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Aug 30, 2023

Jesse Blanco: Proud MOMMA is Sprouting on the South End

Jesse Blanco

Photography By

M.Kat
Once upon a time, Kim was baking at home. Eventually she and her family moved into a space on Hilton Head’s north end where they were doing some sandwiches and catering.

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Eat It and Like It’s Jesse Blanco and Sprout Momma owner Kim Tavino. 

From Kim Tavino’s seat, the outlook is rosy. It’s easy to see the world through rose colored glasses when you’ve got a full house midday and a massive kitchen and baking operation in the back that would rival any you’d find in the region.

Sprout Momma Bakery and Catering opened relatively quietly a few weeks ago on the island’s south end, but it has already become a go-to for the lunch crowd. It’s every bit as overwhelming as Kim thought it would be when they decided to “go for it” in this space formerly occupied by Signe’s Bakery. But she has no problem telling you that she is sitting exactly where she and her family always wanted to be.

Once upon a time, Kim was baking at home. Eventually she and her family moved into a space on Hilton Head’s north end where they were doing some sandwiches and catering. They eventually outgrew that space and made plans, like so many others have, to move to a larger operation in Bluffton.

“Bluffton went sideways after we gave up our lease on the island,” she said. “No one was at fault. It just happened.” So, for three months, they were “Nomads” (her word, not mine), until the day she approached Signe Gardo and asked if they could bake in her facility overnight. Two to three months later, they had an agreement to take over the space.

“She had been baking here for 50 years. She made my wedding cake. I thought this might be a good transition, and it worked out really well,” Kim said.

It absolutely did. The 5,000-square-foot baking facility and dining room was something Kim had thought they could eventually grow into. Her son Ryan is their chef. He had really been flexing his skill at the space on the north end, but ultimately they were limited by that lack of space. Now, with a full-blown kitchen, he’s ready to have a blast.

“My son is a brilliant chef. He is super confident,” Kim said.

The menu features some pizzas, sandwiches, a fantastic patty melt, salads and a few other offerings. There’s a bar inside where you can sit, beers on tap. The roughly 50- to 60-seat dining room doesn’t include another two dozen seats outside on their wraparound porch. There is plenty of room for everyone to be comfortable.

The menu features pizzas, sandwiches, a fantastic patty melt, salads and a few other offerings. 

“This place just fits,” Kim said. “It’s five minutes from my house, five minutes from my kids’ house. We don’t have to go across the bridge at all. If I forget something, I can just zip home.”      The menu features pizzas, sandwiches, a fantastic patty melt, salads and a few other offerings. 

Saturday brunches have taken off. Ryan plans to offer different themed menus those mornings. For example, one brunch menu was Guy Fieri themed, featuring the types of dishes you might find on his popular TV show Diners, Drive Ins and Dives.

The day we were there, it was clear the island had found them already. The line to the door to order lunch was everything Kim and her children could have hoped for at this point. But she has no trouble telling you, as overwhelming as this space can be, she has her eyes on something more.

“I see us having three,” she said. “I’ve been trying to keep it from the kids, but yes. I’d like to have three. Smaller, of course. This would be production; the others would be smaller spaces.”

Kim is eyeing a few corners of the Lowcountry. I won’t fully tip her hand, but she did share the parts of the region she likes that she believes are growing—including Savannah, but that isn’t happening.

“I didn’t like Savannah. I’ve been here 45 years. I’ve seen it resurrect,” she said. “But I’m not ready for the big city. I’m a sleepy island gal.”  

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