Review Category : Lunch Bunch

From breads to salads to seafood to dessert, it is all magnificent at Magnolia Cafe

By Pamela Brownstein

On a chilly afternoon, it’s always comforting to meet your friends at a cozy cafe and indulge in fabulous appetizers, excellent entrees, maybe a little champagne, a perfectly made latte, and top it off with heavenly desserts. This perfect scenario can be found at Beaufort’s own Magnolia Cafe.

Chicken salad on a bed of greens

Chicken salad on a bed of greens

Husband and wife owners Evangaline and Dana Jing should be commended for their focus on local ingredients and homemade baked goods and friendly service and beautiful presentations.

The Lunch Bunch started with three amazing appetizers: Shrimp salad made with local shrimp; Hummus with fresh pita; and a divine Smoked Salmon cream cheese with homemade bread.

Kim loved her chicken salad over a bed of greens with her favorite homemade poppy seed dressing on the side.

I ordered the Lump Crab Cake and it was so fresh and delicious.

Magnolia Bakery Cafe and Garden Gift Gallery is located at 703 Congress Street, Beaufort. It is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Sunday brunch from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 843-524-1961 or visit www.magnoliacafebeaufort.com.

Shrimp salad made with local shrimp appetizer.

Shrimp salad made with local shrimp appetizer.

Smoked salmon cream cheese with fresh bread

Smoked salmon cream cheese with fresh bread

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hummus with homemade pita wedges

Hummus with homemade pita wedges

Tomato Florentine Soup with Ham and Cheese Strata

Tomato Florentine Soup with Ham and Cheese Strata

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lump crab cake

Lump crab cake

A lovely little vanilla latte

A lovely little vanilla latte

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pecan Pie and Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pecan Pie and Pumpkin Cheesecake

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Same great quality ingredients and service at the new location of City Java

By Pamela Brownstein

The qualities that make the original City Java & News on Carteret Street a success — good coffee, homemade

Roasted turkey breast sandwich

Roasted turkey breast sandwich

ingredients, a sleek decor, talented staff and a friendly atmosphere — are replicated at the new City Java location on Ribaut Road, at the former home of Carolina Dog & Deli across from Beaufort Memorial Hospital.

Coconut curry chicken soup

Coconut curry chicken soup

We started by sharing bowls of the Curry Coconut Chicken Soup of the Day. I am not usually a big soup lover, but the flavors in this bowl were so fabulous and enticing, I had to remind myself I was sharing with Nikki otherwise I would have spooned up the whole thing. Especially with this colder weather, I can’t think of a better item to order to warm your belly and please your taste buds.

The lunch menu offers yummy soups, salads, sandwiches and sides, and it’s hard to choose because — as The Lunch Bunch learned — they are all delicious.

Kim called dibbs on the Grilled Bacon and Goat Cheese sandwich with housemade date relish on whole grain bread. The melted goat cheese and salty bacon combo was rich and heavenly.

I ordered the Smoked Salmon and Beet Salad — mixed greens, lentils, goat cheese, hot smoked salmon and roasted beets with homemade sherry vinaigrette dressing. The warm chunks of smoked salmon made every bite sing; this salad was so amazing. I truly think I could eat it every day and be happy.

Elizabeth also loved her Roasted Seasonal Root Vegetable Salad topped with pumpkin seeds, housemade ricotta cheese and carrot vinaigrette dressing. It looked so colorful and delicious on the plate, and she said it was great.

Roasted seasonal root vegetable salad

Roasted seasonal root vegetable salad

Nikki tried the Roasted Turkey Breast sandwich made with Gouda, mango chutney, lettuce, tomato and onion. She really liked it, and she also really liked her side of chips (she ate them all).

Irene’s Korean Braised Pork sandwich was recommended by our friendly server. It comes hot-pressed with housemade kimchi on Portuguese bread.

Owner Matt McAlhaney said plans are in the works for a pickup window.

The new City Java is located at 968 Ribaut Road, Beaufort, SC, 29902. It is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; lunch is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Sunday brunch will be served from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Call 843-470-JAVA.

Korean Braised Pork Sandwich

Korean Braised Pork Sandwich

 

Smoked salmon and beet salad

Smoked salmon and beet salad

 

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Awesome seafood and an amazing view are all together at Albergotti Grill

By Pamela Brownstein

Although Albergotti Grill is located inside a hotel, it should not be reserved just for out-of-towners. The fresh seafood entrees combined with a gorgeous view of Albergotti Creek make this an attractive spot even for locals.

Food and Beverage Manager and Chef Hank Yaden treated The Lunch Bunch to a sampling of his favorite creations.

Scallops Florentine

Scallops Florentine

Our meal began with large bowls of Lowcountry She Crab Soup, which was absolutely divine, with real lumps of crab.

Irene really enjoyed the Scallops Florentine with large, pan-seared scallops served with asparagus and an addicting sauce.

The Shrimp and Grits impressed Nikki — a big deal for a true Southern girl — with their unique flavor.

Elizabeth said she loved the perfectly cooked filet mignon topped with roasted shallots, which added a whole other dimension of flavor.

We agreed that the giant piece of North Carolina swordfish topped with caper butter was excellent — so fresh and flaky.

I couldn’t get enough of the seasonal roasted vegetables that were served as a side with several dishes. I also thought the Chicken Albergotti was awesome — a giant bowl of fettuccine with a sun-dried tomato sauce and topped with strips of grilled chicken, how can you go wrong?

Shrimp and grits

Shrimp and grits

Although we were all so full by the end of our delicious meal, once we saw the amazing Carolina Peach Crisp dessert topped with vanilla ice cream, it was impossible to resist. We all split it and it was so warm and peachy.

Chef Yaden said they will be rolling out a new menu within the month, keeping some favorites but introducing some exciting new dishes. Plans are also in the works to renovate and update the restaurant, starting at the beginning of next year. Even though big changes are coming, I recommend a visit today, it is worth it for a great dining experience.

Albergotti Grill is located in the Holiday Inn & Suites, 2225 Boundary Street, Beaufort. The restaurant is open for breakfast from 6 to 10:30 a.m., and for dinner Monday through Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m. Happy Hour is 4 to 7 p.m. Call 843-379-3100.

Chicken Albergotti

Chicken Albergotti

 

Crab-stuffed shrimp with grilled veggies

Crab-stuffed shrimp with grilled veggies

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swordfish with caper butter and a side of grilled veggies and potatoes

Swordfish with caper butter and a side of grilled veggies and potatoes

 

Carolina peach crisp dessert

Carolina peach crisp dessert

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bar area at Albergotti Grill, located inside Holiday Inn & Suites on Boundary Street.

The bar area at Albergotti Grill, located inside Holiday Inn & Suites on Boundary Street.

 

The outdoor patio and beautiful view of the marsh and waterway.

The outdoor patio and beautiful view of the marsh and waterway.

 

 

 

 

 

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Fabulous homemade food will have you begging for more at Moondoggies Cafe

By Pamela Brownstein

Just off Paris Avenue, Moondoggies Cafe & Grill sits nestled among tall trees and Spanish moss in downtown Port Royal. The fabulous food, fun decor and friendly service represent the best of what a local restaurant should be. Owners Jeff and Dawn Harris continue to create outstanding dishes and, as they say, it’s where great American food meets Southern hospitality. Whether for lunch or dinner, Moondoggies is an experience that should not be missed.

Roasted red pepper artichoke bake with tortilla chips.

Roasted red pepper artichoke bake with tortilla chips.

The Lunch Bunch ordered a variety of appetizers because they are all so good. The coconut fried shrimp is excellent, and the fried pickle chips are so addicting, even for someone like me who doesn’t usually like pickles. But our favorite was the Roasted Red Pepper Artichoke Bake served with crispy tortilla chips.

For the main meal, Irene had the lump crab cakes served with hush puppies, remoulade sauce and asparagus spears. There’s a reason the crab cakes are a house specialty because they are super.

Kim Turner tried the Beef on Weck sandwich — thin-sliced roast beef dipped in savory hot au jus and piled high on a Kummelweck roll.

April and Kim Newton both ordered the fajitas special really liked it.

Fried coconut shrimp appetizer

Fried coconut shrimp appetizer

I ate every bite of my Mahi Mahi sandwich, grilled to perfection on a Kaiser roll with lettuce, tomato, onion and homemade tartar sauce. My side of pimento mac n’ cheese was also yummy.

Elizabeth loved her hearty salad made with mixed greens and tomatoes and her choice of grilled strip steak and Bleu cheese crumbles.

The desserts are homemade daily and can vary, but they are all so scrumptious, so save room. We sampled Chocolate Bread Pudding, a piece of Peanut Butter Pie, Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake and Banana Pudding — which we all agreed was a must-have.

Moondoggies Cafe & Grill is located at 10th Street and Paris Avenue, downtown Port Royal, SC. It is open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and dinner 5 to 9 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday. Call 843-522-1222 or like them on Facebook.

 

Lump crab cakes with hush puppies and asparagus spears.

Lump crab cakes with hush puppies and asparagus spears.

 

Salad with greens, tomatoes and bleu cheese crumbles and topped with grilled steak strips.

Salad with greens, tomatoes and bleu cheese crumbles and topped with grilled steak strips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beef on Weck

Beef on Weck

 

Grilled Mahi Mahi sandwich with pimento mac n' cheese

Grilled Mahi Mahi sandwich with pimento mac n’ cheese

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade banana pudding

Homemade banana pudding

 

 

 

 

 

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From schnitzel to sauerbraten, it’s German food with a twist at Great Gardens Cafe

By Pamela Brownstein

With a large selection of homemade German dishes, Great Gardens Cafe serves up fabulous food that’s hard to find elsewhere in Beaufort. The owners are proud of their diverse cuisine, and diners feel welcome as soon as they walk into the restaurant with its open layout and intimate atmosphere. Located just off Trask Parkway, Great Gardens’ outside seating area provides a breathtaking view of the marsh and waterways beyond.

Brat sampler appetizer

Brat sampler appetizer

The Lunch Bunch started with the Shrimp Cakes and Brat Sampler appetizers. The two shrimp cakes were so fresh, while the Brat Sampler featured knockwurst, bratwurst and curry wurst, which was so yummy; we ate them all.

When the main course was presented, all the dishes looked so colorful and savory on the table together.

Nikki really loved the Sauerbraten — beef roast long marinated in red wine and herb blend, and slow simmered until fork tender. She also declared the sauteed brussels sprouts as an excellent side.

Nikki’s sweetie, Bubba, who can sometimes be a picky eater, was a big fan of the German meatloaf.

Irene tried the Jaeger Schnitzel entree which is a thin, breaded pan fried meat topped with creamy mushroom

Sauerbraten entree with brussels sprouts and side salad

Sauerbraten entree with brussels sprouts and side salad

sauce.

After much deliberation, Elizabeth settled on the Cordon Bleu Schnitzel, which was recommended as the chef’s special. She chose the veal cutlet, thin, breaded and pan fried and broiled under ham and Gruyere cheese. It was a large portion size, and also very delicious.

I ordered the Chicken Spinach Club that had a juicy sauteed chicken breast with broiled, melted Mozzarella on bed of baby spinach, tomato and bacon served on a Kaiser roll. This sandwich was exceptionally tasty, I highly recommend it.

Just as we all agreed we were so full, our friendly server surprised us with two decadent desserts. The crepes were filled with white chocolate mousse and drizzled with homemade caramel. But my absolute favorite was the chocolate cake with Nutella — a chocolate lover’s dream.

Great Gardens Cafe is located at 3669 Trask Parkway, Beaufort. It is open for lunch and dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday; and for breakfast and brunch on Sunday. Call 843-521-1900.

Jaeger Schnitzel

Jaeger Schnitzel

Cordon Bleu Schnitzel with red cabbage side

Cordon Bleu Schnitzel with red cabbage side

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Spinach Club with side of Kartoffelpuffer

Chicken Spinach Club with side of Kartoffelpuffer

Chocolate cake with whip cream filling and Nutella

Chocolate cake with whip cream filling and Nutella

 

 

 

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Indulge in custom coffee and crepes at Habersham’s Lazy Susan’s Cafe & Creperie

By Pamela Brownstein

There are few things better than to meet up with a group of friends at a cozy, adorably decorated cafe to enjoy good coffee and amazing crepes. This was how the Lunch Bunch spent last Friday afternoon at the new Lazy Susan’s Cafe & Creperie located in Habersham.

A luscious latte

A luscious latte

The restaurant, which opened in July, features a large variety of coffee — from the house blend coffee bar to the french press options to the expertly made espresso drinks. I ordered a non-fat latte and it was served in a cute little red mug and saucer and matching spoon, with a perfect swirl on top (as a former barista myself, I appreciate the craft). Drinking it just made me sit back in my chair and relax; Elizabeth ordered one too and we agreed the lattes were excellent.

The menu is divided up into “Savory Crepes” and “Sweet Crepes,” and they even have Kids Crepes available.

Kim ordered the French Englishman filled with tomato, bacon, egg and cream cheese and it looked amazing. Nikki tried the James Bond — a crepe with bacon, mushroom, onion, spinach and Feta cheese and she said it was so good.

The French Englishman crepe

The French Englishman crepe

Irene’s Huevos Rancheros crepe had sausage and peppers inside and was topped with avocado slices, a fried egg, and pico sauce. It looked very tasty. I also enjoyed The Old Forge, a crepe made with bacon, egg and cheese, then has pico on top, which is similar to salsa.

We split the Sweet Crepes, and couldn’t decide which one we liked best because they were all fabulous. Half of the table was bananas over the Bananas Foster crepe, and the rest of us adored the Graham Cracker Cheesecake crepe topped with strawberries and cherries. Seriously, wow, words can’t describe the goodness. Just go taste for yourself.

Lazy Susan’s Cafe & Creperie is located 31A Market Street, Beaufort, SC, 29906. They are open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. everyday except for Wednesday. Call 843-466-0735, visit www.lazysusanscafe.com or like them on Facebook.

The James Bond crepe

The James Bond crepe

Huevos Rancheros crepe, topped with avocado, egg and pico.

Huevos Rancheros crepe, topped with avocado, egg and pico.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graham cracker cheesecake crepe topped with strawberries and cherries.

Graham cracker cheesecake crepe topped with strawberries and cherries.

Sweet berries crepe filled with blueberries, blackberries and strawberries and topped with whip cream.

Sweet berries crepe filled with blueberries, blackberries and strawberries and topped with whip cream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barista and server Micah behind the adorably decorated counter.

Barista and server Micah behind the adorably decorated counter.

The sign for Lazy Susan's, located in Habersham Marketplace.

The sign for Lazy Susan’s, located in Habersham Marketplace.

 

 

 

 

 

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Southern cooking that’s good for your soul served at the new MJ’s Soul Food Restaurant

By Pamela Brownstein

MJ’s Soul Food recently opened on June 26, bringing new life to the building that once housed the Sand Dollar Tavern on St. Helena Island. (Don’t let the sign that still says “Sand Dollar Tavern” fool you!) Even I didn’t know that it was a new restaurant until Lunch Bunch had the pleasure to eat there last week.

Crab balls

Crab balls

Our friendly server brought us a plate of Crab balls as an appetizer. Even though there were only three of us at our booth, the four balls on the plate quickly disappeared. It was impossible to resist the warm little nuggets of goodness — almost like a cross between a crab cake and a hush puppy with a little bit of cheese — and when our server asked us if we wanted more, I didn’t even hesitate to say yes.

Irene ordered the Shrimp and Fish special that came with fried shrimp and a large piece of fried whiting, and she said it was really good. She also liked the sides of red rice and collard greens.

Elizabeth only had to look at the menu once and she knew she wanted the fried chicken with a side of collard greens. There was no deterring her from the big, juicy, perfectly cooked piece of chicken — she almost left

Shrimp and fish special with red rice.

Shrimp and fish special with red rice.

only bones on her plate it was so tasty.

I tried the Smothered Pork chop special, not exactly the healthiest choice, but I ate it all because it was so awesome, the definition of Southern comfort food. Served with fabulous collard greens and yummy shrimp and crab rice, this meal was mouth-watering.

Other highlights on the menu include hamburgers, ribs and seafood, as well as a variety of sides such as fried okra and mac n’ cheese. I would recommend the restaurant to anyone hungry for authentic homemade food that lives up to its name.

MJ’s Soul Food is located at 1634 Sea Island Parkway on St. Helena Island. Lunch and dinner served 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday; breakfast available dine in or take out on Saturday. Call 843-838-2009.

Fried chicken with collard greens

Fried chicken with collard greens

Smothered pork chop with collard greens and shrimp and crab rice.

Smothered pork chop with collard greens and shrimp and crab rice.

 

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Join The Breakfast Club and watch the sun rise over the water with Vintage Voyages

By Pamela Brownstein

The instructions to be at the Beaufort downtown marina at 6:30 a.m. sharp seemed daunting. But it was totally worth it to see the sun rise over the river and spend a relaxing morning on a boat meandering through local waterways.

The view from the boat as morning begins to break and the sun peeks over the horizon.

The view from the boat as morning begins to break and the sun peeks over the horizon.

The Lunch Bunch — or maybe The Breakfast Bunch in this case — met up with Captain Tim Deckard and his wife Mare, owners of Vintage Voyages, who welcomed them aboard The Annalee. This beautifully restored, 1930 classic wooden yacht has a state-of-the-art, custom designed hybrid engine, with whisper quiet electric drive, that is non-polluting and friendly to the environment.

Mare made delicious homemade muffins and a special coffee cake that was her grandmother’s recipe. She also served coffee, which everyone enjoyed.

Kim Harding said she liked that Mare and the captain were very entertaining, dancing and blowing the boat horn, even so early in the morning.

One of the best things about being outside and on the water is the opportunity to observe nature greet the new day. The group spotted dolphins, as well as many different kinds of birds. Elizabeth said there was a huge flock of egrets that flew overhead toward downtown and it was a gorgeous sight.

The cruise starts at the Beaufort downtown marina, goes to the Port Royal Marina and back. It lasts about an

The spread of coffee, fruit and pastries

The spread of coffee, fruit and pastries

hour and a half.

Mare says, “Join us at dawn, and watch the dark horizon slowly ignite with that magnificent and bright orange; such a beautiful scene! Delight as the sun makes its presence known by setting the entire world aglow. Sunrise brings with it a different kind of beauty, signifying the promise of a new beginning.”

The Breakfast Club holds six guests maximum. The cost is $69. For more information about Vintages Voyages visit www.beaufortvintagevoyages.com or call 1-855-ANNALEE (266-2533).

Kim Turner and Nikki Hardison toast their coffee mugs to the beginning of a glorious new day.

Kim Turner and Nikki Hardison toast their coffee mugs to the beginning of a glorious new day.

A view of the bridge.

A view of the bridge.

 

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A plentiful Chinese buffet delights senses (and fills bellies) at Jade Garden

By Pamela Brownstein

The appeal of the Chinese buffet at Jade Garden lies in the sheer variety of food available to hungry diners. The Lunch Bunch was eager to join the bustling crowd last week at the restaurant on Boundary Street.

Coconut shrimp appetizer

Coconut shrimp appetizer

Crawfish appetizer

Crawfish appetizer

Truly, the buffet offers such a selection — from sushi to stir fry to fried bananas — there is something for everyone. And the glory of it is that you can return as many times as you like to fill up your plate and try something new.

With so many choices, we each tried to narrow down our favorite dishes.

The crawfish appetizer was a plate piled high with the red crustaceans. Laura, who had never tried crawfish before, said they were delicious.

Elizabeth said her favorite is always the Crab Rangoon. She also liked the crunchy garlic green beans.

Nikki thought the Fried Flounder appetizer was really good, and she was also a fan of the clams at the buffet.

Kim Turner declared the rice noodles were fabulous as well as the mushrooms in a surprising sweet sauce.

A plate from the buffet filled with garlic green beans, an egg roll, chicken and broccoli, rice noodles and sushi.

A plate from the buffet filled with garlic green beans, an egg roll, chicken and broccoli, rice noodles and sushi.

I enjoyed the Coconut Shrimp appetizer, the variety of sushi rolls and the shrimp and broccoli.

The warm sugar donuts received rave reviews as the top pick for dessert by everyone, even baby Selah.

We also got a kick out of our fortunes, some were either funny or a little bizarre. Laura’s had one word on it: “Relationships,” which she jokingly took to be a foreboding sign. Then Irene’s fortune was pretty much the best one I’ve ever heard: “As you slide down the banister of life, make sure the splinters don’t point your way.” Words to live by! We all thought it was hilarious. Reading fortune cookies is always a great way to end a delicious meal.

Jade Garden is located at 2317 Boundary Street, Beaufort, SC, 29902. Open for lunch and dinner, takeout available. Call 843-522-8883.

A plate from the buffet with vegetables, clams, and lo mein noodles.

A plate from the buffet with vegetables, clams, and lo mein noodles.

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‘Quality is the most important ingredient in a sandwich’ at Groucho’s Deli

By Pamela Brownstein

The Lunch Bunch was excited to once again dine at Groucho’s Deli on Lady’s Island. After eating here right after it opened in March, we wanted to make sure the sandwiches and salads that make the franchise so popular throughout

Grilled chicken salad

Grilled chicken salad

the state were as good as we remembered. (And the verdict? They were just as good, maybe even better!)

Reuben variation

Reuben variation

Nikki chose the Apollo Dipper — a fat sub roll stuffed with hot ham, turkey and Swiss cheese melted together — and she said it was out of this world.

Kim Harding was really pleased with her Reuben Variation, which includes extra lean pastrami, melted Muenster cheese, heated Sauerkraut and German mustard on rye bread.

Elizabeth and Irene both ordered the Mid East Special, and it looked pretty awesome, piled high with bologna, provolone cheese, salami and lean pastrami on top, with oil and vinegar dressing and served hot. All the sandwiches at Groucho’s come in a little red basket, and I’m pretty sure both ladies had empty baskets by the end of the meal because it was so tasty.

Kim Turner tried the Baby Sub, the “original” Groucho’s sub served hot with salami, bologna, provolone cheese

The Baby Sub

The Baby Sub

melted, a herb slaw center topped by a generous portion of lean ham on a sub roll. She said this “baby” was yummy.

Mid East Special

Mid East Special

When you’re hungry, like I was, all the sandwiches sound good — I felt like a kid in a candy store staring at all the options — so at the server’s suggestion, I ordered the STP Dipper. This special blend of roast beef, turkey and real bacon crumbs is served on a sub roll with Swiss cheese melted on top and your choice of Formula 45 or Danish Bleu sauce. The roll was so soft, and all the meat and cheese was warm and melty, it was easy to see why this is one of their most popular sandwiches.

For those counting calories or looking for fewer carbs, Groucho’s features more than 10 kinds of salad. April made a healthy choice with the grilled chicken salad — chopped lettuce, tomato and cucumber topped with grilled chicken strips marinated in Groucho’s Famous 95 Dressing.

Kudos to local owner Patrick Ragsdale for the success of his Beaufort location.

Groucho’s Deli in Beaufort is located at 81 Sea Island Parkway, Beaufort, SC 29907. Call 843-524-4545 for takeout and catering or visit www.grouchos.com.

STP Dipper

STP Dipper

Welcome to Groucho's Deli on Lady's Island!

Welcome to Groucho’s Deli on Lady’s Island!

 

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