After 5 days of eating fresh shrimp in Beaufort, South Carolina, my husband and I both wanted something other than seafood for dinner. I heard about, and read about, another restaurant fairly close to where we were staying on St. Helena Island. The restaurant received mixed reviews. Some reviews said it was wonderful and the food was fantastic. Others claimed the restaurant was hot and the servers were rude and the place was very noisy. We put all that aside and decided to try it for ourselves. As the sky overhead turned black with thunder clouds, off we headed to Johnson Creek Tavern for a un-seafood dinner.
They begin serving dinner at 5:00 pm. Since we are early eaters, we were there at 5:00 on the nose and were the first customers seated. We had a marsh view and if the weather had been better the view would have been also. Johnson Creek Tavern is many things, fancy isn’t one of those things. The fist thing that hits your eye will be the hundreds of dollar bills on the walls. Actually, on the walls and ceilings and everywhere you look. I never did find out the meaning behind their decorating style, but I will find out the next time!
We were seated quite a few minutes before our server approached and introduced himself. We ordered our drinks and asked him to give us some time to read the menu. Needless to say the majority of food items are seafood related, as expected. We did find what we were looking for further down the list. My husband was in the mood for ribs ($21.95) and he ordered the rack of ribs with coleslaw and fries. I went for the rib eye steak ($21.95) with a baked potato and veggies, which also came with a salad.
Their prices at Johnson Creek Tavern are comparable to other restaurants in the area. A crab-cake dinner is $19.95, Frogmore Stew is $18.95 and Peel-N-Eat Shrimp are market price. Soda or tea is $2.25. They have a bar, so drinks are no problem, and they standard dessert items like Key Lime Pie or Chocolate Mousse. Click here for their menu.
As Johnson Creek Tavern began to fill up, the noise increased rapidly. It is a family restaurant and there were several little ones in tow. We put the noise in the background and enjoyed the food. For a seafood restaurant, the ribs, according to my husband, were very good. They were much better than he thought they would be. My rib eye steak was also very good. It was large and it was prepared ‘medium’ as I requested. We did take a to-go-box for the leftovers.
Other than the noise level, which can’t be helped, the only other thing that we could find that wasn’t up to par was the service. Service was slow, considering the restaurant wasn’t even full. They seemed to have sufficient staff, but we did notice that the servers spent a lot of time talking with customers. The gentleman at the next table must have asked 100 questions regarding ingredients and preparation of almost every item on the menu.
Since we took half of our meals in a to-go box, we did decline dessert, so I cannot comment on those items. Johnson Creek Tavern was much better than we thought it would be. We didn’t encounter rude servers, the temperature inside was perfectly comfortable and the food was very good. The noise level problem I have to agree with, it was very loud. But you should put that negative aside and give Johnson Creek Tavern a try. You can eat inside or on their covered deck.
If you are heading out to Hunting Island State Park, or just out for a ride, plan on stopping at Johnson Creek Tavern for lunch or dinner. Throw a t-shirt and shorts on over-top of your bathing suit and you will be appropriately dressed! Johnson Creek Tavern, a pleasant surprise with delicious food!
Johnson Creek Tavern
2141 Sea Island Parkway (highway 21)
Harbor Island, South Carolina