In its brand new, bright blue building tucked into the northeast corner of the Bluffton Promenade, Sippin Cow Café already seems at home.
Its chalkboard lunch menu and the day's specials are on the left just inside the front door. Stools line the tin counter with a view of the kitchen, and there is plenty of seating on a screened-in, pet-friendly side porch.
Regulars will spot many of the cow curios, antique signs, license plates and kitschy bovine memorabilia from the Cow's former May River Road location.
Owner Christy Pinski said she wanted to retain the quirky charm and casual, friendly atmosphere of the old place, along with its reputation as a go-to breakfast and lunch spot.
But, make no mistake, this new Cow has kicked it up a notch with a couple of big, fancy chandeliers hanging from the high ceiling, and tables alongside enormous windows overlooking a bustling promenade instead of a busy highway.
Still a work in progress is a paved brick courtyard with outdoor fireplace that will be outfitted with bistro tables and other seating in a leafy private corner just off the screened porch.
"My goal was to keep the feel of small-town charm," said Pinski, "so when you walk in you know you're in Bluffton, and you'll love Bluffton."
Pinski said that having time off during the new building's construction gave her a chance to re-energize and "get my passion back." She is passionate about the café's simple but perfectly executed signature dishes, such as its cranberry chicken salad and eggs benedict on weekends.
A chef's salad, $10, features generous wheels of sliced ham and turkey over spring greens garnished with carrots, sliced olives, red onion and fresh strawberries. Lunch choices, from $8 to $12 including tax, offer classics from BLT's to burgers, hot dogs, and wraps.
Breakfast, from $4 to $10, is served all day, and along with eggs, omelets, waffles, French toast and breakfast burritos, you might find homemade corned beef hash as a special.
Pinski also offers catering for large or small parties. Her popular Thanksgiving Dinner menu will be available soon and includes roasted or deep fried turkey and all the trimmings, which can be purchased separately or as a complete meal for 8 to 10 people.
Starting this month, she will offer dinner meals to go, such as meatloaf and mashed potatoes or shrimp and grits in oven-ready containers that can be picked up before closing.
"I'm just happy the Cow's back," said Pinski. "I missed my customers, and it's so nice to see them again."
The café is open Tuesday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, daily specials and take-out orders, call 843-757-5051.
Freelance writer Pam Gallagher was a copy editor at USA Today and a staff writer and fashion editor for the Asbury Park Press.