Still more twists on shrimp-and-grits at Acme

Shrimp trilogy dish from Acme Lowcountry Kitchen on the Isle of Palms. Wade Spees/Staff Thursday, January 29, 2015

Acme Lowcountry Kitchen has long been the regional leader in available styles of shrimp-and-grits – and now the Isle of Palms restaurant has added more varieties to its menu, bringing the category total to 10.

“Our customers love the variety we offer, so we figured why not,” owner Bobby Simons says.

The shrimp-and-grits expansion is just one element of a menu rewrite that also includes a new Westbrook boil made with amberjack. Acme has also found new uses for swordfish (it’s blackened and paired with creamed corn; roasted kale and blueberry butter) and flounder (served fried and dressed with green tomato bacon jam.)

“One of our main complaints was that we did not have a lot of fish on the menu,” Simons says. “It is hard to tell someone that most all the fish they are eating at other restaurants is imported and not local, especially Mahi.”

Instead of correcting customers, Acme bought local fish when it was in season; wrapped it and froze it. The restaurant had previously employed the same tactic to keep local shrimp on its menu throughout the year: Simons says Acme in 2015 bought and froze 6000 pounds of shrimp.

“We are now completely using local and East Coast sourced seafood, except for the salmon from the Faroe Islands in the Atlantic,” he says.

Grits are also relatively local, coming from Columbia’s Adluh Flour Mills. “They were willing to work with us on the large volume we use,” Simons says.

Currently, the shrimp-and-grits menu selection includes the Whistle Stop, made with fried green tomatoes and pimento cheese; the Rockefeller, featuring fried oysters, spinach, bacon and garlic cream and the Pioneer, for shrimp-and-grits fans who prefer their bowls garnished with short ribs and sweet onion port demiglace.