You've heard of Watusi, but what is it?
“It is what it is”
You’ll see this slogan plastered everywhere, from the mugs to the napkins, at Hilton Head’s famous eatery Watusi Cafe. It describes what makes Hilton Head, and Watusi, a place where people like to come. But what is ‘it’?
When you walk in the door, you understand—it’s a state of mind. It means letting go of your worries, relaxing your mind, and feeling at home. And that’s exactly what Watusi specializes in.
Since 2012, the cafe has been growing in popularity and the secret is definitely out (it’s holding steady at 4.5 stars with more than 600 reviews on TripAdvisor). So what is all the hype about, and what is it about this small, unassuming cafe in Hilton Head that has people head over heels?
Watusi Cafe strikes the perfect balance between classic comfort food and health-consciousness—think eggs benedict with a gluten-free bread option, potato pancakes piled high with veggies and hollandaise sauce, vegetarian fried lentil cakes with portabella and spinach, and more.
The menu focuses on freshness and quality—featuring organic produce, locally sourced ingredients, GMO-free meats, and delicious homemade baked goods.
A unique range of vegetarian and vegan options ensures no one leaves hungry. With menu items like thick-cut cinnamon french toast, spicy kale and quinoa, and sandwiches stuffed with juicy portabella mushrooms and grilled eggplant, you’re guaranteed to find something mouthwatering to eat regardless of dietary preferences or restrictions.
What TripAdvisor reviewers have to say:
“Best meal we had in Hilton Head.”
“Unquestionably the best breakfast-brunch-lunch eatery on HHI.”
“Hands down one of the best breakfast places we have ever found!”
“OUTSTANDING food 10/10!”
“Creative, fresh, and healthy—Watusi is a must try.”
“Excellent gluten-free options, very accommodating of dietary needs.”
“Food is worth the hype.”
Likened to a warm, cozy living room, the interior of Watusi cafe is inviting and casual. After a long day, the outdoor patio is a soothing and laid-back oasis where you can unwind with a glass of wine or a cocktail, enjoy the warm sunshine, and take in the cool breeze from the nearby ocean. It’s a place to sit and linger, embracing the slower pace the island is known for.
Bringing everything together with a genuine smile, the servers are known for their helpful and kind disposition, and are a big part of the experience at Watusi—one more reason customers flock to the small cafe.
What TripAdvisor reviewers have to say:
“Friendly, kind, and attentive servers.”
“Absolutely great service!”
“Pleasant and attentive to detail.”
“Every customer here is treated like a regular."
The Environmental Focus
Order any of the delicious food options at Watusi to-go, and you won’t be carrying it home in any old plastic container; all to-go boxes used in the restaurant are made from biodegradable, earth-friendly materials.
Something else missing from your dining experience? Conventional plastic straws. The restaurant participates in something called the Last Plastic Straw Challenge: a movement to help save our beloved oceans from billions of pounds of floating plastic waste each year.
Wander into the gift shop to find t-shirts made of recycled plastic and other goods with an environmentalist bent.
Diners feel good about supporting a business that cares about the planet, and appreciate the restaurant’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint—another point to Watusi.
It’s hard to find really well-made coffee, and you never know what you’re going to get at most places. But when you order your java from Watusi, you can be sure it’s going to be something special. Reviews claim things like, “the best coffee I’ve had in a long, long time”
Does it live up to the hype? You’ll have to see for yourself, but this coffee bar certainly doesn’t skimp when it comes to quality or selection. The cafe uses only the freshest, high-quality beans—certified organic, fair trade, and shade grown. Sourced exclusively from Batdorf & Bronson, the resulting brew is sure to impress even the pickiest coffee connoisseur.
A full range of flavors and dairy alternatives make it possible to enjoy your coffee however you like it. Have yours decaf, with milk, whipped cream, or try one of their specialty coffees like raspberry truffle or honey bun.
If you find yourself with extra time, mosey on over to the Watusi Marketplace and gift shop. There you can browse their collection of cute housewares, gifts for pet lovers, candles, hand-crafted local treasures, and other unique items for sale. Pick up a postcard or a t-shirt for someone you love with the ubiquitous “It is what it is” slogan, or find something to remind you of the memories made on Hilton Head Island.
You’ll notice a common trend for Watusi that extends into the Marketplace offering products which are eco-conscious, repurposed/recycled, sustainable, and Earth-friendly. Most of all, down right adorable.
"All Dogs Welcome" Policy
As a pet-friendly restaurant in Hilton Head Island, your dog is a member of the family. And it stinks to leave them behind every time you want to go out to relax and enjoy a nice meal. While most eateries either have a strict no-dogs-allowed policy or will only grudgingly allow your pet to accompany you, at Watusi, your furry companion is as much a guest as you are.
Not only is your pup welcome to hang out on the patio, they can enjoy a meal of their own with a special menu provided just for them. Feel good about what you’re feeding your four-legged friend with high-quality protein options like chicken and eggs, yummy vegetables, and preservative-free, healthy treats.
As you can see, the obsession with Watusi isn’t fleeting —the establishment seems to have hit the nail on the head with just the right mix of unique and hard-to-find touches that people can’t get enough of. And while the food and beverage alone are a refreshing departure from the norm, it’s the pairing of thoughtful details and great southern hospitality that make this cafe truly something special.
Watusi Cafe is what it is—and “it” is something you need to experience for yourself next time you’re in Hilton Head Island.