By Alison Krugman
Thursday, August 30, 2012, Pawleys Island - Georgetown native Matt “Lumpy” Kelly has brought his years of service industry experience to his new Pawleys Island restaurant, Lumpy’s Bar and Grill.
Kelly, the owner and namesake of Lumpy’s, spent close to seven months transforming an old home formerly housing an acupuncture studio to the warm, inviting gathering place it is now. The building is nestled several feet back from the road on the west side of U.S. 17 Bypass in Pawleys Island, across from the Food Lion shopping center.
A friend and I decided to check out the restaurant early in the evening, around 4 p.m. From the outside, Lumpy’s still resembles a home with a quaint entryway. If not for the brightly lit open sign next to the window, I might not have noticed that it was a business. Once inside, however, the wood floors, dark stone fireplace and cozy fishing town décor made us feel instantly welcomed, leaving no trace that the building we were in used to be a home.
There were already a few patrons at the bar, but we opted for a table near a window. The music was mellow and appropriate for dinner hours, ranging from the Beatles “Here Comes the Sun” to blues instrumentals.
For starters we tried a bowl of Lumpy’s Gumbo and an order of Fried Crawfish. Other appetizers offered on the menu include Little Neck Clams for $10 a dozen, Chicken Wings in a house-made mango pineapple sauce for $9, and Fried Green Tomatoes for $9.
The bowl of gumbo was $6, and the portion was more than enough to share. It included sausage, shrimp, corn and peppers in a tomato broth over rice. For a starter it was quite filling, but wonderful. Our only complaint was that it could have used more heat, and upon overhearing our conversation Lumpy himself was quick to offer us hot sauce and peppers to add to taste.
The wild-caught fried crawfish for $8.50 were excellent: not breaded or fried to death, and served with a sweet and tangy house-made remoulade. Although the crawfish needed nothing added for flavor, the remoulade was mouthwatering.
As an entrée, my friend chose the Fried Seafood Combo, $19, consisting of shrimp, scallops, oysters, and a filet of cod. We were informed after ordering that the restaurant was out of oysters, and my friend was offered an extra portion of whatever he liked to make up for it.
A lover of all things seafood, my friend said the cod was excellent, and commented that everything was fried to delectability and noted it was not dripping in grease or overwhelmed with breading. His dish was served with a side of new potatoes, which he enjoyed, and a bowl of seemingly generic slaw that neither of us were crazy about.
For my dinner, I chose a Fried Green Tomato BLT, $8, which consisted of four generous fried green tomatoes, a mound of crispy bacon, lettuce, Cheddar cheese and a tangy mayo on Texas Toast. It was a monstrous sandwich that was worth every bit of the mess I made while eating it.
My BLT was served with the same below-average slaw, but also included large waffle cut fries that were a nice alternative to standard cut fries.
Other entrée options include a Whole Baby Flounder for $15, the Lumpy Burger for $8, Baby Back Ribs for $18, and an 8-ounce Filet Mignon for $24.
We didn’t notice a dessert menu, but upon finishing our meals Lumpy offered us a slice of Mud Pie made in-house by his 14-year-old daughter. I couldn’t pass it up, and her concoction of large Oreo crumbles, coffee ice cream and chocolate drizzle was a fun way to end our Lumpy’s experience.
Although Lumpy’s has been open only for six weeks, general manager Cynthia Church, the former GM of Bonefish Grill, says business is steadily progressing.
An outdoor deck area, though still under construction, is transformed during weekends for live music where bands like last weekend’s performers, Ten Toes Up, play under an impressive live oak and pull in a local, late-night crowd. There are also plans in the works for an outdoor oyster roast and other special fall events.
Don’t let the outer appearance of Lumpy’s deceive you. With the cozy interior, friendly staff and delectable menu items that are a far cry from typical, greasy bar food, this could be a hot new Pawleys Island gathering place.
Lumpy’s is located at 9259 Ocean Highway in Pawleys Island, and is open Tuesdays-Saturdays from 4 p.m.-1:30 a.m., and on Sundays for brunch and a Bloody Mary bar from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The phone number is (843) 314-9191.