From the Kitchen of...

Skillets Cafe & Grill

Have you ever sat down at a restaurant and thought, "Who came up with the idea for this place," or "Where did they find this talented chef?" Well, good news-Pink is taking you behind the scenes again with one of the landmark restaurants on Hilton Head Island! So, jump in (or settle into a good chair) and take a trip with me to Skillets CafÈ & Grill for a taste of comfort-style food, with a splash of gourmet that will leave you craving for more!

Cozily located in Coligny Plaza, it's rare to drive by Skillets CafÈ & Grille and not see someone sitting on the patio relaxing with the paper, a cup of coffee with his or her dog sleeping along side the chair. A popular spot on Hilton Head Island, Skillets has become known for their family-friendly atmosphere, dog-friendly patio, and delicious menu. In fact, when I first began working at Pink, Skillets was one of the first restaurants a co-worker took me to, while showing me around the island. And, it's not just breakfast and lunch anymore.the staff at Skillets is putting delicious grub on the table for every meal of the day!

Opening in 1993, Skillets was a natural progression for owner Amie Baima.
At the time, she owned a successful bakery in Coligny that left customers wanting more, and she was the one to give it to them. Skillets originally opened as a breakfast and lunch cafÈ, and later began serving dinner. Amie is a veteran in the food business. Moving to the island in 1977, she has been involved in multiple restaurants and made a distinct mark with her wonderful culinary skills. But now, it's safe to say that Amie is the heart of Skillets CafÈ & Grill!

Growing up, Amie had close ties to the restaurant and fishing industries. Her father was the "chef" in their home; she wasn't allowed in the kitchen. So Amie, the rebel, then attended Winthrop University, where she secured a degree in food science. After opening several restaurants and finding she wasn't necessarily receiving the credit she deserved for her culinary skills, Amie decided to further her education at Johnson and Wales. She returned with a culinary degree, and once again, became a force to be reckoned with the in restaurant business.

Day in and day out, Amie can be found at Skillets doing everything from helping out in the kitchen to seating customers. "I love being hands-on, it creates a great family atmosphere for the staff and customers."

Amie doesn't do it all alone; Executive Chef Javier Mendez has been working closely with Amie for 12 years, beginning at Just Pasta (another of Amie's creations), and then moving over to Skillets. Javier even met his wife at Skillets! Javier has a fantastic kitchen staff that backs him up daily, and the front of the house staff always have smiles on their faces, creating a great dining experience. "We collectively make decisions about changing the menu, we celebrate birthdays and holidays together. We truly are a family in every sense," says Amie.

Not only does Skillets boast a comfort-style menu, but they offer fresh, high quality food. "Fresh and local is the way to go," exclaimed Amie. Skillets is "Certified South Carolina: Fresh on the Menu" and also has close ties with the local fishing industry, which guarantees fantastic local seafood.
For those always looking for a place to take their fur children, Skillets has a doggie menu offered on their dog-friendly patio and treat their guests' four-legged friends like royalty!

It's time to enjoy a wonderful experience at Skillets.and if you want to try out a recipe or two from the chef himself, try this recipe for Skillets' juicy scallops! Don't fret-we also got the recipe for their delectable stuffed French toast!



3 loaves Italian Bread, sliced thick, 1Ω cups Eggbeaters (or 8 eggs), 2 cups Heavy Cream, 2 cups Milk, ? tsp Salt, 1 Tbsp Cinnamon , 2 tsp Nutmeg, Ω cup Sugar, 3 Tbsp Vanilla.
For Filling: 1 jar Apricot preserves, or your favorite flavor, 8 oz. Cream cheese.

Mix together eggs, heavy cream, milk, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and vanilla until well combined. Dip sliced bread into bowl and soak. Place on an electric skillet (or frying pan) sprayed with Pam at 300∞ until browned. For classic, delicious French toast, stop after this step and serve with warm maple syrup. For stuffed French toast, continue to next step.

Blend apricot preserves (or your favorite flavor) with cream cheese to make filling. Once combined, make a slit in each piece of thick sliced bread. Spoon opening with cream cheese mixture, and place back on griddle (or pan) to sear in filling, flipping once.


SEA SCALLOPS  WITH LEMON SPINACH RISOTTO   Yields: 4 servings, 4 scallops per person

Delicious pan-seared jumbo sea scallops served over a lemon and spinach infused risotto. (top image)

16 Jumbo sea scallops? Lawrey'sÆ Pepper Supreme, to taste
4 Tbsps Butter, 1 cup Arborio rice?, 3Ω cups Chicken stock??, 1 Fresh lemon?, Ω cup White onion, diced?, 8 oz Fresh baby spinach, chopped??, Salt and pepper, to taste

In a sauce pan, sautÈ the butter and onions until soft, add the rice and juice of lemon. Stir to coat the rice with butter. Add the chicken stock in two stages to slowly absorb into the rice. Cook until creamy and a little firm, adding spinach to wilt, for the last five minutes or so of cooking. Season the scallops with pepper blend and pan sear in a sprayed pan on high heat about 2-3 min on each side, until well caramelized. Serve over the risotto.

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