Bowens Island Restaurant will celebrate its 75th anniversary Monday, July 26, when it will host an all-inclusive ticketed event filled with food and drinks from Jackrabbit Filly, Tempest, Zero Restaurant + Bar, Holy City Brewing, Swig & Swine, Life Raft Treats and Crosby’s Seafood, among others.
“We really pulled this together in almost three days, and the support from other restaurants, especially coming out of COVID, was a really heartening thing,” said Bowens Island managing operator Hope Barber, who has worked at her family’s restaurant since she was in eighth grade. “The idea of the old and the new and how they can coexist and even complement each other was behind a lot of the people we talked to about the event.”
Located on a 13-acre island just off Folly Road, Bowens Island Restaurant opened in 1946. After a fire in October 2006 destroyed much of the original structure, owner Robert Barber collaborated with local architect Carl Janes to construct and reopen the restaurant that now stands at 1870 Bowens Island Road in 2010.
“Somebody asked me the other day what I thought the turning point was, and it was 2006 for a lot of reasons,” said Hope Barber, thinking back to the year that brought the fire and a James Beard Award honoring Bowens as an “American Classic.”
“The James Beard definitely brought us a lot of national attention, and we had a few films and TV shows that chose to film out there. And then the fire brought a lot of attention for sure in a different way. Certainly the business has morphed and changed since then.”
The restaurant is still going strong 15 years later, and it will be the place to be on Monday night, 6-9 p.m. Bowen’s Island and Tempest will serve local oysters and seafood to attendees throughout the evening, and other participants will set up stations at certain times during the event, Barber said.