bar, live music, great views and a needed concept on the island.

Meg’s Mobile Hydration, Bluffton, 843-949-8524, I first got hip to this when I saw a newly wrapped vehicle rolling around my Cypress Ridge roads. I first knew Kris Coleman when he helped launch Mr. Pest Control. But Kris’ true passion is caring for others. He has been a registered nurse for nearly two decades, formerly at the Cleveland Clinic. Kris worked in New York City ERs during the pandemic and kept traveling, working in COVID ICUs across the Southeast before going to work at Coastal Carolina Hospital’s ER last year. Now he has launched a mobile IV vitamin hydration business. The company is named after his sister-in-law, Meghan, who owns a similar brick-and-mortar spa in Ohio. Kris travels to homes and events to start saline electrolyte and vitamin IV drips to help with energy, sickness, hangovers, athletic performance and more. 

Deano’s Wood Fired Grille, 7 Greenwood Drive (Reilley’s Plaza), 843-686-3000, Folks have emailed wondering what was going in at the Triangle, and now we know. Executive Chef Robert Shaffer and his wife, Jennifer, are both graduates of the Culinary Institute of America and opened their first Deano’s restaurant in Dublin, Ga., in 2010. The menu features a variety of unique takes on Italian staples like pizza, lasagna and chicken parmesan, and dishes such as steak Regina, shrimp and grits, pork porterhouse and chicken cordon bleu. Deano’s will feature a $24.99 early bird special (4 to 5 p.m.) featuring a choice of four soups and appetizers and a choice of five entrees, including crab cakes and chicken marsala. Open Tuesday through Saturday 3 to 9:30 p.m.

New doings at Main Street Village

The North End’s premier shopping destination is in a transitional phase, with a number of new stores and owners taking over storefronts. First, a welcome to Rick Patel of Patel’s Liquors. Rick has become well known for his charitable foundation and his budding beverage and convenience store empire in Jasper County, and he has taken over both Reilley’s Spirits locations on the island, including the Main Street location at 1105 Main St. 

There are a number of new stores readying their locations. A new handmade jewelry and accessory store is opening at 1401 Main Street, next to Fraum Chiropractic. Then there’s a brand that’s built its following as a grazing board, basket lunch and picnic stylist, Board and Basket, that is taking over the former Pizza Co. space at 1201 Main Street. They hope to have their doors open in early May. And finally, No Bull Mattress, the discount luxury mattress store that opened in Bluffton in 2021, is expanding to the island. Mark and Shannon Coleman hope to be open at 1203A Main Street next to Limoncello’s in June.

Two more island eateries

Elements Restaurant and Lounge, 2 North Forest Beach Drive, Unit 108, 843-802-4942,, features gourmet European cuisine from chef Olivier Allain, a Paris-trained chef who has traveled the world cooking and perfecting his recipes to open this island eatery. The menu features appetizers like North Atlantic lobster tacos, truffle fries and a beet cobbler, followed by entrees such as osso bucco, butter fish and truffle linguine. 

And there’s good news for fans of Thai Smile Cuisine, formerly of Bridge Center on the Bluffton-Hilton Head border. Chef Kanlaya Ouychaisawad began her cooking journey as a food blogger before building a diehard following in the Lowcountry. Now, she is relaunching over the bridge at 11 Palmetto Bay Road, Suite 102 in the Island Crossing Plaza. Thai Smile will offer lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. For more information, visit

Coming attractions

• Two “future home” signs have popped up at the Washington Square site off of Buckwalter Parkway, both familiar names that have built up loyal Lowcountry followings. Palmetto Running Company is opening in the urban townhome mixed-use community. Named one of the best running stores in America for the past four years, the local fave will open a third location to go with their Plantation Park Bluffton location and their Shelter Cove home on the island. They will be joined by Birdie James, the authentic chic women’s clothier opened by Michelle Taylor. Michelle was an Old Town fave at her former Calhoun Street location, but distancing restriction during the pandemic forced Taylor to focus on a larger location also at Shelter Cove on Hilton Head. Now, she will return to Bluffton with a 2,300-square-foot storefront. No word on opening timelines for the stores.

• Coligny Plaza is getting a new eatery in a familiar location. BBQ chef Scott Forrest Bodkin is opening Forrest Fire Southern Smokin’ BBQ in FISH’s back room in early May. For more opening details, keep an eye on

• Finally, as we prepped to hit “send” here, we got word of Chill-N Nitrogen Ice Cream coming to Belfair Towne Village. Chill-N is one of the first liquid nitrogen ice cream concepts in the U.S., first opened in Miami in 2012. The concept: Pick an ice cream base (milk, yogurt or alt-milk like coconut, almond or oat) and then a flavor. Add in premium toppings like candies, cookies and cereal, then your scoop is flash frozen in front of you using liquid nitrogen chilled to -320 degrees Fahrenheit. Soon-to-retire Marine Derek Cohen will run the latest Chill-N location and looks to open later this year. For more information, visit

A pair of goodbyes

You might have read of the Bed, Bath and Beyond bankruptcy. All stores are beginning liquidation sales, including the Bluffton location at 1460 Fording Island Road. Corporate officials are still hoping for a buyer that will save store closures scheduled for June. Coupons will no longer be accepted, while gift cards can be used through May 8. 

And finally, Underground Burrito has closed on May River Road. Owner Jimmy Soules sent out word of the closure in late March. Good news for addicts of the delicious burritos: They are still being offered at Bar 19 at Island West (including the 24-hour burrito vending machine behind the Island West clubhouse).

Tim Wood is a veteran journalist based in Bluffton.