Hoping for a date night on Hilton Head Island while you’re on a family vacation? Kidding Around’s Kristina has found the answer with the Art Cafe on Hilton Head Island and a neighboring restaurant, Rockfish. Here’s her review of both the Kids Night Out event at Art Cafe and the Rockfish restaurant.
Date nights are hard to come by for many couples who have kids. I think a date night on vacation would be pretty awesome because you’re already in relaxation mode, away from your daily life at home and work, and have that time to focus on each other. But finding a reliable sitter while away from home? I haven’t mastered that yet – which was why I was thrilled to find the Art Cafe on Hilton Head Island because they offer the perfect solution for couples wanting to get in a date night while on vacation.
The Art Cafe
The Art Cafe is the only paint-your-pottery spot in Hilton Head and has been in operation for more than 15 years. They are at the top of winding stairs accentuated by bright paintings inside the Rockfish Seafood & Steak restaurant right near Coligny Beach on the Island. And it so happens that both the Art Cafe and Rockfish are owned and operated by the same family.
They came up with the brilliant idea of having kids come to the Art Cafe for a couple of hours to paint pottery and have dinner while their parents enjoy a delicious and intimate dinner just downstairs at Rockfish. And the fact that both are in the same building is like having a built-in babysitter for an awesome date night, secure in the knowledge that if the kids need anything, you are right downstairs.
Kids Night Out at The Art Cafe
Both my kids, ages 6 and 10, love art and painting so I knew they would really enjoy Kids Night Out. The Art Cafe is decorated in bright and sunny colors with tables set up for painters to relax and have fun. The table for the kids who signed up for Kids Night Out was set with balloons, paint, water, and pottery such as cups and saucers. They were ready to go.
Ginny Whitehead runs the Art Cafe and told me they have their more experienced staff on hand for nights when they have kids to watch while their parents are downstairs. Indeed, the staff there was amazing. They were really sweet and kind and ran the operation like the top-notch stars they are. They had everything set up and ready to go plus served dinner and a drink to the kids and finally, topped them off with ice cream at the end. They asked me what my kids were allowed to eat and drink and thankfully caught my sneaky youngest when she tried to break my rules.
My kids absolutely loved it. They had so much fun painting their pottery plus chatting with the other kids at their table. They asked to go back, of course, and had relentless inquiries as to when we could pick up their finished pieces after the Art Cafe had fired and glazed them. This is another awesome thing about the Art Cafe – pieces are ready to be picked up in just a couple days after they are painted. They have a rush on pretty much everything because nearly everyone who visits is on vacation. They are able to ship pieces back to you as well.
Rockfish Seafood & Steak
Formerly called Bomboras, the restaurant now operates as Rockfish at Bomboras and serves up a delicious menu of both seafood and land offerings like Prince Edward Island mussels, bacon-wrapped scallops, shrimp and grits, seafood pasta, ribeye, southern fried chicken, burgers, and desserts. They also have a full beer and wine menu and an awesome happy hour menu that has $1 oysters, 60 cent wings, and both seafood and land tacos.
Rockfish is run by Ginny’s husband, Rocky Whitehead, who really enjoys greeting guests and has a charismatic and charming personality. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention his pretty neat clean air purifiers in the restaurant called Enviroclean Air. These silent contraptions filter out bacteria, viruses, smells, and mold, and allergens from hundreds of square feet of indoor air. Rockfish is the first restaurant in the United States to have these, which are typically used in medical environments.
Back to the food. They have a special of She-Crab soup, which I thought about ordering for all of a second before I said yes. It was amazing – so flavorful. My husband and I also had the Bomb Fried Calamari and Shrimp (photo below) for an appetizer, which was delicious. The calamari was tender and cooked perfectly, as was the shrimp. Five stars! I also had the P.E.I. mussels, which came in a roma tomato broth and served with toasted bread. My husband ordered the Fried Fish & Shrimp. It came with these french fries that he just loved. He doesn’t even like fries. Meanwhile, fries are my downfall and he was nice enough to share. They were awesome.
It was really nice to have a date night while on vacation and even better to know that the kids were just up the stairs and having a wonderful time themselves.
I know that pretty much all restaurants are short-staffed right now but we didn’t notice any wait for anything. We went on a Monday night around 5:45 pm and were seated and served promptly. Every single person we met, from the owners to the waitress to the busboy to the Art Cafe employees were exceptionally kind, which made our time there all the more special and relaxing.
Taking advantage of date night
Kids Night Out is offered year-round but is more popular during the summer months and holidays. They run on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 5:45 pm – 7:15 pm. Reservations are required and kids of all ages, except those that need diapers changed, can go. A reservation will be made at Rockfish for the same night and time you reserve your Kids Night Out spot.
If you want to enjoy painting plus a side of excellent food and drink at the same time, the Art Cafe offers that as well. You can choose items from the Rockfish menu to be served while you are painting pottery. This family thought of everything. This is also an awesome rainy day activity!
Hours at the Art Cafe are Monday – Friday from 11 am – 7 pm, Saturday from 11 am – 5 pm, and Sunday from Noon – 5 pm. There is a flat fee of $8/person to cover paint, materials, kiln and glaze plus whatever the cost is of what you choose to paint. Rockfish is open 4-9 pm daily and their happy hour is from 4-6 pm Monday – Friday.
Looking for more? Here are ideas of fun things to do with your family in Hilton Head?