By Jennifer Tuohy, The Island Connection Editor
The spacious interior of Amy’s Place offers something for everyone; a casual bar area, complete with big screen TVs, a full bar, and live music most nights; and a cozy dining room, decorated with unframed canvases depicting scenes of rustic Italy complemented by gorgeous photos from local photographer Charles Moore of Seabrook Island’s wildlife.
Amy and Bob Bolan resurrected the restaurant at the gateway to Seabrook Island earlier this year, transforming what used to be Lucy’s Red Sky Grill into Amy’s Place. Even bringing back Lucy’s much-loved chef John Lister.
The Bolan’s relocated to Seabrook from Ohio, where she was a commercial realtor for 25 years and he worked in the restaurant business.
“We knew we wanted to move south,” Amy said. “I have a friend here I went to school with, Bob’s mom is from the Lowcountry and his sister lives on Seabrook.”
Currently, Amy’s Place is open six days a week for lunch and dinner, and Sundays for dinner.
“It’s an Italian steakhouse,” Amy said.
“People think it’s unique, I’m the Italian, he’s the steakhouse!”
Amy’s Italian heritage stems from her grandfather who lived in Calabria, Italy, where his family farmed for many years, producing “bufala mozzarella” among other products. Joseph Anania, Amy’s grandfather, immigrated to Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania and eventually landed in Massillon, Ohio to work in the steel factories along with his five brothers.
It was there his granddaughter, Amy, fell in love with a restaurant entrepreneur from the south. Bob Bolan worked for 35 years in the steak restaurant business with Quaker Steak and Lube restaurants.
Naturally, their union gave birth to an Italian Steakhouse.
The Bolans have six children between them, and seven grandchildren, so they know how important it is for a restaurant to be family friendly. The paper tablecloths at Amy’s Place, a turn off for some, make the dinning room just perfect for families, no more scraps of paper for coloring, just go to town on the whole table.
As for the food, the kitchen is now in the capable hands of John Lister, the Tampa, Florida native who once worked at Lucy’s Red Sky Grill, which closed two years ago.
When he heard that the Bolans had taken over from the Asian restaurant which briefly occupied the space, he called and asked if they were in need of a chef.
“We sat down and talked and it was like the stars had aligned,” Lister said.
“We have a really good thing going, I’m really happy to be back out here. I know most of the customers that come in here.”
During his sabbatical from Seabrook, Lister worked downtown with Holy City Hospitality where he oversaw several restaurants. But he’s thrilled to be back at Seabrook, cooking Italian.
“I love the simplicity and at the same time the complexity of Italian food,” he said. “We do things a little differently here.”
While the food is Italian inspired, many of the dishes are infused with local flavors, and of course all the seafood is local.
Visit Amy and Bob at 1001 Landfall Way, Seabrook Island, call 843.768.0025 or visit them online at www.amysitaliansteakhouse.com.