Cypress Grille was open only 12 days before COVID-19 shut the brand-new restaurant down.
Open once again, at partial occupancy as per Gov. Henry McMaster’s most recent mandate, partner Brian Schwartz says the shutdown was tough.
“Luckily we got through it, and our landlord worked with us which was very nice.”
The restaurant, at 4210 River Oaks Drive in Carolina Forest, is open at noon every day except Sunday.
Happy Hour is from 4-6 p.m.
The phone number is 843-236-3311 and the website is https://cypressgrillemb.com/ .
When COVID-19 is no longer an issue, Cypress Grille will have 55 indoor seats and 36 on the covered patio.
In keeping with the governor’s latest instruction, tables at the restaurant are at least eight feet apart and inside capacity is kept at less than half.
Guests are seated in alternating booths, and social distancing is definitely being respected.
Schwartz said there is less staff than before, partly because some of the staff just isn’t ready to go back to work.
“They’re still nervous about everything that’s going on.”
Tyler Rice is the restaurant’s chef and proprietor, and his wife Leslie, also a proprietor, is the general manager.
The lunch menu includes sandwiches – such as Real Deal Lobster Roll and The Crispy Chicken and The Tri Top – and char-grilled craft burgers and salads.
The Caprese burger includes balsamic marinated heirloom tomato and fresh Stracciatella cheese, and the Truffle burger is the restaurant’s signature burger, with house-made Vidalia onion, apple-smoked bacon jam, truffle aioli and melted Jarlsberg.
Salads include a slightly spicy caesar, the prime steak, the Cypress, the cobb and simple greens.
Wood-grilled Tanglewood Farms chicken breast or blackened local shrimp can be added to any salad.
Also the owner of Fire & Smoke on 79th Ave. N. in Myrtle Beach, Tyler Rice said he’s been cooking his whole life, and has been French-trained as a chef.
Previously in the restaurant business for 33 years in Pennsylvania, Rice said, “The [French] sauces and stocks being made fresh intrigued me.”
Studying under one particular chef for more than four years, Rice said, “The French way includes the intricacy and attention to detail.”
Using as much local, sustainable ingredients as possible, the chef already wishes he had 1,000 more square feet of space in his restaurant to accommodate their guests.
And those accommodations include making meals to order, if a guest has food allergies.
“They just have to say, ‘We can’t have XYZ,’” Rice said.
Leslie Rice tries to welcome each guest personally.
“I try to make sure they’re OK and that they know they’re valued,” she said.
The couple opened their restaurant in Carolina Forest because that’s their home; they live in Berkshire Forest, as does Schwartz.
“I’ve seen what this area has done in the last five years, and “I wanted to add something a little higher end so people don’t have to go across the Waterway,” Rice said.
Cypress Grille’s dinner menu includes New Orleans BBQ shrimp, grilled oysters and Maryland-style crabcake, which Leslie Rice is convinced is the best on the East Coast.
The dinner menu also includes scallops Rockefeller, wild mushroom ragout and smoked sweet peppers.
Entrees include shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, prime short rib, a seafood trio and bone-in filet mignon.
The restaurant also offers a complete wine list of artisan wines on tap, splits, half-bottles, sparkling wine, red wine, white wine and port. Rice said his favorite thing about owning Cypress Grille is that no two days are the same.
“And sitting at a desk would never work,” he laughed.