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Taking 'casual' seriously
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I’ve lived in the Savannah area my entire life, and I’ve been to Tybee Island more times than I can count, but I’ve never actually dined there.

Why not? I use “local” logic: If I know that I will be there during lunch, I bring my own. As for dinner, I am usually well on my way home by then, sufficiently baked from a day of rays.

For those of you who do the same, save the cold sandwiches and get some real food at The Grill Beachside, or its little brother Sea Dawgs.

What’s the difference between the two?

“The Grill offers a much more extensive menu;” says Bob Hearn, the food and beverage manager for both restaurants. “It is a little quieter, a little more intimate. At Sea Dawgs, you can grab a bite or a drink and enjoy some of our regular live entertainment. Both places are casual, but Sea Dawgs is definitely more so.”

So just how casual is Sea Dawgs? Let me put it this way: Any restaurant where you can walk right up to the door from the beach can’t be too strict on the dress code.

“Sea Dawgs is the only truly beachfront restaurant on Tybee Island,” says Hearn proudly. “We’re just steps away from the sand, and as long as you have on a shirt and shoes, come on in”

At The Grill Beachside, however, you may feel a bit more comfortable fully dressed. The floors are not made of concrete there, and the chairs are not plastic. You get the picture.

Along with their numerous appetizers, The Grill offers a wide range of lunch choices. You can either order from their menu, or take your pick of the daily selections on their Southern Lunch buffet. At $6.95, with rolls and soft drink included, this Monday through Friday staple is a steal, not to mention popular with the customers.

The dinner menu includes seafood (both fried and steamed) and steak entrees. Shrimp and Crab Au Gratin, Grilled Mahi (marinated and topped with a spicy pineapple salsa) and Snow Crab legs are but a few of the choices. The Grill also shows variety in the dessert area, so save some room if you can.

On Sundays, you can enjoy brunch at The Grill. Omelets made to order, French toast, Eggs Benedict and many more items are available to help start your day.

While the selections may be fewer at Sea Dawgs, the quality of the food doesn’t change from place to place, and neither does the service. That’s because all of the cooks and servers are interchangeable.

“Our staff is trained to work either restaurant as needed,” says Hearn. “That ensures a shorter wait for our customers. If one place is busier than the other, we can pull people over to the busier one.”

Of course, you don’t have to be hungry to come to Sea Dawgs. You may just want to take in some of that live entertainment mentioned earlier. On my way out, the band Tongue N Groove was setting up for a show. I had to leave before they began their set, but their bongo drums lead me to believe they are a Sea Dawgs kind of group.

And never fear, local residents: Sea Dawgs won’t forget about you come Fall. “Since we’re completely enclosed now, we can entertain our customers year round,” says Hearn. “We even have a fireplace that you can warm yourself by while you enjoy a cocktail. We also have some fun activities planned in the Fall, like our Pirate Festival the first weekend of October.

“I like to give people a moment where they’re not thinking about their worries,” he says with a smile. “…Somewhere to just enjoy themselves.”

The Grill Beachside and Sea Dawgs are at 404 Butler Avenue on Tybee Island. Open for Lunch at 11:00 Monday thru Saturday, with brunch on Sunday. Food is served until 9:00 Sunday thru Thursday, 10:00 on Friday and Saturday. Free garage parking is available. For menu, visit