Plums raises $1,000 for injured veterans

Plums Restaurant at 904 Bay St., Beaufort recently hosted a Stone Brewing Company beer dinner to benefit The Independence Fund. The dinner raised approximately $1,000 for the organization.

The Independence Fund committee is raising money for this charity to help cover the expenses of some of the severely injured veterans and their caregivers who will attend a concert given by "Forrest Gump" star Gary Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band. The free concert will support troops injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. The event is part of Beaufort's annual Shrimp Festival in October.

Plums reopens with more floor space, menu additions

Owner Price aimed for 'vintage look with local feel'

What is "About Town"?

As you drive around northern Beaufort County, you notice a sign for a new shop, new construction or road work. Or you realize that an old store you once frequented has gone out of business. About Town answers the question, "What's going on here?"

If you have information about something that has changed the local landscape or if you wonder about one of those changes and would like us to tell you more about it, contact reporter Juliann Vachon at jvachon@beaufortgazette.com or 843-706-8184.

Plums Restaurant on Bay Street reopened last weekend after eight weeks of renovation and expansion that owner Lantz Price said gives the eatery a "vintage look with a local feel."

Among the changes are more seating, a new oyster bar, an expanded menu, new decor and a return to the historic building's original wooden ceilings, floors and walls, Price said.

Built in 1866, the building previously housed both Plums and the Shipman Gallery, which closed earlier this year.

"I knew when that space came available I just had to grab it," Price said. "I definitely put a lot of my emotional heart and soul into the project. ... We returned the building to as much of the old character as we possibly could."

The restaurant now has entrances on both Bay Street and the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.

Price opted for a "soft" opening and waited a week before formally announcing the reopening, giving cooks and other employees a chance to adjust to the expanded kitchen and dining areas and new dishes, he said.

So what's new on the menu?

Oysters (12 for $10) and other seafood like clams, local steamed shrimp and a Thai shrimp ceviche dish.

"People are just really loving the fact that they can get 12 oysters for a reasonable price," Price said.

With a bigger kitchen and room for a deep fryer, Plums also now serves traditional po' boys sandwiches, he said. Some other dinner items have changed, but the "spirit" is the same, he said.

"Everything has a Lowcountry feel to it," he said.

The restaurant has been a mainstay on Bay Street for decades. Price's family opened Plums in the historic building in 1987, and he took over ownership in 1995, he said.

Contractors gutted the building's interior and opened the space up, creating three distinct dining areas, Price said.

Some of the building's original wood was transformed into table and bar tops, he said.

He declined to say how much the renovations cost, saying only that it was worth the investment.

For a complete menu, visit www.plumsrestaurant.com.

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Plums to expand, renovate 143-year-old downtown building

One of Beaufort's oldest downtown restaurants is expanding to accommodate more guests and a larger menu.

Plums will close for a couple of weeks this month while workers finish renovations at 904 Bay St., which the restaurant shared with the Shipman Gallery before the art store closed earlier this year, said Plums Inc. owner Lantz Price.

When the restaurant reopens in early February, guests will notice a return to the original wooden walls, ceiling and floors of the building built in 1866. It will have more seating and an oyster bar at the front facing Bay Street, among other changes, he said.

"I've always felt constricted, being limited to the back of the building," Price said. "We've wanted the whole building for a while, and it was like a dream come true when that became possible. I can truly see the building fulfilling its potential being one big space."

Price's family opened Plums in the building in 1987, and he took over ownership in 1995, he said.

"We want to expose all of those layers of the past and bring the building back to the vintage look it really lends itself to," Price said.

Plums will retain its hours, and traditional dinner items will remain. The cooking staff will have more space, enabling it to prepare additional dishes, like po' boys, oysters, more salads and other entrees, Price said.

The existing restaurant space will continue to serve as a seating area and will accommodate a longer bar after some walls are knocked down and the kitchen is rearranged, he said. After the expansion, late-night visitors will have more room to move around when they drop by for a drink and live music.

Plums will continue selling ice cream off the menu but will eliminate its take-out ice cream bar, he said.

"It's kind of a burden having that bar there," he said. "It will serve us better as more seating area."

The bathrooms will be redone in a new spot, and some decor may change, he said.

Price said he hopes the new look, style and space will make Plums not just a lunch and dinner spot, but a place for people to stop in for a glass of wine and appetizer between meals.

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French bistro says 'oui' to Habersham

When restaurateur Lantz Price was approached about leasing an open space in the Habersham Marketplace in Burton, he thought it a perfect location for a restaurant serving French-style cuisine.

"That's a live-work neighborhood," Price said of Habersham. "Traditional French bistros find themselves in that kind of community."

Enter Bistro Patois, the latest venture for Price and his Plums Inc. Restaurant Group, which includes Bay Street favorites Saltus River Grill and Plums.

Price began setting up Bistro Patois in May and opened it a few weeks ago in a small space on Market Street. Business has been steady and customers have enjoyed the food, he said.

An official grand opening for Bistro Patois is set from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, when patrons will be able to tour the space, mingle with restaurant staff and sample items from the menu. A ribbon-cutting with the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce will take place at 5:30.

The atmosphere at the new restaurant is a cozy and warm combination of a bistro and tavern, Price said.

"It's a classic place to go and feel like you're in a neighborhood," he said. "It's a good place to call a destination when you just want to get away, but it's also great to gather when you're just in the neighborhood."

Jim Spratling, the executive chef at Saltus, will also man the kitchen at the bistro. Spratling and Price began their working relationship in 1997 at Plums.

"It's a treat for me to be able to work so closely with Bistro Patois," said Spratling, a native North Carolinian. "Every venture with Plums Inc. has proven to be an exceptional journey, and I expect no less from this one."

Price also hopes to have the same success at his new restaurant that he has experienced at his other establishments.

"It works really well for my company," he said of Bistro Patois. "It gives us an opportunity to hit another demographic that we can really capitalize on, right there in Habersham and the surrounding areas."

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Sustainable Seafood Initiative

Plums, Inc. proudly announces its partnership with the Charleston, SC based Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SSI). Sustainable Seafood refers to fish that are caught or farmed with consideration for the ocean’s overall ecological balance.  Initially designed to promote the use of local and sustainable seafood in Charleston restaurants, the initiative is quickly catching on statewide.

Initially a collaboration with the South Carolina Aquarium, the South Carolina Seafood Alliance, the Coastal Conservation League, Johnson and Wales University and the University of South Carolina, the goal of the SSI is to promote the conservation of fishery resources and the use of locally and domestically caught seafood in restaurants.

Plums, Inc. Owner, Lantz Price, said “We make every effort to obtain seafood from local sources and believe in this alliance. Many of our favorite fishes are showing signs of decline and it’s up to all of us to make sure we do what we can to ensure their future availability.”

Plums, Inc., as well as other partners in SSI do not currently serve Chilean sea bass, orange roughy and imported shark.  For more information on ocean conservation or how to make environmentally-friendly seafood choices, visit one or all of the following: www.scquarium.org, www.chefscollaboration.org, www.safmc.net, www.msc.org.

SC Certified

Plums, Inc. recently earned the status of “Certified South Carolina Grown” from the South Carolina Department of Agriculture. A proud participant in the Department of Agriculture’s Fresh on the Menu program, Plums, Inc. prepares menus for its restaurants, Saltus River Grill and Plums Restaurant, that contain at least 25 percent Certified South Carolina Grown fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood.

“We’ve always trusted our local farms to provide us with the freshest items in season,” owner Lantz Price said. “We trust the quality of our local produce and see it as nothing less than our duty to provide that quality to our customers.”

The Certified South Carolina Grown program is a cooperative effort among producers, processors, wholesalers, retailers and the South Carolina Department of Agriculture to brand and promote South Carolina produce and products.

Plums Restaurant is a casual, eclectic bistro serving lunch and dinner daily. Plums is located at 904 ½ Bay Street in downtown Beaufort. Saltus River Grill, just a few doors down at 802 Bay Street, offers the atmosphere of a chic Manhatten eatery with the historic charm found only in the South Carolina Lowcountry.


Copyright 2008 © Plums, Inc.
Photography for Plums, Inc. by Riann Mihiylov Photography