Pat Conroy once said “A recipe is a story that ends with a good meal.” At the Anchorage, every dish of fresh, comforting, Lowcountry cooking tells a story—and our guests listen with rapt anticipation. We’re thrilled to announce the return of the Ribaut Social Club, a reservation-only social space for Beaufort locals and visitors to mingle over cocktails and impeccable regional cuisine.
Our aim is to capture the incorrigible spirit and convivial atmosphere of the original Ribaut Club, established at the Anchorage in 1891. In its heyday, the Club hosted performances, grand parties, dances and even gambling—a raucous getaway from buttoned-up social strictures of the time. The relaunch coincides with the arrival of Byron Landis, our new executive chef who will elevate the cuisine at our award-winning boutique property.
Byron’s culinary storytelling began as an apprentice chef in Overland Park, Kansas, where he logged 6,000 hours of experience. From there, he honed his skills at Kansas social clubs including Kansas City’s esteemed Carriage Club. Last March, Byron became a sous chef at Hilton Head’s Long Cove Club and immersed himself in the tastes of the Lowcountry. We’re over-the-moon about his new role at the Anchorage, and can’t wait for our guests to enjoy his bold, perceptive take on local cuisine.
We sat down with Byron to pick his brain about chefs he admires, the art of small plates, and how he envisions cuisine at the Ribaut Social Club.
Describe what drew you to the Anchorage.
First, it was the centuries of history and the inn itself—the details of the ceilings and the wood trim are amazing architectural elements that builders don’t take the time to do today or probably can’t even do. We moved to the South to experience a different part of the United States and the Anchorage really tells the story of the South all on its own. From the moment I started collaborating with Frank and Amy, our visions for the Ribaut Club aligned so clearly. I knew I didn’t want to miss becoming a part of the inn’s next chapter.
What's your earliest food memory?
My family had a catering business growing up, and seeing how happy that simple food made people feel was one of the reason I decided to become a chef.
What celebrity chef do you most admire and why?
Right now, Thomas Keller is the chef of chefs. His restaurants in major cities are culinary destinations because he laid the groundwork for years. Chefs who learned under him are also some of the best and most innovative chefs in the world. His world is every real chef’s goal—to build something that stands on its own without because he’s cultivated such respect and understanding with his team.
How do you brainstorm ideas for the perfect small plate?
In a fine dining atmosphere, I feel that small plates are more challenging than an entrée. With an entree you have—within reason—an unlimited amount of components, garnishes, and directions you can take to build the flavor profile you want. With a small plate, you have limited items to create the flavor profile needed to make it really exceptional. For me, it’s about balancing the senses of taste…finding three or four items that, together, achieve the bite I’m aiming for.
What's the best advice another chef has ever given you?
No one has all the answers: No one is going to take you by the hand and show you the way. You have to figure it out for yourself and continuously absorb more and more food knowledge.
What do you like to do when you're not in the kitchen?
My fiancé and I just bought a house in Bluffton, SC. We spend most of our time doing yard work or small tasks to make the house feel like a home. We also have dog named Nash who loves to go on walks or play in the yard.