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Spring 2021 || Free

a Charleston City Paper publication


0 GEORGE STREET • CHARLESTON , SC 843.817.7900 • ZERORESTAURANTCHARLESTON.COM

103 SPRING STREET • CHARLESTON , SC 843.817.7311 • WILDCOMMONCHARLESTON.COM


Let’s have a Spring fling with flavor. New cocktails from the bar, tasty plates from the kitchen, and a new appreciation for shared time together.

Come join us.

1 0 0 C H U R C H S T. - M T. P 2 9 4 6 4 | 8 4 3 . 3 5 2 . 9 5 1 0 | A L L M E N U S O N L I N E AT : T A V E R N A N D T A B L E . C O M

INSIDE IS BORING. ™

Our full menu is back and life OUTSIDE on the Creek feels great. Come on by & chill awhile!

Historic Shem Creek | 98 Church Street, Mt. Pleasant | 843.388.0003 | w w w . r e d s i c e h o u s e . c o m

charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 3

It's been a long year inside. It's time to get back out into the world! (Safely of course.)


Publisher: Andy Brack

editorial Editor: Sam Spence Cuisine Editor: Parker Milner Contributing Editors: Chelsea Grinstead, Michael Smallwood Staff Writer: Skyler Baldwin Web Editor: Samantha Connors Contributors: Stephanie Barna, Suzanne Cohen, Eric Doksa, Robert Donovan, Kinsey Gidick, Mary Scott Hardaway, Allston McCrady, Robert F. Moss, Melissa Tunstall, Vanessa Wolf Editorial Interns: Katherine Jordan, Cora Schipa, Fern Wooden-Edwards

sales Sales Director: Cris Temples Account Executives: Hollie Anderson Kristin Byars Ashley Frantz Lauren Kesmodel Sales Assistant: Melissa Veal

design Ruta Smith

4 || DISH || Spring 2021

The lobster tail at Nico Romo’s Bistronomy

Art Director: Scott Suchy Production Director: Déla O’Callaghan Graphic Designer: Christina Bailey Staff Photographer: Ruta Smith

distribution Welcome to the spring edition of Dish, a Charleston City Paper publication recognizing the city’s top restaurants and some of the stories that defined the industry for the last six months. In the next 48 pages, you’ll of course find our spring list of the top 50 restaurants in Charleston. There’s multiple newcomers, including a 20-year-old sushi restaurant, a femaleowned Oaxacan-inspired eatery and the second act downtown from a celebrated local chef. Charleston restaurants new and old have continued to shift operations since our winter edition of Dish. This was certainly the case at Chasing Sage, a Rutledge Avenue newcomer that introduced

itself to downtown Charleston with a series of eclectic pop-ups. Down on Broad Street, a decades old institution endured immense change, later finding that a couple pandemic-influenced adjustments would be key to its future. And since spring 2020, the call to support Black-owned restaurants brought more business, a much needed step for the city after a long-overdue social awakening nationwide. Congratulations to all the restaurants featured in this edition of Dish, places that have kept patrons safe over the past 13 months, while managing to churn out boundary-pushing dishes that keep us coming back for more. —Parker Milner

inside (p6)

(p10)

(p16)

(p22)

37 years in, Fast & French isn’t going anywhere

Black restaurant owners reflect on a complicated year

Chasing Sage pop-ups provide a glimpse of what’s to come on Rutledge Avenue

Our top restaurants in Charleston for Spring 2021

C’est la Vie

Building Business

(p44)

Charleston’s Takeout Favorites Great Local Grab & Go Favorites — a special advertising section

Takeout Stakeout

The Dish Top 50

(p46)

(p50)

A breakdown of restaurants in this issue by type of cuisine

Lewis Barbecue and Juan Luis are expanding organically

Index

Second and Last

Circulation Team: Mandy Baker, Melissa Garvan, Jesse Craig, Chris Glenn, Robert Hogg, David Lampley, John Melnick, Sam Ognibene Published by City Paper Publishing, LLC Members: J. Edward Bell • Andrew C. Brack

o  n the cover Chasing Sage, photographed by Ruta Smith. Dish is a publication of the Charleston City Paper and is published quarterly by City Paper Publishing, LLC. All content is copyrighted and the property of City Paper Publishing, LLC. Charleston City Paper P.O. Box 21942 Charleston, SC 29413 (843) 577-5304 charlestoncitypaper.com


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6 || DISH || Spring 2021

C’est la Vie 37 years in, Fast & French isn’t going anywhere

F 

By Parker Milner

ast & French has been a Broad Street staple since 1984 when Gwylene Gallimard and Jean-Marie Mauclet first debuted the quaint cafe. But the restaurant’s story was only just beginning when longtime employees Lawrence Mitchell and Jennifer Bremer took over in 2011. The last decade has been filled with triumph and sorrow for the owners, who have endured a changing culinary landscape, a stolen sign, lost dessert recipes, Hurricane Hugo and most recently, a pandemic. Thanks to their devotion and Fast & French’s loyal local following, cozy ambiance and heartwarming-yet-eclectic cuisine, this Broad Street institution isn’t going anywhere. Mitchell and Bremer were hired as dishwashers in the 1990s — both were in awe from the moment they walked in the door. “I had a friend who was managing. I remember having lunch and was like, ‘This place is so unique,’” Bremer said. “Shortly after, I finagled a job washing dishes, and then I just worked my way up from there.”

“I started washing dishes because I was so enamored with the culture that was going on here,” Mitchell said. “I wanted to be a part of it in any capacity.” Fast & French became known for its lunch specials that came with a glass of wine, and years later, the restaurant still offers the same affordable options to locals and tourists alike, with sandwiches, pastries, weekend specials and of course, daily changing soups. “It’s very similar to what it was then. We have their recipe book, which we bought,” Bremer said. “We worked here long enough to contribute to that recipe book too,” Mitchell added with a smile. “We have a very limited kitchen, so we’re limited to hot sandwiches, soups and big-pot specials. When you look at that, we’re

Fast & French pumped up its brunch offerings during the pandemic Photos by Ruta Smith


more like how you would eat at home.” Fast & French’s soup recipes, in particular, have stood the test of time, with options like split pea, beef stew and chilled gazpacho, which is served daily. “We have sold so much gazpacho in the history of this restaurant that I feel like we have done our part to make the world aware of what gazpacho is,” Mitchell said. According to Bremer, the key is marinating the Limehouse Produce vegetables overnight with the restaurant’s signature spice blend. In the morning, Bremer and Mitchell blend up the cold soup before service. You’ll find baguettes, French cheese platters and croque monsieurs at Fast & French, but the pint-sized kitchen is also dishing out ever-changing weekend specials, listed on a spinning wheel that dates back to the 1980s. “We have all these specials that only a few of them have their origins in France, so we’re more international than we are specifically France-based,” said Mitchel, describing options like paella, Senagalese yassa and curried lamb. “But, I think the method in which we cook is very French.”

C’est la Vie

Any restaurant that has been open for nearly four decades is sure to have some difficulties. Fast & French’s famous pig-and-chicken sign has been stolen — not once, but twice — and the restaurant lost all of its pastry recipes to a now-closed company it commissioned to make its desserts. And, we "For a restaurant that has haven’t even gotten to been exactly the same, the pandemic. even through an ownership “Especially the chocolate mousse and the transition, this has been a huge amount of change for bourbon butterscotch cake were recipes from us. We’re constantly in flux.” Gwylene and Jean-Marie that were given to this —Lawrence Mitchell, Co-Owner company,” Bremer said.

Longtime employee Amanda Downey recreated lost desserts like bourbon butterscotch cake

continued on page 8

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“They wouldn’t give them back to us. I was going all over town with this one piece of chocolate mousse cake saying, ‘Can you replicate this?’ and for a while we didn’t have it and a lot of customers were crushed.” Longtime employee Amanda Downey made it her mission to recreate the desserts, and she’s done a fantastic job, Bremer said. Losing the desserts and sign — now locked up to keep tempted passersby at bay — was one thing, but the pandemic has been especially challenging for a restaurant that seats just 36 guests. “For a restaurant that has been exactly the same, even through an ownership transition, this has been a huge amount of change for us. We’re constantly in flux,” Mitchell said. At the onset, Fast & French made ends meet by adding seating in a Charleston County-owned courtyard on the side of the restaurant, only to have county officials decide against further permitting the outdoor space. “I just didn’t have a notion that they were going to say no, and then they did, and we were just all in shock,” Bremer said. But months later, the duo has moved past the months-long saga. There’s sidewalk seating that extends to the doorstep of a neighboring law firm that Bremer said has been a huge supporter over the years. The pandemic prompted other changes, including online menus, reservations and brunch every week, none of which existed pre-


8 || DISH || Spring 2021

Fast & French from page 7

COVID-19. Brunch in particular has been a hit, Mitchell said. “We started doing brunch on Sunday, so with our limited kitchen, we’re always trying to come up with creative things,” he said. “We started doing something that we nicknamed the ‘Flooded Nest,’ which is you choose your soup and then you get two poached eggs on top of it. Usually, I have a

Photos by Ruta Smith

Patrons have flocked to Fast & French for breads, pastries and desserts since 1984

"Everybody's kind of stepped up because closing this place is not an option.” —Jennifer Bremer, Co-Owner

soup in mind that I want people to put the eggs on, but lately, people have been ordering the gazpacho with two poached eggs on top.” Patrons can also order mimosas and bellinis with fresh-squeezed juice, and if there are leftovers from the Saturday special, Mitchell will happily throw some Morrocan stewed lamb or bouillabaisse over grits. The restaurant’s staff includes five fulltime employees, and 10 others contribute part time. These folks have been essential pieces of the puzzle throughout the pandemic, Bremer and Mitchell said. “Everybody’s kind of stepped up because closing this place is not an option,” Bremer said. “People sort of thought we had an attitude here and were a little aloof,” Mitchell said. “I think now, people here are much more humble. I think our waitstaff is much more accommodating, I think that we give really good service, and I think the people who work here are really passionate about the food. One of our little things is, ‘A love affair since 1984,’ and that is absolutely true. People love this place and would do anything for it.”

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10 || DISH || Spring 2021

Building Business Black restaurant owners reflect on a complicated year By Parker Milner

A 

fter a a long-overdue social awakening across the U.S. in 2020, people came together to support Black-owned businesses and restaurants — this was especially true in Charleston, where Black Food Fridays founder K.J. Kearney rallied social media support by asking followers to dine at or order from a Black-owned restaurant each week and share photos. The extra business was essential at a time when Black-owned restaurants were being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, due in part to less access to federal PPP loans and systemic wealth disparities that existed before the pandemic. Still, several Black-owned restaurants were among those that closed, and more could follow. Social media posts, lists of Black-owned restaurants and details about how to help can raise awareness, but only the owners of these establishments know the true impact. We asked seven Black restaurant owners to reflect on the complicated 13-plus months since the onset of the pandemic last spring. continued on page 12

Nathan and Chasity Brown opened Daddy's Girls Bakery on Jan. 1, 2021

Photos by Ruta Smith


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12 || DISH || Spring 2021

Building Business from page 10

NATHAN AND CHASITY BROWN, Daddy’s Girls Bakery owners

Daddy’s Girls Bakery opened on Jan. 1, 2021 in North Charleston at 2021B Reynolds Ave., after building a local following with its Charleston International Airport kiosk, stand at the Charleston Farmers Market and booth at the downtown Charleston Night Market on Market Street. “It’s been going pretty well—we’ve been slammed busy,” Chasity said. “A lot of people in the community have stopped by and said that they either live or work in the area.” When asked if the call to support Blackowned businesses has helped grow their following, Chasity said, “I think it has. I have kind of seen a more diverse customer base.” “I’m not sure if it’s because of the political stance or having just opened,” Nathan said. “We are Black business owners, but we kind of look at ourselves as a bakery first. Business is business. We want to be in the conversations with the Kaminsky’s and the Saffrons, not just the Black-owned businesses.” Nathan said that “just exploring, trying new restaurants and giving them a chance” is the best way to continue to support Blackowned restaurants. “If I’m not around a lot of Black people, I probably won’t try Blackowned restaurants,” he said. “Be open to different people and open to conversations.” RODNEY SCOTT, Rodney Scott’s BBQ owner

“The support has been amazing this year with a lot of local, smaller Black businesses being recognized. Of course we’ve had a great year due to the Netflix [Chef 's Table] release and because we had a drive-thru. I’ve personally seen an increase in local visitors … A lot of people who weren’t traveling far and with a lot of people being closed, they utilized the few of us that did stay open. Not only did this year recognize people like myself, but it gave the chance for people to get mentioned for the first time.” When asked what more can be done to continue the support for Black-owned restaurants, Scott said, “Communicate more, have conversations, go back to that old word-of-mouth advertising again to find out where all the good little spots are.

Ragina Sanders (above) owns paywhat-you-can Destiny Community Cafe. Quan Myers (below) opened Quan's BBQ Jan. 27

Photos by Ruta Smith

That’s been my thing. That would help a lot with up-and-coming people and the whole Charleston food and beverage community.” RAGINA SAUNDERS, Destiny Community Cafe owner

“We’re a community cafe, so I wouldn’t want to compare it to a for-profit restaurant. But, we get a diversity from all cultures, and we’re even starting to translate our stuff into Spanish as well. As far as support, we could use more. We’re a nonprofit, so we run off the community chipping in.” QUAN MYERS, Quan’s BBQ owner

“When I reopened in late January (2021), I decided to switch over to barbecue with the Southern fixins. I promote on Facebook, so I continued on page 14

Rodney Scott hopes to see more word-ofmouth advertising


bohemianbull.com

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charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 13

1531 folly rd.


14 || DISH || Spring 2021

Building Business from page 12

mean, the community and people who are not in the community come in as well,” said Myers, who has received additional customers on Mondays thanks to a Facebook group called Melanated Money Mondays, which makes a “conscious effort to spend dollars with people of color and/or businesses/people that support a change in our nation’s inequality” on Mondays. “I have gotten business from that, people who told me they saw it,” Myers said. BROOKS HARRISON, East Side Soul Food owner

“We had a lot of new customers and faces, and I feel like it did help and push, especially during the beginning months. A lot of the new customers, they pretty much stopped in once, twice, three times a week, and it’s definitely been a big boost in that aspect. The retention has always been there, but the influx makes you feel better about the product and service.”

Nigel Drayton will open his fourth local restaurant later this year

Photos by Ruta Smith

we missed that mark last year because of COVID. For a new business, we’re doing OK, and it’s actually doing a little better than when I first opened my first restaurant. I’m waiting to see what it can really do.” This time next year, Drayton will have a fourth restaurant in Hanahan, a project that was stalled due to COVID-19. ODIES TURNER, Pablo’s Kitchen owner

“Being Black, the climate wants to see more support, and that has driven a lot of support for me,” said Turner, a College of Charleston graduate who started his own catering company in July 2020. “If you go to the bigger cities like Atlanta, you see a lot more of the prominent Black chefs. I’d say in Charleston, what I’ve learned is that there are not a lot of private chefs who are marketing,” said Turner, who believes social media helped him quickly gain a following. “I think that’s what has led to my success.”

NIGEL DRAYTON, Nigel’s Good Food, Nigel’s Good Food II and The Slaughter House BBQ & Brew owner

“We’ve gotten new exposure, but at the same time I think it’s just the fact of more people coming to Charleston. Some of the older customers we have, they’re afraid to come out as much, so it’s definitely affected us. Even before COVID hit, we added takeout because we’re such a small place,” said Drayton, who opened the Slaughter House — his third restaurant — in September 2019. “We were waiting for the summer time to kick in, and

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DOWNTOWN CHARLESTON


16 || DISH || Spring 2021

Takeout Stakeout Chasing Sage popups provide a glimpse of what’s to come on Rutledge Avenue

T 

By Elise DeVoe

he team behind Chasing Sage was ready to open its shared plates, seasonal-focused downtown Charleston restaurant in March 2020, but the COVID-19 outbreak caused them to press pause before coming up with a new way to introduce their cuisine to Charleston. “We were all set to open. We were all-systems-go. We had hired our entire staff and developed our opening menu,” said co-owner Walter Edward. “And then, February and March happened.” The four-person squad at 267 Rutledge Ave. is made of Walter (chef/co-owner), his wife Cindy (pastry chef/co-owner), Forrest Brunton (chef/co-owner) and general manager Maxfield Clarke, who together brainstormed a way to pivot during Chasing Sage’s quarantine. They landed on a concept they dubbed “Chasing Sage pop-ups,” an evolving takeout-only program that would swap cuisines and menus every two weeks. “We wanted to make sure we didn’t take what we wanted to do and dreamed of and do it halfway,” said Walter, describing what sets the pop-up offering apart from what they consider quintessential “Chasing Sage cuisine.” “I think so much of it comes from what we crave and what we’re hungry for. What’s approachable, fun, delicious, and would make us happy right now. That’s quarantine food.” The inaugural pop-up — called “We Got Seoul” — was inspired by a surprise Korean barbecue birthday party for Cindy during quarantine. Ruta Smith

continued on page 18


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18 || DISH || Spring 2021

BREAKFAST SERVED ALL DAY EVERY DAY

The Best Food Under the Sun! Chasing Sage's ramen-themed pop-up has been a hit

Stakeout from page 16

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“We were like, ‘Wow, this is amazing, I wish this food was out there,’” Walter said. Chasing Sage served Korean barbecue for two weeks before moving on to its next two themes — a French bistro concept aptly named “So You Think You Can France,”’ and a Moroccan concept called “Moroccan on Heaven’s Door.” The punny names didn’t stop there — after Moroccan, they moved on to Thai street food (Life’s a B!tch and Then You Thai), German (Prepare for the Wurst) and Peruvian (Much Peru About Nothing). With each pop-up, Walter and Brunton made everything in-house, forcing them to seek out unique ingredients, which made prep work very involved for the quick, twoweek concept. The week before Thanksgiving, Walter and Brunton had to come up with a concept that would only last one week instead of two before the holidays. “We thought, ‘What could we do quickly, wouldn’t take too much testing, that we really enjoy,’” recalled Walter.

Photos by Ruta Smith

The team hopped on the ramen bandwagon with a pop-up called “Everybody Loves Ramen” that’s still going on six months later. “Ramen was successful to the point that we decided to keep going with it after Thanksgiving, and it’s been this continued wave,” Walter said. “Originally we said that no matter how successful the individual pop-ups were, we were going to change every two-to-three weeks no matter what, and ramen ended up changing our minds,” Brunton added. Instead of asking “What’s next?” diners who try Chasing Sage’s ramen keep coming back for more. The menu is small, but packs a punch. continued on page 20


OPENING SPRING 2021 A classic French brasserie situated in historic downtown, Brasserie La Banque will feature a selection of traditional French dishes alongside more innovative fare from executive chef Jeb Aldrich. Aptly named for its previous role as a city bank, Brasserie la Banque is located within the iconic 1 Broad Street corner building that dates back to the 1700s. Opening late spring 2021, the neighborhood restaurant will offer lunch, dinner, and late-night service, seven days a week.

Follow @Brasserie_la_Banque on Instagram and sign up for our mailing list at brasserielabanque.com to be among the first to celebrate our opening.

charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 19

Pictured: Duck Consommé with Foie Gras Dumplings


20 || DISH || Spring 2021

Stakeout from page 18

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“The pork ramen is a super rich, creamy tonkotsu broth and the veggie ramen has a mushroom-y, earthy flavor,” Brunton said. The menu is designed so that two-tothree people can try everything. In addition to ramen, Chasing Sage serves rotating side dishes like karaage (gluten-free Japanese fried chicken) and a sunomono salad, featuring Persian cucumber, avocado, sesame, togarashi pepper and rice vinegar. The restaurant serves beer, wine and house-made Japanese-style sodas. For dessert, try Cindy’s macarons or a chewy mochi doughnut. “They’re totally gluten-free and made from rice flour. They’re a leavened sweet dough, then fried and glazed. It’s got this fun, chewy texture to it,” Walter said. Diners can take their ramen to-go or enjoy it on Chasing Sage’s sidewalk tables. “You’ll definitely get some socially distanced conversation from us. We get very excited when people are sitting outside,” Cindy said. “There’s a few more beverages if you dine in with us than if you’re taking it to-go. Only the tables get the QR code menu, and they have the secret drink menu.”

The team still uses the phrase “When we open ...” because Chasing Sage and “Chasing Sage pop-ups” are two completely different concepts,” Walter said. “Chasing Sage, the ingredients define the dishes, whereas Chasing Sage pop-ups, we’re coming up with the dishes then searching out the ingredients for them,” he said. “It’s just the four of us here, and we love what we do. We are continually inspired to cook and eat and try to make people happy," Walter added. "We’re excited to be part of the Charleston community, both restaurant and beyond. We didn’t open Chasing Sage because it wasn’t the right time and it wasn’t what the world needed right now. We really hope that’s what Chasing Sage pop-ups is.” Chasing Sage is serving ramen for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday from 12-1:30 p.m. and 4:30-8:30 p.m. Stop in on Saturday for Sushi Saturday courtesy of Clark, who is a trained sushi chef.

Each Chasing Sage pop-up comes with a new punny name

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22 || DISH || Spring 2021

Our top restaurants in Charleston for Spring 2021 W 

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ith several restaurants entering and exiting Charleston's culinary scene in the past year, our spring list of top 50 Charleston restaurants features six newcomers, each of which offer something a little different for local patrons. There's top notch soul food takeout, French/Asian fusion, vegan, expertly crafted sushi, elevated Mexican and new American cuisine, plus so much more from the other 44 restaurants returning to the top 50. In a city filled with delicious dining destinations, being named to the top 50 is no small feat, but with inexpensive options, fine dining fare and everything in between, there's something for all Charleston diners on our top 50. Without further ado, here are the Dish top 50 restaurants for spring 2021.

As of publication, we've noted any temporary hours or dine-in changes. Please see restaurants for daily updates.

167 Raw SEAFOOD

Moderate Downtown. 193 King St. (843) 579-4997 167raw.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

Surrounded by high-end boutiques, swanky inns, antique stores and art galleries, 167 Raw’s King Street home sits along a quiet stretch of storefronts. The renowned eatery is still boasting the same lineup of New England bivalves and lob-

stah rolls that were much-lauded at its original (teeny) East Bay spot. The first f loor of the ever-so-charming 19th century building is long and narrow, with original brick walls and a walnut bar. Bar vet Teddy Nixon is behind the long bar, shaking up the good stuff, while owners Jesse Sandole and Darren Harrison-Panes, donning matching aqua hues, greet regulars at the door. Even with four times (at least) as much seating as their original space, 167 Raw gets packed. Arrive early to tuck into your 10-hour carnita taco and bay scallops in stud butter. —Mary Scott Hardaway


Ruta Smith

Royal Tern's flavor-forward poke is dotted with mango and sesame seeds, and served with two thick, sesame seed-covered wonton chips

Babas on Cannon EUROPEAN

Babas on Cannon is one of those places that truly does everything well, even more impressive when you glance at its expansive daily menu. There’s strong espresso, baked treats, avocado toast, salads and sandwiches during the day, followed by small bites and aperitifs later at night. Nearly everything is house-made — from peanut milk to banana bread topped with flakey sea salt — and the

continued on page 24

VOTED BEST Restaurant • Sunday Brunch • Steak Waitstaff • Downtown Restaurant • Martini Summerville Restaurant and Restaurant When Someone Else is Paying Downtown • 424 King St. Nexton/Summerville • 300 Nexton Square Dr. Also visit Halls in Columbia & Greenville

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charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 23

Moderate Downtown. 11 Cannon St. (843) 284-6260 babasoncannon.com Serving Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (Tues.-Sun.)

ingredients are always local. Want to get in and out in a jiffy? Babas has its own app for easy online ordering. If you’re staying awhile, you’ll find it to be the type of place where the employees want to know your name and remember your order. Babas’ ability to maintain that comfortable neighborhood vibe while keeping customers’ safety front of mind is truly a work of art. With a welcoming space and the food to match, Babas on Cannon delivers on its promise to mimic an old world European cafe. —Parker Milner

Bringing Southern Hospitality to the American Steakhouse


24 || DISH || Spring 2021

Top 50 Top 50 from page 23

Bacco ITALIAN

Moderate Mount Pleasant. 976 Houston Northcutt Blvd. (843) 884-6969 baccocharleston.com Serving Lunch (Tues.-Fri.), Dinner (Tues.–Sat.)

For more than a dozen years, Mount Pleasant’s Bacco has successfully pulled off the idea of that fabled “neighborhood Italian place” you hear about in other cities: small, friendly service with straightforward Southern Italian food that creates regulars out of customers. Start your meal with the fire-roasted olives, warm multivarietal and multi-textured olives straight out of the wood burning oven. The insalata di polpo, tender braised and grilled octopus, is a highlight of the antipasti. The Italian focused cocktail menu is no slouch with a barrel-aged negroni and the Ficcho Bello, a fizzy drink with fig infused vodka with rosemary and cherry bitters. The primi course is where chef Michael Scognamiglio shines. The gnocchi bolognese are little airy pillows tossed in meaty bolognese and the Risi e Bisi is a buttery parmesan packed risotto with peas and pancetta. —Robert Donovan

Basic Kitchen CAFE

Moderate Downtown. 82 Wentworth St. (843) 789-4568 basickitchen.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Sat.) Weekend Brunch

In a city filled with hearty Southern cuisine, sometimes it’s tricky to find a flavorful, light meal. Not so at Basic Kitchen — according to co-owner Ben Towill, that has been exactly the goal since opening the restaurant with his wife Kate in 2017. “We want to provide massive flavor and a meal that’s hearty but still feels light.” Since taking over as Basic Kitchen executive chef in July 2019, Robin Hollis has homed in on this mission by creating more wholesome dishes that highlight vegetables from local purveyors. BK’s lunch menu is divided into small plates, bowls, salads, sandwiches and sweets. As for dinner selections, Towill said, “We wanted to narrow our focus by adding more classical entrees.” —Parker Milner

Bertha’s Kitchen SOUL FOOD

Inexpensive Downtown. 2332 Meeting Street Road. (843) 554-6519 Serving Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Fri.)

Head up Meeting Street until you see a twostory robin’s egg blue building with purple trim and a line stretching out the door. The Southern soul food platters here are so tasty, generous and inexpensive, that the line starts

forming well before they open for lunch. Businessmen, laborers and far-flung tourists alike shuffle through the quick cafeteriastyle service counter loaded with a smorgasbord of meat and threes, such as fried pork chops, fish specials, yams, stewed greens, home-style mac and cheese, limas nestled with smoked turkey necks, dark roux okra soup, moist cornbread and fried chicken better than anyone’s Grandma ever made. —Allston McCrady

Bistronomy by Nico FRENCH

Expensive Downtown. 64 Spring St. (843) 410-6221 bistronomybynico.com Serving Dinner (daily)

One month after getting the keys to 64 Spring St., Bistronomy by Nico co-owners Nico Romo and Dominique Chantepie opened the French bistro after revamping the space previously occupied by Josephine Wine Bar. Since opening in November 2020, Bistronomy has served playful plates like escargot rice dumplings, goat cheese spring rolls and lobster with candied ginger in a setting reminiscent of a Parisian bistro. The cuisine mirrors the vibrant atmosphere and draws on celebrated dishes from Romo’s 10 years at Fish, which closed in 2017 after 17 years on King Street. Romo calls Bistronomy’s menu approachable French cuisine with an Asian fusion twist. Look for duck steamed buns, tuna tartare with shrimp “chips” and a tomato and panko-fried mozzarella salad in the small plates section, while the entrees consist of plates like truffle chicken, cassoulet and scallops with coconut rice, all under $30. —Parker Milner

Bowens Island Restaurant SEAFOOD

Moderate James Island. 1870 Bowens Island Road. (843) 795-2757 bowensisland.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sat.)

Don’t expect white tablecloth and maitre’d service at Bowens Island. It’s famously no frills, but it’s worth it. The nightly crowds are a testament to the family fish camp. Since its founding in 1946, it’s grown from a grimy, albeit quaint, cinderblock outpost to a pluffmud pantheon that offers up damn good fried seafood, hushpuppies and cold local beer in its upstairs dining room. Follow your nose downstairs and elbow-out yourself a space at the all-you-can-eat oyster tables and slurp down tasty local oysters by the shovelful that were likely pulled off the marsh that day. Oyster season or not, we have a hard time passing up the Frogmore Stew, a pot full of potatoes, sausage, corn on the cob and shrimp steamed together as God intended it. —Sam Spence continued on page 26


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Top 50 Top 50 from page 24

Butcher & Bee MEDITERRANEAN

Moderate Downtown. 1085 Morrison Drive. (843) 619-0202 butcherandbee.com Serving Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (daily), Weekend Brunch

Going on five years since it moved to a bright, sunny building on Morrison Drive, Butcher & Bee is an elevated restaurant that belies its hipster hangout roots in its old dark, tiny space on Upper King Street. B&B’s menu features a large range of dishes with everything from falafel to decadent burgers to carefully crafted fresh seafood and veggie-forward dishes. An excellent feature present on the menu for brunch, lunch and dinner is B&B’s mezze selection, a collection of small plates with a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influence. —Suzanne Cohen

Charleston Grill MODERN AMERICAN

Very Expensive Downtown. 224 King St. (843) 577-4522 charlestongrill.com Serving Dinner (daily)

Amid ever-shifting culinary fashions, Charleston Grill has remained one of the

city’s crown jewels by delivering a consistently flawless dining experience. Executive chef Michelle Weaver’s dishes can be decadently lush, like her beef tenderloin with bourguignon sauce or seared foie gras with an apple hand pie topped with whipped mascarpone crème fraîche. The best way to experience the full sweep of the cuisine is with Weaver’s four-to-eight course tasting menu, which may well be the most impressive in town. —Robert F. Moss

Chez Nous FRENCH

Expensive Downtown. 6 Payne Court. (843) 579-3060 cheznouschs.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Tues.-Sun.), Sun. Brunch

Most mornings before lunch, the Chez Nous Instagram feed features a picture of the day’s menu, handwritten in black ink on a small white card in executive chef Jill Mathias’ eccentric and highly stylized script. Next comes a separate picture of each and every dish being served that day, taken from above in flawless light. Admittedly, it’s only seven pictures total, since Chez Nous serves just two starters, two entrees and two desserts, and the selection changes daily. The setting continued on page 28


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Top 50 Top 50 from page 26

is charmingly old and the cuisine Europeaninspired, but it’s hardly a throwback to an older mode of dining. Chez Nous stands alone just as it is, an eccentric outlier. With such a dynamic menu, any review of Chez Nous is by necessity a fleeting snapshot. —Robert F. Moss

Coda del Pesce ITALIAN/SEAFOOD

Expensive Isle of Palms. 1130 Ocean Blvd. (843) 242-8570 codadelpesce.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

With Coda del Pesce, chef/owner Ken Vedrinski of longtime downtown mainstay Trattoria Lucca headed out to Isle of Palms to create a beachside Italian seafood restaurant. The beautiful second-story dining room has brick walls, reclaimed wood floors and, in a rarity for the Lowcountry, floor-to-ceiling windows offering a lovely view of the Atlantic. It’s an ideal setting for Vedrinski’s signature high-end Italian fare, which offers plenty of bright flavors and unexpected twists. Masterful pasta anchors the primi selection, which includes tagliatelle tossed with blue crab, Colatura di Alici, lemon and basil. The secondi high-

light fresh fish like black bass and naturally raised veal “marsala.” Pair any of these with an Italian wine from the impressive list, and you’ll have one splendid fish tale to share with friends. —Robert F. Moss

Delaney Oyster House

Dave’s Carry-Out

The Neighborhood Dining Group — owners of Husk — have converted an old single house on Calhoun Street into a stunner of a seafood restaurant. The raw bar offerings range from local oysters and clams to Kaluga caviar, and executive chef Shamil Velazquez’s inventive small plates are stylish and intensely flavored. Menus have featured rich kombupoached lobster tossed with orbs of tangy Asian pear, ground peanuts and green Thai basil leaves, while a deconstructed chowder delivers tender clams, mussels, shrimp and a flawless peach-hued scallop within a pool of creamy, savory broth. Each dish is finished with precise visual style that befits the picture-perfect setting. —Robert F. Moss

SOUL FOOD/SEAFOOD

Inexpensive Downtown. 42-C Morris St. (843) 577-7943 Serving Lunch, Dinner (Tues.-Sat.)

This soul food joint offers a true taste of Charleston. For under $10 you can get a takeout box filled to the brim with the best of Lowcountry cooking like pork chops, crispy chicken wings and finger-lickin’ ribs. The selection of sides is small but tasty — try the lima beans, thick steak fries or red beans and rice. The lunch specials change daily, but your best bet is to go with a seafood platter — they range from $7 for a generous portion of shrimp to $13 for shrimp, fish, scallops and devil crab. If you want a true local experience, opt for the lima beans and rice. A few tables allow customers to dine in, but most folks get their Dave’s to-go, whether for lunch or a greasy latenight snack. —Melissa Tunstall

SEAFOOD

Moderate Downtown. 115 Calhoun St. (843) 594-0099. delaneyoysterhouse.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily)

Edmund’s Oast MODERN AMERICAN

Expensive Downtown. 1081 Morrison Drive. (843) 727-1145 edmundsoast.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.), Sun. Brunch

This hip gastropub has a laid-back vibe. There are communal tables and an expansive

outdoor patio. Chef Bob Cook’s menu highlights include the house-made charcuterie and cheese plates, plus upscale bar food like fried tripe, hanger steak or crispy chicken with green curry sauce. The drink menu is every bit as compelling, rife with small batch cocktails, meads and a host of inventive beers brewed on-site. —Vanessa Wolf

Estadio TAPAS

Moderate Downtown. 122 Spring St estadio-chs.com Serving Dinner (daily)

Estadio, which opened on Spring Street in October 2019, is technically the second outpost of a successful Washington, D.C., Spanish-style bar and tapas restaurant. The decor and the deep sherry and gin selection echo the D.C. original, but executive chef Alex Lira’s impressive menu is unique to Charleston. The pintxos and tapas — grilled shrimp on skewers, crisp patatas bravas, tunatopped “seven minute” eggs — offer beguiling little bites. Fresh local shellfish and savory sofrito- and saffron-laced rice — especially the crispy bits charred to the edges of the flat metal cooking pan — transform the seafood paella into an unforgettable treat. With a slate of sherry cocktails, “gin tonics” made with rare

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Our go-to restaurant list

EVO PIZZA

Inexpensive North Charleston. 1075 E. Montague Ave. (843) 225-1796 evopizza.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily)

Ruta Smith

Estadio's paella arrives as a broad pan filled with tender rice topped with shrimp, squid and clams in the shell and crisscrossed with yellow aioli Spanish brands and porróns of wine, Estadio brings a brilliant taste of Spain to the heart of downtown Charleston. —Robert F. Moss

At EVO, the use of fresh, local ingredients is key, and they’ve been keeping it local from the very beginning, back when they were a mobile wood-fired oven serving pizza at the farmers market in Marion Square. Large chalkboards decorate the walls, listing local ingredients from various farms, along with daily specials, ranging from housemade sausages to duck crostini. But we’re partial to the pizza. The crust is thin and slightly charred, and the mozzarella is made fresh and pulled in-house twice a day. The pistachio pesto pie was named one of the best pizzas in the country by Food Network Magazine, and the sinful Pork Trifecta keeps customers coming back. —Kinsey Gidick

Fat Hen FRENCH

Moderate Johns Island. 3140 Maybank Hwy. (843) 559-9090 thefathen.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.), Sun. Brunch

Folks in the know pack this adorable cottage

on Johns Island nightly for sumptuous dinners. The hyper-local menu includes favorites like fried green tomatoes with pimento goat cheese; the shrimp and crab with spicy hoppin’ John; coq au vin half-chicken; and the braised short rib with veal broth, red wine, mashed potatoes and spinach. End with a pluff mud pie, passion fruit creme brulee, or local seasonal ice cream. —Allston McCrady

Felix FRENCH

Moderate Downtown. 550 King St. (843) 203-6297 felixchs.com Serving Lunch (Mon.-Fri.), Dinner (daily), Weekend Brunch

Front and center on its swanky website — well, right below the martini-quaffing frog GIF — Félix Cocktails et Cuisine declares its intent to serve “creative cocktails and small plates, all with the flare of today’s Paris.” Félix has nailed its stylish intent with respect to a hip, European vibe. The food is polished. The decor is suitably chill, while effortlessly chic and accompanied by jazzy music playing softly overhead. Félix’s food is predominantly small portions with an emphasis on familiar French classics like croque monsieur and steak frites. Overall,

Félix itself is resolutely thoughtful and perfectly executed. Whether you’re looking to sample the broad array of custom cocktails, share some small plates or simply enjoy a conversation in an environment in which you can actually hear yourself talk, it’s a welcome addition to the Upper King scene. —Vanessa Wolf

Fiery Ron’s Home Team BBQ BARBECUE

Inexpensive West Ashley. 1205 Ashley River Road. (843) 225-7427 Downtown. 126 Williman St. (843) 225-7427 Sullivan’s Island. 2209 Middle St. (843) 225-7427 hometeambbq.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily), Weekend Brunch

With three Charleston locations plus one up in Columbia and another way out in Aspen, Colorado, pitmasters/chefs Aaron Siegel and Taylor Garrigan have built an acclaimed barbecue empire. Whether you’re at the West Ashley original or at the newer outposts on Sullivan’s Island or downtown, the barbecue offering is anchored by pulled pork, smoked chicken, ribs and a superb salt-and-pepper brisket, all cooked over wood on offset metal pits. Siegel’s and Garrigan’s fine-dining continued on page 30

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ADDITIONAL SERVICES


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Top 50 Top 50 from page 29

LOCAL ORGANIC BABY FOOD • TOT BOXES • SCHOOL LUNCHES

roots show in an array of creative snacks and tacos, like chopped brisket sliders on brioche buns and smoked shrimp tacos with white bean puree. There’s always a cheffy special or two, like pulled pork empanadas or a pitsmoked pork chop with purple cabbage and apple, and don’t miss out on Home Team’s smoked chicken wings with tangy white Alabama-style sauce. —Robert F. Moss

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Very Expensive Downtown. 232 Meeting St. (843) 805-5900 eatatfig.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

In 2003, Chef Mike Lata set out to prove that "food is good." After blazing a trail for the robust local farm-to-table restaurant scene, FIG still stands out, winning awards and creating devotees year after year. Although snagging a reservation can be a challenge, the seasonally inspired cuisine and impeccable service are worth the effort. Change is a constant, but stalwart menu standbys like the fish stew provencal and pillowy ricotta gnocchi alla bolognese never fail to satisfy. Be sure to check out the wine offerings, as — along with two nods for Best

Chef Southeast — FIG is also a national James Beard award-winner for Outstanding Wine Program. —Vanessa Wolf

The Glass Onion NEW SOUTHERN

Moderate West Ashley. 1219 Savannah Hwy. (843) 225-1717 ilovetheglassonion.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Sat.), Sat. Brunch

Since 2008, the Glass Onion has exemplified the “neighborhood favorite” category — a restaurant less formal and ambitious than a fine dining spot but still delivering seriously delicious meals. The offering blends the home cooking of chef/owner Chris Stewart’s native Alabama with dishes and styles he absorbed while working in fine dining kitchens, first in New Orleans and then in Charleston. That means hearty, savory gumbo brimming with okra and sausage, Cajun boudin balls with Creole mustard and crisp okra beignets served with spicy red remoulade. A few more adventurous entrees, like a beguilingly dark rabbit ragout with ricotta gnocchi, pop up with regularity alongside hearty Southern classics like shrimp and grits and fried catfish with red rice. It’s a surefire formula for a satisfying meal. —Robert F. Moss


Our go-to restaurant list

The Grocery MODERN AMERICAN

Expensive Downtown. 4 Cannon St. (843) 302-8825 thegrocerycharleston.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sun.), Sun. Brunch

Occupying a space that is at once industrial and inviting, chef/owner Kevin Johnson’s menus are seasonally inspired and passionately local. Utilizing a mix of fresh farmed, fished and foraged ingredients, The Grocery exemplifies farm-to-table dining. The Southern/ Mediterranean offerings have included such highlights as fried oysters with deviled egg sauce and bread and butter pickles. Year-round standbys include the generous portions of Lowcountry seafood pilau and the changing varieties of roasted whole fish, cooked in the restaurant’s massive wood-burning oven. Along with a celebrated Sunday brunch, The Grocery’s innovative cocktail program features standouts like the dirty green tomato, a martini made with pickled green tomato juice. —Vanessa Wolf

Husk Restaurant NEW SOUTHERN

Expensive Downtown. 76 Queen St. (843) 577-2500 huskrestaurant.com Serving Lunch (Mon.-Sat.), Dinner (daily), Sun. Brunch

Husk has outposts in Nashville, Greenville and Savannah, but this location — housed in a white mansion on Queen Street — is the original. Here, executive chef Travis Grimes carries out the vision of innovative, modern farm-to-table perfection. The kitchen creates such must-try marvels like Southern fried chicken skins, ‘Kentuckyaki’ pigs ear lettuce wraps, or the hulking Carolina heritage pork chop, while dessert offerings include such innovations as the savory-sweet cornbread pudding. There’s a welcoming, rustic atmosphere indoors, but if weather permits, sit out on the upstairs porch and enjoy what is, without hesitation, Southern food at its best. —Vanessa Wolf

Jackrabbit Filly

FLEET L ANDING R ESTAU RA N T A N D BA R

VOTED BEST WATERFRONT DINING

CHINESE

Moderate North Charleston. 4628 Spruill Ave. (843) 460-0037 jackrabbitfilly.com Serving Lunch (Wed.-Sat.), Dinner (Wed.-Sun.)

The menu at Jackrabbit Filly — Shuai and Corrie Wang’s brick-and-mortar jump from their popular Short Grain food truck — takes quintessential Asian fare and adds some vamp. Short Grain’s beloved karaage continued on page 32

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endures — the meat is juicy, the coating crunchy, and the drizzle of lemon mayo and ponzu, along with some togarashi-induced heat, should be presented with the following disclaimer: “The karaage is a small structure made of chicken. It is delicious, and you are not ready for it.” While no World Famous Jackrabbit Filly twist contest exists (yet), a similar, multi-tiered, two-foot tall trophy sounds about right. Grab some friends, share the love and share it hard. —Vanessa Wolf

Kwei Fei CHINESE

Thanks Charleston for Making Us Your

FAVORITE

Moderate James Island. 1977 Maybank Hwy. kweifei.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sat.), Sun. Brunch

Set next door to Charleston Pour House, Kwei Fei's menu offers an array of appetizers, entrees and veggie-based sides sorted into blocks labeled “Loud,” “Hot” and “Vibes.” The crescent dumplings are an outstanding way to give your tastebuds a crash course in the events to come. Made with ground pork and redolent Sichuan pepper, the five plump dumplings are served in a soy-based, vinegary sauce and topped with fresh cilantro and chives. On the “vibes” side

for the Past

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WHERE SUPPORTING LOCAL FISHERIES IS TOP PRIORITY 2223 FOLLY ROAD 843-795-4049

of things, vegetarians are well-taken care of with the dry-fried green beans. Here, some rice makes sense and adds bulk to the delicate haricots verts, which are coated with an intense, chunky garlic and ginger combo with a little spicy kick. —Vanessa Wolf

Le Farfalle ITALIAN

Expensive Downtown. 15 Beaufain St. (843) 212-0920 lefarfallecharleston.com Serving Lunch (Mon.-Sat.), Dinner (daily), Sun. Brunch

Led by celebrated chef Michael Toscano, Le Farfalle is certain to delight. The bright, upscale space is generously laid out with an elegant bar suitable for a quick lunch of agnolotti pasta or a relaxed after-dinner conversation over craft cocktails. Dinner service starts with a slice from the restaurant’s ginormous wedge of ParmigianoReggiano cheese, but matters are then in your own hands. Seasonal appetizer stand outs have included a veal tartare toast served with shoestring fries and a sublime octopus carpaccio. You can’t go wrong with the housemade pastas, and other memorable dinner selections have included a vibrant continued on page 34

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34 || DISH || Spring 2021

Top 50 Top 50 from page 32

whole branzino with pine nuts and a tender fried chicken picatta. —Vanessa Wolf

Leon’s Fine Poultry & Oysters SEAFOOD

n a h t more great just gers bur

Moderate Downtown. 698 King St. (843) 531-6500 leonsoystershop.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily)

The chargrilled oysters at Leon’s embody the restaurant’s approach to food: unfussy and delicious. The fish fry platter is a jumble of oysters, shrimp and fish battered and delicately fried and served with a tartar sauce so good we sometimes just dip a fork in it in between bites. If we know anything about restaurateurs Brooks Reitz and Tim Mink, it’s that they know how to design a restaurant that both looks and feels good. This is the kind of place that gets in your regular rotation because it’s comfortable, delicious and reliable. —Stephanie Barna

Lewis Barbecue

Ruta Smith Neon Tiger's pizzas are made using non-GMO flour and topped with an assortment of vegetables and plantbased proteins

BARBECUE

Moderate Downtown. 464 N. Nassau St. (843) 805-9500 lewisbarbecue.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily)

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Lewis’ building houses four custom built smokers and a sausage smoker that can cook 1,600 links at a time, all hand built by Lewis and his father. Once inside, you’ll queue up to have meat hand-sliced by one of two meat-cutters stationed behind a long counter directing you to opposite ends. Lewis’ “life changing” beef brisket is definitely the star. But, there’s also juicy smoked turkey, pulled pork, pork ribs and Texas sausage called “hot guts." After your tray is filled with your order of meats, choose your sides from mustardy potato salad, lemon slaw, cowboy beans and rich green chile corn pudding. —Robert Donovan

Maison FRENCH

Expensive Downtown. 708 King St.(843) 990-9165 maisoncharleston.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

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Maison shares a low, unassuming King Street building with a climbing gym, but step inside and you’ll find an immaculate invocation of a stylish French bistro. There’s a pewtertopped bar, hexagonal white and black floor tiles and Parisian-style bistro chairs with white and black woven backs. The menu options — escargots, steak frites au poivre, coq au vin — seem to hew to traditional bistro standards at first, but chef Vandy Vanderwarker gives each a creative, flavorful spin. The sultry coq au vin is a deconstructed delight, with long-marinated chicken that’s braised, shredded and blended with roasted

ramps into an intensely flavored patty. With deep, intense flavors and a playful sensibility, Maison’s daring interpretations of traditional French plates are a welcome addition to the Charleston scene. —Robert F. Moss

Malagon TAPAS

Moderate Downtown. 33 Spring St. (843) 926-0475 Serving Lunch, Dinner (Tues.-Sun.)

Even experienced tapas lovers may find themselves a bit wide-eyed at Malagon — the eight-page menu isn’t fooling around. Rather, it gets right down to some sweet tapas tenderness, starting with familiar snacks like marcona almonds and dates wrapped in ham. The mojama (cured tuna belly) is a classic treat. Firm and salty, it’s often referred to as the jamón of the sea. Accompanied by roughly a dozen baby potatoes, tender chunks of octopus have a silky texture similar to that of a rare scallop. The mild flavors of the two soft ingredients are dominated by the sprinkling of smoked paprika on top. Despite being ‘small plates,' your meal can be surprisingly filling and notably affordable. Malagon is not only doing something different, they’re doing it extremely well. —Vanessa Wolf

Melfi’s ITALIAN

Expensive Downtown. 721 King St. (843) 513-0307 eatatmelfis.com Serving Dinner (daily)

Named for the family who once ran a pharmacy in the same space, Melfi’s menu offers updated takes on Italian staples. The polished, old-school dining room is warm and buzzy,


for OPEN ERVICE S FULLG and N I N I D UT TAKEO

Our go-to restaurant list

providing a welcome backdrop to get your carbs on. Slip into a leather booth and proceed to feast on house-made linguine tossed with pancetta or littleneck clams, or “Romanish” pizza, like the Mr. Wally, made with vodka sauce, Fresno peppers, sliced salami and meaty hen-of-the-woods mushrooms. Negroni aficionados will appreciate the choice of seven innovative variations. —Vanessa Wolf

that high quality takeout is something that can’t be taken for granted. Nana’s Uptown delivers every time, offering the North Charleston community an affordable option serving authentic eats. —Parker Milner

Nana’s Uptown

One of a handful of all-vegan establishments in Charleston, Neon Tiger doesn’t shy away from getting creative with its upscale offerings. The crispy konjac "shrimp" and trumpet mushroom "calamari" are two standout appetizer options. For a more classic veggieforward meal, look to main dishes like lentil ragout and the veggie bowl. But, if you want to venture out and see just what the chefs at Neon Tiger can do with an all plant-based menu, opt for the reuben sandwich with seitan smoked meat or the “Big Buffalo Chicken” sandwich that captures everything you love about a chicken sandwich — sans meat. And while you’re at it, order a pizza for the table to split like the barbecue jackfruit or formaggio and champignon. —Samantha Connors

SOUL FOOD

Inexpensive North Charleston. 5117 Dorchester Road. (843) 937-9311 Serving Lunch and Dinner (Tues.-Sat.)

Downtown’s Nana’s Seafood & Soul closed in 2020 after nearly two decades on Line Street, but fans of the family owned and operated restaurant can still find its affordable Lowcountry fare at Nana’s Uptown, located in North Charleston at 5117 Dorchester Road. Mother-and-son duo Carolyn and Kenyatta McNeil’s takeout- and delivery-only outpost specializes in seafood, with options like flounder, whiting, shrimp, scallops and more. But that’s not all you’ll find at Nana’s. The chicken wings are a must, as are daily specials like crab legs with garlic shrimp. If we’ve learned anything over the past year, it’s

Neon Tiger VEGAN

Moderate Downtown. 654 King St. (843) 640-3902 Serving Dinner (Daily)

continued on page 36

soulful

food

Mon-Thu11am-8pm • Fri & Sat 11am-9pm 1219 Savannah Hwy • ILoveTheGlassOnion.com

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36 || DISH || Spring 2021

CELEBRATING 10 YEARS IN CHARLESTON! VOTED BEST BUFFET 9 YEARS AND RUNNING! BUFFET INCL UDES • • • •

Chopped Pork Fried Chicken Hash & Rice Mac ‘n Cheese

• • • •

Fried Okra Corn Fritters Hush Puppies Collards

• Slaw • Butter Beans • Banana Pudding and much more !

DAILY SPECIALS Tuesdays Pork Chops

Wednesdays Thursdays Fridays Meatloaf Livers & Gizzards Fried Flounder

CATERING • DRIVE THRU TUES-SUN OPEN AT 11AM FOR LUNCH & DINNER

UBER EATS • TAKE-OUT

843.789.4801

DukesBarbecue

331 FOLLY RD JAMES ISLAND NEAR THE JI CONNECTOR

Top 50 Top 50 from page 35

NICO FRENCH

Expensive Mount Pleasant. 201 Coleman Blvd. (843) 352-7969 Serving Dinner (daily) and Weekend Brunch

NICO was the fine dining establishment Shem Creek had been waiting for when it opened in 2018. You wouldn’t know it based on the buzzing atmosphere and trendy decor, but NICO is located in a former Pizza Hut, adding to the restaurant’s allure. Executive chef Nico Romo’s menu has hints of flash with beautifully arranged raw bar platters and dishes like whole roasted lobster. Each plate that comes out of the open kitchen is a display of classic French techniques using South Carolina ingredients. Eating at NICO feels comfortable and thrilling at the same time, meaning guests are always wanting to come back for more. If you’re looking for ambiance, show-stopping dishes and plenty of fresh oysters, NICO is your spot.—Parker Milner

Oak Steakhouse STEAKHOUSE

Expensive Downtown. 17 Broad St. (843) 722-4220

oaksteakhouserestaurant.com Serving Dinner (daily)

Located in a restored 150-year-old bank building, Oak is a long-running favorite for a big Charleston night out. Hefty prime ribeyes and strips are the main attractions, with luxurious family-style accompaniments like creamy whipped potatoes and lobster mac and cheese. Within the traditional steakhouse format, there is always a twist or two, like a daily local seafood special or beef belly with sorghum barbecue sauce. The deep wine list focuses on California reds, and the service is reliably top-notch, regardless of whether you eat downstairs in the bar area, with its exposed brick walls and clubby red leather booths, or at the white cloth-draped tables in the second story dining room, its high windows looking out over Broad Street. —Robert F. Moss

The Obstinate Daughter SEAFOOD/SOUTHERN

Moderate Sullivan’s Island. 2063 Middle St. (843) 416-5020 theobstinatedaughter.com Serving Lunch (Mon.-Fri.), Dinner (daily), Weekend Brunch

At The Obstinate Daughter, executive chef Jacques Larson’s big, open kitchen has a plancha and a wood-fired oven, and he uses it to

HUGE OUTDOO RP W/ FIRE PIT ATIO

CRAFT COCKTAILS • BARREL-AGED HOUSE SPECIALS • OVER 175 WHISKEYS GREAT SELECTION OF DRAFT AND CANNED BEER • LOCAL ARTISANAL BEVERAGES

G AMAZIN

FOOD!

SUNDAY BRUNCH 10AM-2PM • HAPPY HOUR 4-6PM • LIVE MUSIC WEEKLY 3157 MAYBANK HWY • JOHNS ISLAND • 843.737.4221 CALL OR E IN L SEANACHAIWHISKEYANDCOCKTAILBAR.COM • ORDER ON ! P -U K IC P R O F VETERAN OWNED AND OPERATED BUSINESS


Our go-to restaurant list

create a beguiling array of pizzas, pastas and small plates. The pizzas bear tempting toppings, like clams and roasted fennel or pork meatballs and red peppers. The dishes on the rotating “plates” menu range in size from “Marsh Hen frites” (long strips of fried polenta) to a crispy duck with carrot farrotto, cipollini and chermoula. OD boasts a cheery, casual environment for enjoying Larson’s impressive parade of delicate but flavorful dishes. And that makes it one of the best upscale dining destinations not just out on the beaches, but anywhere in town. —Robert F. Moss

The Ordinary SEAFOOD

Expensive Downtown. 544 King St. (843) 414-7060 eattheordinary.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sun.)

In December 2012, a historic King Street bank building found new life as an upscale oyster hall. The Ordinary — second child of Adam Nemirow and chef Mike Lata — opened with soaring 22-foot ceilings, the promise of locally sourced seafood and lots of buzz. The Ordinary was the first of its kind, and I would argue, still the best. Along with six daily varieties of raw oysters on the half shell, the house-smoked oysters are not to be missed. Presented in an oil and vinegar-filled

preserve jar and spiked with slices of crisp pickled celery, the six oysters are so gently smoked that they are still raw. As a result, each is tender and juicy, the delicate hint of ocean flavor touched with woodsy smoke. Served with fancied-up saltines (brushed with butter and Old Bay), rich, cold creme fraiche and vibrant hot sauce, the combination is outstanding: cool, crisp and smoky all at once. —Vanessa Wolf

Join us for a 5-course Chef’s Table dinner experience you won’t forget.

Peninsula Grill NEW SOUTHERN

Very Expensive Downtown. 112 N. Market St. (843) 723-0700 peninsulagrill.com Serving Dinner (daily)

There are milestones in life that require a fancy steak. Or at least the kind of place where one can get a fancy steak. If you’re in the midst of such an occasion, Peninsula Grill has got you covered. Even after more than two decades, Peninsula Grill continues to impress with its luxurious fare. Take, for instance, the seared foie gras. The dish is deserving of a modeling contract, with the perfectly cooked slice of delicate liver resting atop artful smears of cinnamon-infused strawberry coulis and aged balsamic reduc

Lunch: Wednesday-Friday 11-3 p.m. • Brunch: Sunday 10-3 p.m. For dinner reservations, visit us at @RaulsMayaDelSol 1816 Reynolds Ave. Suite B • North Charleston • 843-225-2390

continued on page 38

! d a e r B n i t a e r G e r ’ We

Executive Chef Alec Gropman F RIDAY – SUNDAY • 8AM –2PM 587 KING ST REET • CHA RL EST O N, SC • 843.793.1837

B O D EG AC H S . C O M

charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 37

KILLER SANDWICHES SOON TO BE FAMOUS ESPRESSO MARTINI HAPPY HOUR LIVE MUSIC • OUTDOOR SEATING


38 || DISH || Spring 2021

TBONZ

G I L L

&

Top 50 AM OPEN DAILY AT 11 SPECIALS INK DR & HAPPY HOUR FOOD E PROUDLY SERV BEEF® CERTIFIED ANGUS ERS RG BU STEAKS &

G R I L L

Top 50 from page 37

MODERN AMERICAN

tion. Backed by a vibrant fence of fresh strawberry slices and a crisp arugula salad, this is about as good as foie gras gets. —Vanessa Wolf

Pink Cactus MEXICAN

Moderate Downtown. 100 A Spring St. (843) 764-9343 pinkcactuschs.com Serving Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

WEST ASHLEY

DOWNTOWN CHARLESTON

1668 OLD TOWNE ROAD WEST ASHLEY, SC 29407 843-556-2478

80 NORTH MARKET STREET CHARLESTON, SC 29401 843-577-2511

tbonzgillandgrill.com

Pink Cactus is dishing authentic Oaxacan cuisine on Spring Street, where owner Brooke Warden serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Warden combines approachable hits like tacos, queso and enchiladas with more experimental plates like her carnitas-stuffed chile relleno or birria taco platter. Wash it all down with Pink Cactus’ signature pink margarita, which is garnished with black sea salt. Boasting one of the best happy hours in Charleston — highlighted by $5 margaritas, $3 Tecates and $5 tacos and queso fundido — Pink Cactus is a favorite among tourists and locals alike. Don’t miss out on breakfast, served Monday-Saturday from 9-11 a.m., when Warden churns out hearty tortas, breakfast tacos, chilaquiles and more. —Parker Milner

POPSICLES ! S P U N W for GRO EVENTS & DELIVERY 843-200-8422 BoozePop.com

Post House Restaurant Expensive Mount Pleasant. 101 Pitt St. (843) 203-7678 theposthouseinn.com Serving Dinner (daily); Weekend Brunch

Post House Restaurant opened in Mount Pleasant in August 2020 after undergoing significant renovations led by Kate and Ben Towill of design and hospitality firm Basic Projects. Post House is a reincarnation of The Old Village Post House, which closed in February 2019 after 16 years at 101 Pitt St. The Towills completely redesigned the circa-1896 space, which is adorned with antiques, vintage rugs, local art, archival wallpaper and handcrafted fixtures. You’ll find seasonal snacks, raw bar options, fresh pastas, local seafood and an assortment of vegetarian dishes at Post House. Local seafood massaman curry, Carolina heritage farm pork with creamy kimchi collard greens and a “backbar” cheeseburger are some of the main dishes that pair with starters like blue crab toast or Anson Mills cornbread. Post House also features an expansive wine list with bottles from around the world, and those looking for a staycation can grab a room in the quaint inn connected to the restaurant. —Parker Milner


Our go-to restaurant list

Renzo PIZZA

Moderate Downtown. 384 Huger St. (843) 952-7864 renzochs.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sat.), Sun. Brunch

This former storefront-turned-hip neighborhood trattoria has a wood-fired oven and knows how to use it. Along with tempting starters like warm homemade sourdough bread or charred cauliflower florets with savory mushoom XO sauce, the menu features a trio of pastas, plus an array of creative Neapolitan-style pizzas. Feeling adventurous? The Cheli offers a tomato base with lamb sausage, tangy pickled peppers, honey and za’atar. Renzo also offers one of the area’s largest selections of natural wine. —Vanessa Wolf

Rodney Scott’s BBQ BARBECUE

Inexpensive Downtown. 1011 King St. (843) 990-9535 rodneyscottsbbq.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily)

Rodney Scott made waves in 2017 when, after two decades of cooking hogs at his family’s acclaimed operation in Hemingway, he brought his traditional burn barrel style of barbecue down to Charleston. That splendid whole hog — basted in a pepper-

laced sauce and pulled into long, succulent strands — remains the foundation of Scott’s offering on King Street, but he’s added a few new options for the city crowd, like meaty spareribs, crisp fried catfish and craft beer on tap. The flawless collards and the ribeye sandwiches, made from pit-smoked steak sliced thin and piled high on soft rolls, are must-try sleepers. —Robert F. Moss

Royal Tern EXPENSIVE

Seafood Johns Island. 3005 Maybank Hwy. (843) 718-3434 theroyaltern.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

Set on Johns Island between Wild Olive and The Fat Hen, The Royal Tern is a welcome and well-positioned addition to that existing pair of successful Maybank Highway restaurants. With a focus on fish, the menu offers an aquarium-full of options. Along with a raw bar, there are fried “and chips” platters, elegant small plates and four variations of cooked oysters. Add to that a handful of sandwiches, a half-dozen seafood entrees and a hat trick of wood-fired steaks. The building is also glorious. Outside, it’s effortlessly stylish and would continued on page 40

charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 39


look just as appropriate nestled amongst a row of upscale beachfront estates. Inside, the chic, airy space boasts wood floors and high ceilings adorned with dramatic lights that resemble giant clusters of white grapes. One of the best-looking joints in the area, The Royal Tern offers a hip place to scratch a variety of seafood itches on Johns Island. —Vanessa Wolf

Chef Park will bring out a seemingly endless assortment of sashimi and nigiri bites, allowing guests to try a little bit of everything. For less devout sushi enthusiasts, there are approachable options like tempura shrimp and avocado rolls, teriyaki beef, pork katsu and more. Shiki’s menu hasn’t changed much over the years, but why would it, as the restaurant helps fill a void in a city that has very few sushi-focused restaurants. —Parker Milner

Shiki

Slightly North of Broad

Top 50 from page 39

SEAFOOD

Moderate Downtown. 334 E Bay St. (843) 720-8568 shikicharleston.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

West Ashley | 81 7 Savannah Hwy. | 843-225-GENE | Genes.Beer

One of downtown’s longest standing restaurants, Shiki delivers fresh sushi rolls, nigiri and more in a cozy, newly renovated dining room, which is set to reopen this summer. Owner Hae Gon “David” Park opened Shiki at 334 E. Bay St. in 2001 after moving to Charleston from New York City. The chef prides himself on sourcing the highest-quality fish and his technique when making rolls, sashimi and nigiri is second to none. Patrons who want to go big can order the chef ’s choice “omakase,” which translates to, “I’ll leave it up to you,” in Japanese.

NEW SOUTHERN

Expensive Downtown. 192 East Bay St. (843) 723-3424 snobcharleston.com Serving Lunch (Mon.-Fri.), Dinner (daily), Weekend Brunch

Slightly North of Broad (SNOB) is the perfect place to take visiting friends for their first taste of Charleston cuisine, for it embodies so much of what makes the city’s dining scene special. Since taking the reins in 2016, executive chef Russ Moore has deftly balanced the restaurant’s traditional dishes with more forward-looking fare. Pristinely fresh seafood gets an elegant Southern touch on plates like New Bedford scallops with tomato ham hock continued on page 42

Visit Us in Avondale!

OUR

LUNCH • DINNER • COCKTAILS • BRUNCH

HAPPY HOUR MON-FRI 4-7PM • DRAG QUEEN BINGO (2ND SUNDAY EVERY MONTH) 7 Days a Week 11:30am-11pm • 15 Magnolia Road, West Ashley • CarolinesAlohaBar.com

O VE D CAR O BEL

E LIN

40 || DISH || Spring 2021

Top 50


ONE OF A KIND

Since 1999, Vickery’s has been a hot spot for visitors and locals alike. Dine on our wide-open patio and enjoy big enough to share appetizers, specialty salads and sandwiches, juicy burgers, fresh seafood, and savory pastas.

TWO OF THE BEST

Take in the BEST VIEWS of both Shem Creek and the Charleston Harbor. THE SUNSETS ARE AMAZING!

MODERN TRADITIONAL OAXACAN CUISINE

INGREDIENTS AND TECHNIQUES

THREE TIMES THE FUN

MONDAY-SATURDAY 9AM-9:30 PM • BREAKFAST 9AM-11 AM • ALL DAY MENU 11AM-9:30 PM TEQUILA & TACO HOUR MONDAY – SATURDAY 3-6 PM 100-A SPRING ST • 843-764-9343 • PINKCACTUSCHS.COM

We have 3 BARS for you to enjoy!

Inside at the bar. The Shark Fin outside deck, and our OUTDOOR DOCK BAR, MUDDY’S.

Stay tuned for our Summer Series schedule featuring Drink Specials & LIVE MUSIC.

NEW HOURS Lunch & Dinner every day | Kitchen open til 10pm Bars open til 12am Sunday -Thursday Friday & Saturday 1am

charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 41

Mt. P. – Shem Creek – 1313 Shrimp Boat Lane (843) 844-4440 VickerysMtP.com


42 || DISH || Spring 2021

Top 50 Top 50 from page 40

Stella’s GREEK

broth or seared tuna topped with crisp fried oysters and tart yellow “mustard Q” sauce. SNOB was a local charcuterie pioneer and a platter of hearty country pate, savory pork rillettes and lush chicken liver mousse is the perfect evening starter. —Robert F. Moss

Sorghum & Salt MODERN AMERICAN

Expensive Downtown. 186 Coming St. (843) 872-6393 sorghumandsalt.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sun,)

Situated in the space that once held the beloved Two Boroughs Larder, chef Tres Jackson’s Sorghum & Salt has more than enough chops to fill those shoes. Tenaciously fresh and unapologetically creative, Jackson’s cuisine offers a mix of familiar and foreign in ways that are fresh and unexpected. The menu is as continually in flux as the ever-shifting Lowcountry weather, but don’t miss a chance to try the superlative salt-roasted beets or sweet, yet savory Ambrose Farms radishes. An obvious labor of love, anticipate thoughtful, provocative food prepared and served by people who are clearly proud of it. —Vanessa Wolf

Moderate Downtown. 114 St. Philip St. (843) 400-0026 stellascharleston.com Serving Lunch (Mon.-Fri.), Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

It’s hard to say what’s most striking about Stella’s on St. Philip Street. Is it the hip, yet boisterous vibe? The large portions at an incredibly reasonable price point? Or is it the vast, authentic and consistently delicious menu? Regardless of your ultimate conclusion, this is a trifecta worth a visit … or five. The grilled octopus and spanikopita are simple perfection, while the saganaki is a visual showstopper and an excuse to pig out on cheese. Stella’s own recipes — namely her calamari and braised lamb shank with No. 5 noodles and brown butter shank sauce, are at once comforting and elevated, testimony to the woman who inspired it all. —Vanessa Wolf

Wild Olive ITALIAN

Moderate Johns Island. 2867 Maybank Hwy. (843) 737-4177 wildoliverestaurant.com Serving Dinner (daily)

Right off Maybank Highway sits Wild

Olive, chef Jacques Larson’s haven for exquisite Italian fare. Since 2009, it has served as the go-to place for anniversary dinners and reunions with old friends. A comfortable bar greets those looking for a casual bite, but don’t let that relaxed atmosphere deceive you. Larson’s food is anything but. Incredible (and decadent) risotto fritters stuffed with sausage, spinach, Parmesan and mozzarella are a great way to start. And always ask about the specials, of which there are plenty. Larson is a firm believer in local and his conviction permeates everything on the plate. —Kinsey Gidick

Xiao Bao Biscuit ASIAN FUSION

Moderate Downtown. 224 Rutledge Ave. xiaobaobiscuit.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

What started as a pop-up with a devout following eventually found a dedicated shrine much to the delight of all who crave a wide swath of Asian flavors (Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Taiwanese) interpreted with fresh Lowcountry ingredients. The dishes are not for the meek or unadventurous; each packs escalating levels of heat. On the gentler scale is the popular okonomiyaki, a Japanese

cabbage pancake criss-crossed with drizzles of sriracha and Japanese mayo, then topped with a runny-yolk egg. On the spicy end of the scale is the mapo dofu, whose cubes of tofu incinerate your taste buds with swirls of chili oil, leaving heat seekers crying through tears of gratitude as they lick their plates clean. Cool your palate with a coconut milk or a (nonalcoholic) lemongrass ginger beer. —Allston McCrady

Zero Restaurant + Bar MODERN AMERICAN

Very Expensive Downtown. 0 George St. (843) 817-7900 zerogeorge.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sun.)

On the grounds of the elegant Zero George Street Boutique Hotel, Zero Restaurant + Bar’s romantic dining room is set in a former carriage house built in 1804. Here, chef Vinson Petrillo whips up innovative tasting menus with the option of four or seven courses, plus optional wine pairings. Selections vary with the seasons, but anticipate such treats as lightly grilled mackerel served with foie gras and local citrus, or venison prepared with vadouvan curry and taleggio cheese. —Vanessa Wolf

FULL BAR HCB KITCHEN

OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK

TAKEOUT BRUNCH

DAILY 12 - 7PM SUN 11AM - 3PM VOTED CHARLESTON’S BEST LOCAL BREWERY 2020

11AM-10PM • 1021 ARAGON AVE, NORTH CHARLESTON • 843.459.2948 • HOLYCITYBREWING.COM


Enjoy a wood fired pizza, our crowd-favorite Roasted Brussels Sprouts, and a craft cocktail. Happy hour M-F, 4-7PM and our rooftop open weekends!

DINE-IN • TAKEOUT

North Charleston 2400 Gap Rd. (Near Tanger Outlet) | 843-566-7777

DINE-IN • TAKEOUT • DELIVERY Mt. Pleasant 1440 Ben Sawyer Blvd | 843-856-2525 North Charleston 8600 Dorchester Rd. | 843-225-6111 Carnes Crossroads 2511 North Main St. | 843-867-6100

charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 43

Delicious, Pittsburgh-style pizza, homemade pasta, authentic cheesesteaks, fresh salads, and of course, our signature sandwich, the Weggie!


44 || DISH || Spring 2021

CHARLESTON’S TAKEOUT

FAVORITES GREAT LOCAL GRAB & GO OPTIONS

FIERY CRAB Seafood House Platter and Out All Day Shrimp Special 4951 Centre Point Drive, North Charleston 843-818-4679 FieryCrabSC.com

A SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

BAGUETTE MAGIC Baguettes, Cruffins, Croissants, Recovery Baguette, B.E.C. Sandwich, French Club, Lattes, Frose & Mimosas 792 Folly Road, Charleston 843-471-5941 • baguettemagic.com

BOHEMIAN BULL Build Your Own Burger, Wings, Classic Reuben, Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich 1531 Folly Rd, James Island 843-225-1817 • bohemianbull.com

CANTINA 76 Peruvian Shrimp Taco, Beef Brisket Taco, Roasted Chicken Salad, Chicken Quesadilla, Veggie Taco 819 Coleman Blvd. Mt Pleasant 843-388-7717 219 Farm Lake View Road, Kiawah Island 843-737-4607 • cantina76.com

CAROLINE’S ALOHA BAR Bahn Mi, Steakhouse, Hawaiian or Falafel Burger. Truffeled, Red Curry or Loaded Tots. Beer Cheese Dip. 15 Magnolia Road, Avondale 843-769-0228 • carolinesalohabar.com

COMMUNITY PIZZA Apple Gorgonzola Pizza, Gluten-Free Brussel Sprout Pizza, Meaty Pizza, Hawaiian Punch Pizza, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Classic Tomato Meatballs, Original Philly, Farmhouse Chicken Salad. 2400 Gap Road, N. Charleston 843-566-7777 CommunityPizzaHouse.com

THE CRAB SHACKS Snow Crab Bucket, She Crab Soup, Fried Shrimp 8486 Dorchester Road, Coosaw Creek 843-552-7171 26 Center Street, Folly Beach 843-588-3080 1901 Ashley River Road, West Ashley 843-763-4494 CrabShacks.com

DUKE’S BBQ Meat + 2 or 3, Meatloaf (Wednedays), Fried Flounder & Red Rrice (Fridays), BBQ by the lb, Banana Pudding 331 Folly Road, Charleston 843-789-4801 facebook.com/DukesSC

EAST BAY DELI Chief Reuben, The Citadel, Buffalo Chicken Wrap, Crunchy Salad 1120 Oakland Market Road, Mt. Pleasant 843-216-5423, 334 E Bay St Ste H, Downtown 843- 723-1234, 405 Dorchester Rd, North Charleston 843-747-1235, 858 Savannah Hwy, West Ashley 843-571-2244, 9135 University Blvd, North Charleston 843-553-7374 2519 N Main St B, Summerville 843-471-2444 eastbaydeli.com

EL MOLINO SUPERMARKET Taco Box, Birria Tacos, Aguas Frescas, Tortillas 1610 Sam Rittenberg, West Ashley 843-225-8244 facebook.com/elmolinosupermarket

GENE’S HAUFBRAU Buffayaki or Southern Fried Wings, Hand Breaded Chicken Tenders, The Motherload Burger, Fried Pork Chop Sandwich, Chicken Quesadilla 817 Savannah Hwy, Charleston 843-225-4363 genes.beer

THE GLASS ONION Upbeat spot serving refined, locally sourced soul-food favorites in charming environs. 1219 Savannah Hwy, Charleston 843-225-1717 ilovetheglassonion.com

HERD PROVISIONS Wings, Herd burger, chicken kimchi sandwich, poutine and Brussels, Farm Raised Butcher Shop Meats. 106 Grove Street, Charleston 843-637-4145 herdprovisionscharleston.com

HOLY CITY BREWING Holy City Burger, Chicken Wings, Soft Pretzels 1021 Aragon Ave, North Charleston 843-459-2948 holycitybrewing.com

JACK’S COSMIC DOGS Serving hot dogs topped with creative condiments, plus sides & ice cream. 2805 N. Hwy 17, Mt. Pleasant 843-884-7677 jackscosmicdogs.com

JUAN LUIS Breakfast Tacos, Rajas Quesadillas, Enchiladas, Smothered Burrito, Nachos Especial, Green Chile Sundae 464 N. Nassau St., Downtown 843.805.9500 lewisbarbecue.com

KAMINSKY’S DESSERT CAFÉ Tollhouse Pie, Mountain of Chocolate 3 Layer Cake, Bourbon Pecan Pie, Milkshakes, Specialty Coffees, and Cookie Sundae 78 N. Market St, Downtown 843-853-8270 2 Magnolia Rd., West Ashley 854-429-1777 Kaminskys.com

LEWIS BARBECUE El Sancho Sandwich, Texas Hot Guts, Beef Brisket, Pork Spare Ribs, Green Chile Corn Pudding, Mac & Cheese, Brisket Nachos, Banana Pudding 464 N. Nassau St., Downtown 843.805.9500 lewisbarbecue.com

LILLIE FUEL Abuela’s Deviled Eggs, Roasted Beet Salad, Say Cheese Deluxe Bento Box, Banana Puddin Baby Food, Mango Avocado Puree. 426 W Coleman Blvd, Mount Pleasant. 843-324-4726 Lilliefuel.com

MA’AM SAAB Butter Chicken, Bihari Kabab, Chicken Biryani, Masala Fries (v) Butter Paneer (veg), Lahori Cholay (v) 1503 King Street, Charelston (inside The Workshop) 843-259-2660 maamsaabchs.com


MEX 1 COASTAL CANTINA Taco Tailgate Box, Mex 1 Margarita Mix, Guacamole and Quesadillas 817 St Andrews Blvd, West Ashley 843-751-4001 2205 Middle Street, Sullivan’s Island 843-882-8172 1109 Park W Blvd, Mt. Pleasant 843-352-9699 mex1coastalcantina.com

NEON TIGER Fromaggio & Champignon, Buffalo Cauliflower or Pepperoni Pizza, Reuben, Big Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, Garlic knots, Caesar salad add chicken 654 King Street neontiger.com

O-KU Charleston Rock Shrimp Salad, Salmon & Lemon Roll, Rainbow Roll, Spring Rolls, Tokyo Wings, Chicken Teriyaki 463 King Street, Charleston 843-737-0112 o-kusushi.com

PALMETTO BREWING Mango IPA, Blueberry Backtrack, Idle Speed, Lowcountry Lager, Downtown Doar Knocker 289 Huger Street, Charleston 843-9370903 palmettobrewery.com

POE’S TAVERN Burgers, Tacos, Salads 2210 Middle St, Sullivan’s Island 843-883-0083 poestavern.com

POKE BROS Signature bowls like “The Duke” or the “Johnny Utah”, or Build Your Own Bowl. Mochi ice cream. GF options. 5070 International Blvd, North Charleston 644-H1 Long Point Rd., Mt. Pleasant 843-800-5600 • eatpokebros.com

RED’S ICE HOUSE Bubba Shrimp Platter, Smokehouse Platter, Palmetto Burger, Old Bay Shrimp Salad, Wild Buffalo Chicken Wrap 98 Church St, Mt Pleasant 843.388.0003 • redsicehouse.com

SEANACHAI Award Winning Seanachai Signature Burger, Fish’n’Chips, House Made Corned Beef & Cabbage, Rueben 3157B Maybank Hwy, Johns Island 843-737-4221 seanachaiwhiskeyandcocktailbar.com

SESAME BURGERS & BEER Down South Burger, Charleston Burger, Chipotle BBQ Wings, Cuban Sandwich, Sweet N Blue Fries 675 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Mt Pleasant 843-884-5553 4726 Spruill Ave. N. Charleston 843-554-4903 sesameburgersandbeer.com

THE SHELTER Chicken Bog, Shrimp & Grits, Patty Melt, Brisket Melt, Golden Beat Salad, BBQ Pork Quesadilla 202 Coleman Boulevard, Mt. Pleasant 843-388-3625 theshelterkitchenandbar.com

RITA’S SEASIDE GRILLE Brunch avocado toast, Rita’s cheeseburger, spicy chicken sandwich, fish and shrimp tacos, Halls chop salad 5 Center Street, Folly Beach 843-588-2525 • ritasseasidegrille.com

STEEL CITY PIZZA Steel City Special Pizza, Mega Meaty Pizza, Godfather Weggie, Carson Street Gryo Weggie, Cajun Chicken Alfredo, Italian Combo 1440 Ben Sawyer Blvd #1301, Mt Pleasant 843-856-2525 8600 Dorchester Road, N. Charleston 843-225-6111 • steelcitypizza.com

RUTLEDGE CAB CO Burgers, Mahi or Shrimp Tacos, Pan Roasted Mussels, Fried Chicken Salad, Shrimp and Grits, Rueben, BLT, Wings 1300 Ruteldge Ave, Downtown 843-720-1440 • rutledgecabco.com

SUNRISE BISTRO Breakfast Burrito, Open Faced Omelets, Grits Bowl, Shrimp & Grits 1039 Johnnie Dodds Ave, Mt Pleasant 843-856-7796

TBONZ GILL & GRILL World Famous Wings, Tommy Texas Cheese Fries, Double Patty Burger, Drunken Ribeye, Texas Melt, Baby Back Ribs 80 North Market Street, Downtown 843-577-2511 1668 Old Towne Rd, West Ashley 843-556-2478 • tbonzgillandgrill.com

TRES PALMAS ACAI BOWLS OG Acai, Boujee Bowl, Tropical Bowl, Berry Bowl, Choco Bowl 700 S. Shelmore Blvd, Mt. Pleasant Coming Soon! 311 Huger St Downtown 843-580-4344 • trespalmasacai.com

TRIANGLE CHAR & BAR Triangle Char + Bar’s menu features killer burgers, a sweet selection of tacos, eclectic entrees and an array of tasty bar snacks – all available for takeout! 828 Savannah Hwy Charleston 843-377-1300 trianglecharandbar.com

VICKERY’S Lowcountry Saute’, Shrimp, Sausage & Grits, Classic Cuban Sandwich, Down South Pork Loin, Cashet Encrusted Tuna Salad 1313 Shrimp Boat Lane, Mt. Pleasant 843-884-4440 • vickerysmtp.com

THE WASHOUT Washout Burger, Blackened Mahi Tacos, Lobster Roll, Seared Tuna Wrap, Mac n Cheese Bites, Fried Shrimp & Flounder 41 Center Street, Folly Beach 843-633-0143 • follywashout.com

charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 45

PEARLZ Lump Crab Cakes, Pearlz Fried Shrimp Dinner, Pearlz Signature Burger, Shrimp & Grits, New England Lobster Roll, Cod Sliders 153 East Bay St., Downtown 843-577-5755 9 Magnolia Rd., West Ashley 843-573-2277 PearlzOysterBar.com

PINK CACTUS Rice Bowl $9 - Rice, beans, avocado, onion, Crema , rojo, cotija. Add protein for $5 - Chicken tinga/ carnitas/ carne asada, poblano rajas (v) , coliflor y pepita (v) 100 A Spring St, Charleston 843-764-9343 • pinkcactuschs.com

SALTHOUSE CATERING Chef Prepared Charcuterie Boards, Appetizers & Salads, Fully Coked Entrees, Family Style Meals, Bakery Fresh Desserts 1750 Signal Point Road, Suite 2-B, Charleston 843-577-7847 salthousecatering.com/gourmettogo

1797 Main Rd., Johns Island 843-718-1858 110 Miles Jamison, Summerville 843-225-6201 • sunrise-bistro.com


46 || DISH || Spring 2021

VOTED BEST HOT DOG

SINCE 2000! the best hot dog i have ever had.

EVER!

- Alton Brown THE BEST SOFT SERVE ICE CREAM ON THE WAY TO AND FROM THE BEACH!

2805 Hwy 17 N Mt. Pleasant | 843-884-7677 www.jackscosmicdogs.com

Jackrabbit Filly serves up Asian fusion fare with a twist Ruta Smith

Here’s the deal. Here’s the deal. Here’s the deal. be there I’ll beI’llthere I’ll be for you.there for you.

for you.

The future Tammy McCut cheonINC Ins Agcy TheINC future has a lot has of a lot of Tammy McCut cheon Ins Agcy Tammy McCutcheon, Agent Tammy McCutcheon, Agent ifs,aand it’s a good ifs,what and it’s good College Suite what H 113 College 113 Park Road Park SuiteRoad H feeling to have someone in Ladson, SCLadson, 29456 SC 29456 feeling to have someone ina lot of McCut cheon Ins Agcy INC The future has Bus: 843-797-5650 Bus:Tammy 843-797-5650 your corner and around the

Tammy McCutcheon, Agent your corner and around the what ifs, and it’splan a good 113 College Park Road Suite Hcorner tocorner to help for help you planyou for Ladson, SC 29456 feeling to have someone in them. Call me today. them. Call me today. Bus: 843-797-5650

your corner and around the Like a good neighbor, Like a good neighbor, corner to help you plan for ®is there.® State Farm State Farm is there. them. Call me today. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.®

State Farm Bloomington, IL

State Farm Bloomington, IL

2001293

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index of restaurants by category AMERICAN Chasing Sage.....................................................16 Post House....................................................... 38 ASIAN FUSION Xiao Bao Biscuit............................................... 42 BARBECUE Fiery Ron’s Home Team BBQ........................ 29 Lewis Barbecue.......................................... 34,50 Rodney Scott’s BBQ ..................................12,39 Quan’s BBQ........................................................12 CAFES Basic Kitchen.................................................... 24 Babas on Cannon........................................... .23 Daddy’s Girls Bakery........................................12 Destiny Community Cafe................................12 CHINESE Jackrabbit Filly..................................................31 Kwei Fei..............................................................32 FRENCH Chez Nous......................................................... 26 Bistronomy by Nico........................................ 24 Fast & French......................................................6 Fat Hen.............................................................. 29 Félix Cocktail et Cuisine................................. 29

Maison............................................................... 34 Nico Oysters + Seafood.................................. 36 GREEK Stella’s................................................................ 42 ITALIAN Bacco................................................................. 24 Coda del Pesce................................................ 28 Le Farfalle..........................................................32 Melfi’s................................................................. 34 Wild Olive.......................................................... 42 MEDITERRANEAN Butcher & Bee.................................................. 26 MEXICAN Pink Cactus....................................................... 38 Juan Luis........................................................... 50 MODERN AMERICAN Charleston Grill................................................ 26 Edmund’s Oast................................................. 28 FIG...................................................................... 30 The Grocery.......................................................31 Sorghum & Salt................................................ 42 Zero Restaurant + Bar.................................... 42 continued on page 48


A RESTAURANT + BUTCHER, CHEESE & WINE SHOP

FEATURING THE HIGHEST-QUALITY MEATS FROM OUR OWN LEAPING WATERS FARM

GRASS FINISHED BEEF | HERITAGE PORK PASTURED CHICKEN | CHOPS & ROASTS CHARCUTERIE LUNCH, DINNER & BAR MENU | LARGE PATIO | DINE-IN | TAKE-OUT 106 GROVE ST. | DOWNTOWN | WAGENER TERRACE HERDPROVISIONS.COM | 843.637-4145

All the Best Southern Occasions are Paired with Good Food, and Flowers from Tiger Lily FLORAL AND LOCAL ARTISAN GIFT STUDIO 131 Spring St | Downtown

FLORAL STUDIO AND WEDDINGS 1614 Camp Road | James Island

843-723-2808 TigerLilyFlorist.com

charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 47

Photo Credit: Sean Money and Elizabeth Faye

Great Folks...


48 || DISH || Spring 2021

ATTORNEY

GARY A. LING Over 35 Years Experience Handling Accident & Injury Cases

We work on your repairs and injuries Call (843) 884-0000 when you need help Berlinsky and Ling Law Firm

2971 W. Montague • N. Charleston CharlestonAttorneyGaryALing.com

Order bivalves from 167 Raw’s swank King Street oyster bar Ruta Smith

By Category from page 46

NEW SOUTHERN Husk....................................................................31 Peninsula Grill...................................................37 Slightly North of Broad..................................40 The Glass Onion............................................... 30 PIZZA EVO Pizzeria..................................................... 29 Renzo................................................................. 39 SEAFOOD 167 Raw..............................................................22 Bowens Island Restaurant............................. 24 Delaney Oyster House.................................... 28 Leon’s Fine Poultry & Oysters....................... 34 Obstinate Daughter........................................ 36 The Ordinary.....................................................37 The Royal Tern................................................. 39

SOUL FOOD Bertha’s Kitchen.............................................. 24 Dave’s Carryout............................................... 28 East Side Soul Food.........................................14 Nana’s Uptown................................................. 35 Nigel’s Good Food ...........................................14 SUSHI Shiki....................................................................40 SOUTHERN Pablo’s Kitchen.................................................14 STEAKHOUSE Oak Steakhouse............................................... 36 SPANISH Estadio............................................................... 28 Malagon............................................................. 34 VEGAN Neon Tiger........................................................ 35


THE STATE OF VACATION

TEXT 843.580.4344 TO ORDER

Imagine yourself relaxing on your rooftop deck enjoying a glorious sunset, the sound of the ocean waves crashing in the near distance, surrounded by the beauty of manicured greens. This could be your reality. 10 Yacht Harbor Court is located in the sought after gated resort community of Wild Dunes and is being offered for sale. It is the last building site on Yacht Harbor and is steps away from the marina, minutes to the beach and situated next to the 14th green.

DON’T BLINK OR IT’LL BE GONE !

Good Vibes Come in Small Bowls. Open Tue-Sat 8am-4pm | Sun 9am-2pm 700 S. Shelmore Blvd, Mt Pleasant

TresPalmasAcai.com | Coming Soon! 311 Huger St, Downtown Ages 21+ (8%-10% ABV)

d e t f a r handc arleston in ch et Gourm frozen es m l popsic ith premiu ruit! w f made and fresh l o h o alc

M

Katrina Johnson, Your Realtor Concierge CRS, CNE, ABR, CBR | Awarded Diamond Circle of Excellence Cell 843-452-2747 • Office 843-884-1622 KJohnson@carolinaone.com • SellingCharlestonSC.com

Ask for us at: Belmond Place • Charleston on the Water Party Boat • El Jefe • Mills House Folly Beach Adventures • Honky Tonk Saloon • Tabbuli • Owen’s Liquors Luxe Espresso & Wine Bar • The Axe Joint | Food Trucks: Charleston Pops Ice Cream Team • Smoking Gringos • The Lost Boys 843.259. 9977 • For event and wholesale inquiries visit Twisted-Sicles.com

charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 49

eticulously cared for, this 5BR home overlooks the serene lake and has extras galore. From curb appeal to the spacious screened in porch, fireplace, separate living and dining, there is room for everyone. Enjoy coming home and relaxing in one of your outdoor spaces and watch the wildlife or just enjoy the beautiful landscaping complete with flowering plants. Inside is a decorators dream and has been extremely well thought out and planned. This could be your forever home and the location can not be beat. With minutes to shopping, dining, schools and the beaches, what more could you want? Exclusively listed for $668,500.


50 || DISH || Spring 2021

E   SSAY

Second and Last Lewis Barbecue and Juan Luis are expanding organically By John Lewis John Lewis moved to Charleston in 2015, opening his namesake Central Texas-inspired restaurant a year later in June 2016. The acclaimed pitmaster earned Charleston’s love, leading him to share the cuisine he grew up with in El Paso, Texas, at a second concept called Juan Luis — first at Workshop, then later in a trailer parked outside Lewis Barbecue. The year 2020 brought change for Lewis, but so will 2021 and 2022, when he’ll open Juan Luis’ restaurant in the former Workshop space and add another Lewis Barbecue location in Greenville. I remember doing an event at Holy City Brewing with Rodney Scott in 2015. That was my first time ever in South Carolina or Charleston. People were raving about the food — I don’t think they had ever had Texas-style beef barbecue before. Everyone was super receptive to it. There is a long barbecue tradition here — barbecue is something people want to eat, but there wasn’t the niche for what we do. I thought it would be a great fit. The summer before we opened, we did a pop-up at Revelry Brewing every Saturday for the whole summer, so we created quite a following with that. The brisket that you’re eating tonight would have started two nights ago. We do a really, really low smoke for a long time — you’re looking at about 36 hours on the pit, and briskets will come off four times each day. We don’t sell out of food, which is really good. I’d rather be ringing the registers all day long. We have more smokers, and we never stop. We’re just constantly staging food throughout the 24-hour period of the day, and there’s never any down time. We’ve been looking at a second and last place in the South somewhere. You can’t keep control of it if it gets bigger than two, and I don’t want the quality to go down. It’s beautiful in Greenville — the

John Lewis channeled the El Paso-style flavors he grew up with for Juan Luis Ruta Smith

people are nice up there, and they’ve got a cool food scene. There’s a lot of homegrown stuff going on with local ingredients. It seemed like a good fit, and they don’t really have anything like we do for barbecue up there. We get tons of people coming down here from Greenville just to come to our place. We had also been looking around for a brick-and-mortar spot for Juan Luis for a while. I grew up in El Paso, Texas, so this is the food that I grew up on, and that doesn’t exist here. There’s Mexican food, but it’s not like that El Paso-style Mexican food. I crave it all the time. The menu is going to be a lot bigger and a lot more

approachable. There’s going to be lots of meat and stuff on the menu — it’s not just going to be enchiladas. I would describe it as West Texas cowboy cooking. A little bit of Mexican food, and a little bit of New Mexican food. We’re shooting for Sept. 1 for Juan Luis, so that’s the first thing ahead of me right now. Most of the effort is going into that, but I’ll be in Greenville once a week planning preliminary things up there. But the lead up to Sept. 1 will be all hands on deck for Juan Luis. It’s going to be a fun place. It’s going to look nothing like the Workshop does — our goal is when you walk in, you don’t know that it used to be the Workshop.


Adapting for Success

Culinary and hospitality professionals know they must adapt to quick changes to keep their customers happy.

Our students are learning that lesson as well. The Culinary Institute of Charleston has made important changes, including online classes, socially distanced labs, required safety equipment and increased sanitation measures, allowing students to continue working toward their dream careers.

Now’s a great time to enroll— culinary and hospitality programs are TUITION FREE through summer. Maymester starts May 10. Summer Semester starts June 1. CI21-007

www.CulinaryInstituteofCharleston.com • 843.820.5090

Profile for CharlestonCityPaper

Charleston City Paper - Dish Dining Guide, Spring 2021  

Founded in 1997, the locally owned and operated Charleston City Paper is Charleston’s only weekly alternative newspaper and the second-large...

Charleston City Paper - Dish Dining Guide, Spring 2021  

Founded in 1997, the locally owned and operated Charleston City Paper is Charleston’s only weekly alternative newspaper and the second-large...

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