When it was known as Buddy Roe’s Shrimp Shack, patrons came to the beachy roadhouse between Sullivan’s Island and Mt. Pleasant for cold beer and fried shrimp. But restaurateurs Ronnie and Kim Johnson are hoping a recent renovation will prompt people to associate their live music venue with salmon BLTs and wedding rehearsal dinners.
“We wanted to be more than a shrimp shack,” Ronnie Johnson says. “We wanted a little bit of style, a little bit of flair.”
The Johnsons have hired chef Paul Boggoni to prepare dishes such as beer cheese dip; tri-tip steak; smoked chicken wings and shrimp-and-grits for the restaurant, now called Sawyer’s on the Boulevard. “We’re really pushing our food, because our food is really, really good,” Johnson says. “People who’ve tasted it have said, ‘Yeah, you’re right. It is better than bar food.’”
In addition to the menu tweaks, the Johnsons have physically made over the seven-year-old establishment, installing an outdoor space with a bar, stage, dance floor and fire pit. It took more than two months to complete the project, partly because October’s heavy rains delayed construction.
Upgrades included tearing out a large section of a defunct miniature golf course adjacent to the restaurant, although the Johnsons retained a few holes so patrons can putt while they drink. Still, the Johnsons say live music will remain the primary form of entertainment: They’re planning to book acoustic acts for the early evening, and bands starting at 10 p.m.
“We’re trying to appeal to a different demographic for late night,” Johnson says. “We know some of the older demographic comes in earlier.”
Sawyer’s on the Boulevard, 1528 Ben Sawyer Blvd., opened last Thursday; a grand opening celebration is scheduled for tomorrow night. For more information, call 843-388-5270.