FOUNDER STEVE CARB LEADS GROWTH OF AWARD-WINNING RESTAURANTS
The largest employer on Hilton Head Island emerged from humble beginnings. It started many years ago with a single location in an island hot spot.
“The first SERG restaurant was Giuseppi’s in Shelter Cove,” said Steve Carb, the founder and president. “We just celebrated our 35th anniversary.”
That was the launching pad for 17 restaurants and counting. Carb’s determination, vision and acumen were a driving force.
Carb is proud of the SERG Group’s success but is incredibly happy to share the credit for the company’s growth. What does he see as the key to sustaining the company’s success?
“We have good partners,” he said. “I think that’s what has kept us going all these years.”
The SERG motto is “Real People. Real Food. Real Passion.” What does that mean to Carb?
“It’s all the people that make up our company,” he said. “We’ve offered a lot of partnerships to newcomers. We give them a fraction of the action. It’s kind of our thing. It motivates them to work hard.”
Like so many people who are locals now, Carb’s journey didn’t begin here. He moved to Hilton Head Island from Pittsburgh, Pa. Like many transplants he’s carried his sports loyalties with him across the years and miles.
To this day he bleeds black and gold.
“I consider myself a big Steelers fan,” he said. “This season has been very impressive. The Steelers and the Penguins are my two favorites for sure.”
Despite being immersed in the restaurant industry and the island’s food culture for many years, fitness and health have become especially important to him. Carb said he works out every day with a personal trainer.
And the coastline has been calling him. Carb recently made a big-ticket purchase that will eventually take up a lot of his time.
“I just bought my first boat,” he said. “It’s down in Florida. I haven’t had a chance to use it very much (because of COVID-19).”
Carb lives on Hilton Head in Windmill Harbour. While he’s never been married, he has two dogs he loves that keep him busy.
“I have a miniature Yorkie named Frankie Bones and a terrier mix named Sheldon that loves to dig,” he said. “Frankie Bones was my first and he’s been around for 18 years. And I adopted Sheldon from the Hilton Head Humane Association.”
Frankie Bones shares a name with two of SERG’s locations, including one that opened this year on Buckwalter Parkway in Bluffton. While Carb wouldn’t pick a favorite SERG location, he did say that Frankie Bones has his favorite steak.
“They have my favorite steak of all time,” Carb gushed. “It’s the coffee-rubbed ribeye. The flavor is just unique.”
Despite many hardships last year, SERG is going to expand in 2021. Marley’s Island Grille outside Sea Pines will re-open as Nectar, a new concept for the company.
“We decided to open a breakfast, lunch, and dinner place. It’s Lowcountry farm to kitchen,” he said. “We don’t have anything like it at all. We wanted to do something new to help add to our variety. It should be open sometime in February or March.”
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Carb is happy SERG is still going strong.
“I’m just happy we were able to dine inside and outside,” he said. “We have patios at most of our restaurants. That’s been the saving grace.”