Spotlight on Small Business: “Tybee Island Social Club” July 2010

August 2, 2010 by  
Filed under Spotlight on Small Business

Tybee Island Social Club

Exciting New “Green” Dining Experience: Enticing, Eclectic!

Editor, Cynthia Kinkel

Nashville native, musician Kurtis Schumm has been playing music on Tybee for the past five years, and restoring old houses. He says he’s always been an entrepreneurial spirit with an artistic bend. Schumm’s also a self-taught chef with experience preparing food for small groups. “I really love to cook!” he admits.

Sarah Lanier is an interior designer who used to own a furniture business with her own line on down on Liberty Street in Savannah. When she and Kurtis met they decided to blend their talents into one venture. Both loved food and the idea of combining healthy cuisine, art, music and merchandise under one roof was very appealing.

While living in Atlanta several years ago, Sarah had been impressed with Taqueria Del Sol on Howell Mill Road. “I loved the easy atmosphere of that place,” she says, “and their food is wonderful.” She and Kurtis decided to try their hand at creating a similar styled eatery on Tybee.  The plan was Sarah would work on the floor design, the decor and the furniture; Kurtis, the lighting and artwork, and of course the music and the food preparation.

They found an investor and set to work on the building. Finally all the planning and hard work paid off last month when the doors of the Tybee Island Social Club opened wide to the public and Tybee’s newest eatery was off and running. The owners say the reception has been great, and the place has been getting rave reviews from locals and visitors for service, entertainment, and the menu.

“We specialize in freshness – everything is made from scratch using local ingredients whenever possible,” explains Schumm. “We prepare menu items from local proteins (meat, foul, seafood), organic produce, and two out of the three beers on tap right now come from Georgia – Sweetwater 420, and Terrapin Sunny Wheat (with a touch of Savannah Bee honey).”  By the way, all Social Club cocktails are made with freshly squeezed juices, fresh herbs and spices, too.

Not only are the owners into fresh and local, they’re promoting a responsible, “green” approach to business as well.

“We practice ‘substantiability’ in our daily routine, and we’re really into recycling what we use – aluminum, cardboard, glass – you name it,” says Sarah. “And we encourage patrons to ride bicycles. We ride, and we’ve got plenty of space and racks outside – we’re even thinking of offering a discount to patrons who cycle over here.” Seems like a great idea for a location with limited parking, and Schumm and Lanier say it’s working. The new covered eating porch outside the front door is also most convenient for restaurant guests who stop by to grab a quick bite. Movies are shown in this area as well.

Inside, ordering is done from a central location up front, and food is then brought out to the tables. There are several dining areas, and also a full service bar with a closed circuit TV.  They offer wine tastings every Wednesday evening ($35) that pair exquisite vintage wines with tasty food bites – island clams, beef tenderloin.

Live entertainment is provided on the weekends. Right now the line-up starts on Thursdays with
The Accomplices, an accomplished acoustic trio featuring an upright bass, guitar, and drums; on Friday, a group from Statesboro named Savannah Avenue plays funky reggae and jazz. Saturday’s “catch of the day” music scene usually brings Kurtis in to play, and Sunday’s feature is Trainwrecks guitarist, Jason Bible, usually solo.

Social Club also offers “nightly specials,” and no taco item is over $4.50.  Any taco item may also be converted to a salad, and Sarah says this is catching on fast. One of the most popular tacos is their “steak taco” with lime and tequila marinated skirt steak, aioli garlic and fresh 100% baby arugula; another delicious and tempting favorite is the “ceviche starter” at $5.99 which consists of local seafood, avocado, lime, red onion, cilantro and Savannah Bee Honey with chips.
One of the most requested items on the menu is their side plate of “collards” which is a new twist on a southern favorite, described as “bacon-hugged with a bit o’ heat” for $2.50.

They also offer fresh salsas, guacamole, or creamy queso dip with chips, desserts and for kids 12 years and under, there are chicken fingers or mini corn dogs served with sweet potato fries, and a drink for only $3.99 – a great deal for families on a limited budget. The serve butter beans and black beans, too.

Kurtis says he learned the secret of creating the perfect sauce long ago from an Italian lady and friend who told him never to use water – “Only wine or stock to do it right,” he adds. “I’ve learned to trust my instincts.” He and Sarah both seem to be of the same mind, as are the members of their kitchen and wait staff. Kurtis describes them (above) as musicians and artists, and creative types, sensitive to the overall mission of the restaurant. “We believe in sustainability,” Sarah says, “and we’re working together to accomplish it.”

Sounds like a great concept to top off a very positive vibe! Bravo!

Tybee Island Social Club

1311 Butler Ave.
Tybee Island, GA 31328

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One Response to “Spotlight on Small Business: “Tybee Island Social Club” July 2010”
  1. Polly Toole says:

    I love this place. Sweet potato fries and duck taco………..the best…….

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