We are back for the third installment of our Lake Life series and just like in June, we’ve got food on the brain. This month we are highlighting J.R. Cash’s Grill and Bar located at Big Water Marina. This lakefront restaurant is a classic, scratch-made American grill that focuses on delicious food, friendly service, and satisfied people.
Imagine sipping a delicious, scratch-made cocktail from a dining area perched atop a prominent bluff overlooking the most incredible view on Lake Hartwell. The miles long and expansive view looks all the way west to Georgia and all the way north to the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s a truly breathtaking and one of a kind setting for a perfect lake day. This ideal setting is just the start of why J.R. Cash’s Bar and Grill is one of the best parts of living by the lake.
Jason McDowell, Owner of J.R. Cash’s Grill and Bar, loves bringing people together in a clean, well-staffed and organized environment to share in great flavors, warm hospitality, and to offer loyal patrons a break from the daily grind. All of this and more is exactly what you will find at J.R. Cash’s Grill and Bar. A throwback to a simpler, easier time in the world, this is not your typical lakefront or beachfront bar and grill.
“Our goal from the beginning has been to raise the bar and provide something different, something special,” says McDowell.
J.R. Cash’s is a high-quality restaurant experience where patrons can expect food made with top notch ingredients and scratch-made sauces. Shrimp, seafood, and chicken tenders are hand-breaded and cooked to order. Hamburgers are not frozen, but fresh, grilled half pound hamburgers made to order. Even the extensive cocktail and frozen drink menu is scratch made and can be enjoyed from the main bar and dining area, or from the rooftop bar and sunset viewing area. While the entire menu is full of amazing dishes, there are certainly a few that the chef prepares most frequently.
“Our hand breaded chicken tenders, shrimp, flounder, abundant salads, fresh burgers, and hand rolled wraps are incredibly popular,” says McDowell. “Our number one selling appetizer is definitely the hot lava shrimp, but the blue cheese chips are a close second!”
McDowell gives most of the credit for the success of the restaurant, to their incredible team. Even through busy, hot, humid days at the marina, the staff works so hard and keeps a smile on their faces as they serve the lake community.
“Our crazy band of lake lunatics are what keep us going! They are a bunch of hospitality warriors, and they do a phenomenal job,” says McDowell.
Bringing this unique brand of comfort food and hospitality to Anderson is very special to McDowell. After a successful career traveling the world in the aerospace industry, McDowell and wife Jodi were looking for a place to grow some roots and raise their family. After going into business with a friend who was a successful restauranteur McDowell offered to buy his business partner out of four of their shared restaurants and named them J.R. Cash’s.
“The name comes from a mash-up of our children’s names—Jeffery, Rhys, and Cash,” notes McDowell.
When Trey Boggs, Owner of Big Water Marina, who is also a longtime friend of McDowell’s, approached McDowell about partnering with Big Water Marina to bring a fun, high-quality, high-energy dining option to their marina location, McDowell agreed it was a phenomenal opportunity and a great fit for both companies. There was also a personal connection to the lakefront location for McDowell.
“Anderson is where my wife and I began our lake life. We moved to Lake Hartwell in 2001 and thought we had died and gone to heaven! We are lifelong boaters and Lake Hartwell holds so many incredible memories for us. In fact, I even proposed to Jodi one night at sunset on a boat in the middle of the lake,” says McDowell.
The future of J.R. Cash is bright and full of growth. They recently added a second Anderson location at Pine Lake Golf Club, also in partnership with the Boggs family.
“Our company currently operates seven locations in North and South Carolina. Our newest quick service chicken tender concept, Cash’s Chicken, opened in September 2022 and is thriving. We are looking to expand throughout the state very soon,” McDowell says.
Find J.R. Cash’s on Instagram at jrcashsgrillandbar and on Facebook at J.R. Cash’s Grill and Bar at Big Water Marina.