TYBEE ISLAND consistently serves as oasis for Savannahians seeking tranquility and repose. Its breezy hang-loose vibe cultivates the ideal climate for beachfront dining.
A smattering of Tybee restaurants on South Beach provide glimpses of the Atlantic, while overlooking an overcrowded parking lot. However, there is only one eatery that offers unobstructed beachfront views for dining in the dunes- The Deck Beachbar and Kitchen.
Away from the vacationing mobs by the Pier, The Deck Beachbar and Kitchen resides in the former Marlin Monroe’s space.
The Deck is the surfer sister to the chic downtown eatery, The Collins Quarter; both owned and operated by Anthony and Rebecca Debreceny.
Although the whitewashed open-air deck and outdoor bar remain intact, Debreceny and Creative Director of Operations Stephen Hamille chose to revamp and redefine the space, with a full remodel and high-end furnishings.
As Australian natives, the Debrecenys deliberately integrate influences from their homeland into all aspects of their restaurants, from fare to décor. Likewise, Hamille, who is from Hawaii and lived in Mexico for two decades, designed The Deck to be an amalgamation of all these places.
Thus, it is an Australian-centric restaurant with inspirations from Hawaii, Mexico and Southeast Asia.
Out on the deck, diners can nosh on beach grub alfresco, while listening to live music and watching the waves crash into the sand. In five short weeks, the pool alongside the outdoor bar will be up and running for patrons who fancy a soak with their boozy sips.
The inside of the eatery has an open layout, with rays of sunshine beaming through the walls of windows. The bi-leveled space has a myriad of seating arrangements from high-tops tables with stools and couch nooks with cozy pillows to an extended community bar that runs through the heart of the establishment. There is even a kid-friendly area by the fireplace where kids can chill on beanbags and ottomans.
Just as in The Collins Quarter, The Deck’s interior design utilizes a variety of textures with a composed color scheme. To facilitate the coastal ambiance, a spectrum of blues can be found on the floor, tiles, cushions, ceilings, chairs and walls.
The prolific use of blonde wood, white accents and surfboards in the rafters enhance the beachy vibe. Continuing with the motif from The Collins Quarter, Wormy Chestnut wood panels from Australia line the wall behind the indoor bar.
“This will be a theme in all my spaces,” Debreceny avows, when referencing a possible future pub in Savannah.
Vibrant cartoon-like murals, one of a burnt orange octopus and the other, a baby blue lighthouse, are displayed on two prominent walls, lending to the relaxed yet quirky atmosphere.
As far as the menu is concerned, Hamille insists that it is a “complete departure from The Collins Quarter.” While the only item shared between the two sister restaurants is the Australian Smashed Avocado Toast, the caliber of quality and sophistication remains constant among them.
The menu is composed from a cooperative kitchen, meaning that the chefs, owners, and service staff all offer input when developing dishes. “It is never one person’s palate that makes up the menu.”
The Deck’s fare appeals to the beach crowds, with a hands-on approach, comprising of elevated sandwiches, tacos, fish & chips and wings.
Take the “Hog Wings” for example. These miniature Osso Buco pork shanks are an upscale riff on the classic buffalo wing. The succulent meat on the bone is sous vide until tender and then flash fried, giving it a crispy exterior.
After, they are tossed in a house made buffalo sauce and drizzled with creamy blue cheese. The “wings” are served on a bed of crispy tobacco onion rings and fried jalapenos.
Another must-try is the Boneless Beef Short Rib Steak Sandwich. This moist fork-tender piece of beef was served on a fresh ciabatta with caramelized onions, sundried tomato and blue cheese, smothered in a rich Malbec wine demi glaze.
In true Tybee style, The Deck will also be offering fresh local seafood as well as exquisite fish shipped from places like Hawaii and the Mediterranean Sea.
Last week, the fish special featured Branzino, a Mediterranean sea bass grilled over an open flame. This delicately subtle fish was served with a juicy house made sundried tomato as well as succotash of corn, edamame, zucchini, summer squash, smoky pancetta, and roasted garlic. This light dish was bright and refreshing, perfect for a warm summer’s evening on the beach.
While The Deck will officially open on May 26, the bar and restaurant has been unofficially up and running since May 15, to work out any kinks that may arise before the grand opening.
The Deck Beachbar and Kitchen is the quintessence of a seaside dive with posh epicurean fare. It is the place where lovers can gaze at the sea, friends can kick back with chilled suds, and families can grab a bite. It is a place that maintains Tybee’s mojo while enhancing its enterprise.