The Independent: A new restaurant to love in historic Georgetown

14 Feb

The Independent: A new restaurant to love in historic Georgetown

The interior of The Independent, located at The George Hotel.

You’ve gotta love this: there’s a new restaurant in historic Georgetown, and, fittingly, it came about on Valentine’s Day.

Pulling inspiration from the city’s working waterfront and long history of shrimping and fishing, The Independent, a new restaurant inside the soon-to-open The George Hotel, opened on Feb. 14.

The Front Street newcomer is part of a reimagined portion of the historic 600 block of Front Street where The Georgetown Times, South Carolina’s oldest newspaper, once had offices. In that space now is The George Hotel, set to open March 8, 2024, and is being billed as Georgetown’s first boutique property.

The Independent is named for the former family-owned and -operated Independent Seafood shop that served the community for nearly 80 years before closing last summer. The Independent aims to honor that legacy with a menu showcasing the food delivered from Lowcountry fisherman, farmers, and purveyors.

The Independent is owned by Winyah Hospitality and led by Executive Chef Thomas Vance and the award-winning team at The Indigo Road Hospitality Group. The restaurant will feature seasonal menus of Southern-inspired dishes, guided by the region’s bounty of fresh seafood. Raw offerings, like little neck clams, peel-and-eat shrimp, and oysters on the half shell, are complemented by prepared small plates, chef selections, and a la carte proteins and sides. From the bar, worldly wines, local beers, and a playful, rum-forward cocktail list round out the experience, which evokes the feeling of a getaway, whether that be a vacation or a staycation.

Filet Mignon topped with Fried Clams at the Independent in Georgetown. (Photo by Andrew Cebulka)

Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Beth Stedman enthusiastically praised the opening of The Independent.

“This is another example of the ever-expanding landscape of new and exciting businesses in historic Georgetown and South Carolina’s Hammock Coast,” Stedman said. “I’ve been lucky enough to tour the new hotel and restaurant twice over the last few weeks, and it is a stunning property. The George Hotel is going to add a new dimension to our already-famous Southern hospitality here on the Hammock Coast, and The Independent, with its eclectic but Lowcountry-inspired menu, is another example of a locally owned restaurant that seeks to inspire and delight.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled with this Valentine’s Day delight here in Historic Georgetown.”

The dining room’s expansive windows offer a view of the city’s bustling thoroughfare, while the eclectic layers of textures and patterns curated by Jenny Keenan Design provide a refined escape.  

Led by Chef Vance, the menu focuses on Lowcountry flavors and the bounty of the sea through a thoughtfully presented raw bar selection and prepared proteins and sides. Working directly with local farmers and fisheries, like Blue Truck Organics, Tiny Victory Farms, Reed’s Greens, and Harrelson’s Seafood Market, to name a few, seasonal produce rounds out the seafood-forward offerings.

From the raw bar, guests can enjoy both small and large seafood towers or a la carte selections of Little Neck Clams, Oysters on the Half Shell, and Rock Crab Claws. Small plates and salads meant to be shared include New Orleans style BBQ Clams with butternut squash, shaved beets, and grilled baguette; Fried Chicken Livers with black pepper gravy and housemade candied hot sauce; and Skillet Corn Bread served with honey butter.

The George Hotel, located on the 600 block of historic Front Street, will open on March 8, 2024.

Coined “Chef Selections”, larger format dishes such as Blackened Flounder with a lump crab and andouille sausage perloo; and Chicken & Dumplings with mushroom supreme sauce; pull inspiration from classic Southern flavors and traditions that have stood the test of time. A la carte proteins, such as C.A.B. ribeye, pork chop, and market whole fish, can be picked and paired with an extensive selection of toppings, sauces, and sides—think a Filet Mignon topped with Fried Oysters and Cajun Hollandaise or Pimento Cheese Butter.

For dessert, Indigo Road’s pastry team, led by Chef Anne White, offers an indulgent showing of reimagined classics from Mile High Key Lime Pie to Hummingbird Cake.

Following its Valentine’s Day debut, the restaurant will be open Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays from 5-9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 5-10 p.m.

Mark A. Stevens, director of tourism development for the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce, said he was happy to welcome The Independent to the Hammock Coast.

“What an absolute delight that The Independent chose to open on Valentine’s Day,” Stevens said. “What’s not to love about a new restaurant from an award-winning restaurant group opening in historic Georgetown. This is another example of what makes the Hammock Coast stand out on the South Carolina coast.”

To see The Independent’s full menu, click HERE.

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and never miss what's happening on South Carolina's Hammock Coast!