Gwen Fowler



While on Hilton Head, drop by One Hot Mama's

Posted 4/8/2012 9:24:00 PM

After a day at the RBC Heritage, you may be looking for a fun place to relax with good food and perhaps a craft beer. Try One Hot Mama’s, right outside the Sea Pines Resort gate.

You might even recognize owner and chef Orchid Paulmeier from the Food Network. She competed on season seven of Food Network Star, and while Jeff Mauro was the season winner, Paulmeier was the second-place fan favorite.

Winning a spot on the show was the experience of a lifetime, Paulmeier said, and she stays in touch with many of the other competitors.

Her appearance on the show also made a dramatic difference in business at One Hot Mama’s. Within a week or two after show aired June 5, 2011, the restaurant hired 18 more fulltime employees.

“It was a good feeling,” she said. “It definitely brought more people in the restaurant. Every day someone came in asking about the show.”

But people keep coming back for the food. One Hot Mama’s is known for its baby back ribs, pork barbecue and slow-cooked beef brisket.

The restaurant also has become known for its wings, and it has been a winner at Hilton Head’s Wingfest for three straight years.

It’s also the only full service craft beer bar on the island, although Growlers Craft Beer & Ale serves a variety of beers.

Paulmeier said many people expect Hilton Head Island to be a bit uppity and are pleasantly surprised to find that it’s a laid-back place for an affordable vacation.

“It’s homey,” she said. “It’s not uppity.”

That’s especially true for One Hot Mama’s.

“You can walk in with shorts on. You don’t’ have to have a shirt with a collar. It’s fun. We have a great atmosphere and it’s affordable.”

Hilton Head Island also could have one of the highest per-capita rates of food celebrities. The island is also the home of Chef Robert Irvine, who is the host of Restaurant: Impossible and previously has been on Dinner: Impossible, Worst Cooks in America and The Next Iron Chef

Irvine owns eat! on the island and recently opened a second restaurant, nosh, in nearby Bluffton.

“Robert is very supportive, which is nice, and he’s been very helpful with guidance,” Paulmeier said. “I am grateful to know him.”

One Hot Mama’s is part of the SERG Restaurant Group, which owns several restaurants on the island. She is also a partner of SERG Restaurant The Lodge.

I had to ask if Orchid was a nickname. It isn’t. It was the name given her by her parents, who moved to the United States from the Philippines before she was born. It wasn’t a name she was happy to have as a young girl, but she’s grown to love it.