Fine Dining, Fine Price

October 2011
Written By: 
Sara Sobota

HGTC’s culinary dining program offers gourmet cuisine at a friendly fare



For this first-class dining experience, lovers of the standard fare lunch—burgers, wraps, salads—need not apply. However, those interested in a higher dimension of luncheon cuisine will want to experience the Fowler Dining Room or the Beach Bistro 354 at Horry-Georgetown Technical College. The only catch: Seating is limited and demand is high, so you’d better call for reservations. Soon.

The dining program at HGTC is part of a laboratory class called A La Carte International Cuisine, in which freshman and sophomore students prepare a gourmet lunch for the public on Monday through Thursday each week of the academic year. At HGTC’s Conway campus, luncheon consists of five courses, served in the Fowler Dining Room, for $12. At the Grand Strand campus, a four-course lunch and dinner is offered at Beach Bistro 354 for $10. Lunch begins at noon, the entire dining room is served each course consecutively, and the meal lasts about an hour and fifteen minutes. Dinner is served at Beach Bistro 354 at 6 p.m.

“It’s the best deal in town,” said Tom Mullally, Culinary Arts Technology department chair. “We just want to break even” rather than make a profit, he said, since the goal is the education of future chefs.

Mullally and Carmen Catino, culinary arts professor and former department chair who’s logged more than 20 years with the program, created the lunch menu for the fall semester to challenge and expand the students’ culinary skills. Recent appetizer selections include Smoked Salmon Roulade and Chevre Tarts, while entrees range from Veal Francese topped with Shitake, Tomato and Spinach, to Pork Medallions with Red Pepper Citrus Sauce.

With its high caliber of cuisine and low cost, this program has become a hot commodity. Reservations are required and are limited to four reservations per person, per semester. When the program began in late August, both were about 40 percent booked for the semester.  “Because of the price tag and the quality of the food,” Mullally said, “it sells out every day.” The crowd includes “local business people, retirees, snowbirds—we have people driving in from as far as Aiken, and from Ocean Isle and Sunset Beach, just to come for lunch,” noted Catino.

Offering high-end cuisine at a low price point, HGTC dining programs will hit the spot for savvy Grand Strand foodies.


For reservations, call the Fowler Dining Room at (843) 349-5334 or Beach Bistro 354 at (843) 477-2040. To view the menus at each dining room, visit