The origin of Palmetto Cheese

PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC (WBTW) It was a simple slip of the tongue that gave this iconic South Carolina staple its name.  A neighbor called the pimento cheese, Palmetto Cheese and the name stuck.

Now the Pawleys Island location that helped the brand take off is celebrating its 80th anniversary.

“Sea View Inn is in our blood,” owner Brian Henry said.

The rocking chairs gaze out at a picturesque view guests have enjoyed now for eight decades. The stories from this porch and these rooms include that product known well in South Carolina and across the country

“I think it’s humbling how it started locally here in a seafood store. Stuck 12 containers in the ice next to the mullett,” Henry said of the beginning of Palmetto Cheese.

It was at Sea View that the distinct taste became main stream. Guests enjoyed it as part of the Sea Views traditional weekly cookout

“It was kind of like lost picnic food for a while,” Palmetto Cheese recipe creator Sassy Henry said. “All you could buy at the grocery store was something that doesn’t really resemble Pimento Cheese.”

Sassy however had been perfecting the recipe in the years before.

“I made it for Brian we were dating,” Sassy said.

A lot of pressure for the man she said she was trying to woo.

“My first reaction was it was excellent, she’s always been a great cook,” Brian said.

A good answer from the man who would become her husband. Sassy’s version took off as they served it to friends at tail gates before moving to Pawleys, taking over Sea View.

Another fun fact about the product is on the top of every container. The woman on the lid is Vertrella Brown. She’s a family friend of the Henry’s and the cook at the Sea View Inn that helped make the recipe for the guest.

“It’s blown our minds that not only is it popular but people are almost fanatical about it,” Brian said of Palmetto Cheese.

As proof of that, a woman sitting on the porch nearby actually interrupted the interview to tell us how she always tells people at the store they have to try Palmetto Cheese.

The couple says their customers are their best sales people. Comment after comment flood their social media. Words like delicious, best ever and even doubters now convinced otherwise.

“It’s made in South Carolina which was really important to us,” Sassy said.

The couple says people ask them all the time when they are going to sell the company. They say they’re just having too much fun right now to think about that.

Brian and Sassy are not originally from the Palmetto State but they both say after spending so much time here, they consider themselves South Carolinians.

Sassy says her favorite thing to put Palmetto Cheese on is Ritz Crackers, while Brian says he loves it on a hamburger or with grits.