The newly opened Lowcountry Kitchen is far different from what owner Lori Holland envisioned when she set her plans in motion last fall.
The owner of Bluffton’s Lowcountry Lobster said the kitchen came about because her company needed a place for its food truck.
“We needed a commissary kitchen. We needed a place to park and plug in, have our food stored, delivered and fresh, and have it be efficient,” Holland said the day before the Feb. 5 grand opening.
A typical commissary kitchen is a licensed commercial kitchen where various food service providers can rent space to prepare their cuisine, perhaps for catering or small-run production.
But, Holland said, “It’s completely different than what we thought.” She has also included others in her new enterprise. Sharing the space with Holland are Amanda Walton, of Bluffton, certified nutritional health coach and owner of Well Fed, and Bluffton native Geist E. Ussery, owner of Geist & Company, a chef with 20 years in the food and hospitality industry.
The front room was originally going to be an office, Holland said, but evolved into a place that will seat 32 people for all manner of meals and parties.
“Even through we’re three different businesses, essentially we see ourselves as a team,” said Holland.
Her company does all things lobster for the food truck, but can also cater large-scale events. “We’re probably the happy medium between the (other) two,” Holland said.
Walton focuses on health-conscious food and assures people that they will enjoy it. “Just because you eat well doesn’t mean it has to taste bad. I get a lot of comments from people who say, ‘This is actually really good’,” she said. “Well, I’m not going to feed you bad-tasting food.”
Ussery’s cuisine is at the other end of the culinary spectrum.
“I’m more about my Southern roots,” he said. “I love it all. I’m a gravy man. I believe in staying farm-to-table as much as I can. If you’re trying to save your arteries, I’m probably not the best person to call.”
However, Ussery does see a big benefit in working with Holland and Walton.
“I’m going to learn how to incorporate what they do into what I do because everybody’s moving in that direction,” he said. “Food is becoming a big topic, and what you eat and how you eat and where you get it from is even a bigger deal.”
All three see cooking classes and other opportunities in the future. The potential for the shared kitchen space seems vast. “When you have people who come together and have a passion and love food, and they share, I see a lot of growth here for everybody involved,” said Ussery.
Lowcountry Kitchen and Lowcountry Lobster are at 258 Red Cedar St., Suite 15. Call 843-290-4388 for information. For information on Well Fed, call 843-304-1360; for Geist & Company, call 843-247-4694.
Gwyneth J. Saunders is a veteran journalist and freelance writer living in Bluffton.