While Daniel Island is a relatively recently-established community, Karen Elsey, a founder of Laura Alberts Restaurant, says the staff there enjoys the pleasure that comes from being a part of the social and culinary fabric of the island.
“We have watched children grow and people retire here on the island. We appreciate all of our islanders and all of our patrons that come from all around the Lowcountry, including Kiawah and Seabrook islands.”
They come to Laura Alberts for several very tasty reasons. Sure, the ambiance and distinction of Daniel Island is a draw. Customers can enjoy those wonderful island afternoons and evenings on the patio with a glass of wine or craft beer. But the main reason people flock to Laura Alberts is…well…the food, and drink of course. The pleasingly eclectic dining establishment specializes in fresh, local food complimented by house-made sauces and spreads that are enough to make the palate sizzle with anticipation when you walk through the door.
“Our clientele are foodies, people that enjoy a mouthful of flavor they can’t forget, so they keep coming back,” said Karen Elsey. “That includes people of all walks of life.”
A homegrown menu inspired by Charleston-native Laura Leppert, Laura Alberts’ farm-to-table menu is an innovative twist on traditional southern favorites. Karen Elsey opened the restaurant with her mother, Laura Leppert, in 2002 with the name paying homage to Laura and Karen’s father, Albert, a policeman.
The tight-knit, creative staff that includes Laura, Karen, Executive Chef Matt Brigham, and Sous Chef Chris MacDougal prides itself on innovative food preparation and presentation. At the front of the house, Ashley Gaskins spearheads the social media projects, while Karen’s son Elliott manages the American craft beer portfolio.
Okay..how about we start off with some fried brie rolls with raspberry chipotle coulis, follow it with a Daniel Island salad of mixed greens, arugula, carrots, cherry tomatoes, onions, cucumber, candied walnuts, caramelized apples, bleu cheese crumbles and raspberry vinaigrette. Ahhh, and perhaps a salad topping of sautéed blackened scallops. For a dinner entree, maybe we’ll try Laura’s BBQ shrimp and grit cakes–a stone ground grit cake–with bourbon BBQ sauce, crumbled bacon, cheddar cheese and warm ciabatta bread, all enhanced by a William Hill Chardonnay. Sounds delightful, doesn’t it?
Of course, there are a number of menu selections to choose from, a long list of appetizers, salads and entrees, ranging from pork, steak and chicken dishes to several mouth-watering fish dishes. Laura Alberts offers craft beers in addition to a variety of small production wines not found in grocery stores. There’s a gluten-free menu as well.
“We just bought a smoker and are smoking pork, beef and fish,” said Karen Elsey in an excited fashion.”You can call and order it in bulk to enjoy with friends and family at home or come in and enjoy it on our new spring menu. Our courtyard is always inviting for lunch and Wednesday night dinners.”
The restaurant recently opened the Island Park Room, a venue for meetings and special events and Laura Alberts is the exclusive caterer for the venue.
Laura Alberts is open for lunch Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday dinner from 5 to 9 p.m., and Saturday brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information and to view the restaurant’s entire menu, visit www.lauraalberts.com.
Story By John Torsiello, photo provided