The jury is still out on the recent crop of restaurants that opened in Charleston this summer. Several have had chef changes within weeks of opening, and the initial reviews are so-so at best. These new openings also range from high-end chains to more obscure gems hidden in not so expected locations. Here is a little more on what to expect if you make a visit:
One of the city’s tiniest restaurants now has a sibling of sorts. Taco Spot’s owners have opened Apartment A next door to their downtown location. It was designed to be an extension of Taco Spot and offers seating to enjoy their regular menu. At Apartment A, you can also order tamales, nachos, chips and dips, and various Mexican inspired sides. There are a variety of cocktails, beers, and shooters—all of which are considered dirt cheap for the downtown market.
Chick’s Fry House
When James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef Robert Stehling opened a fast casual fried chicken place a mile or so down the road from his well-established ultra-popular restaurant Hominy Grill, everyone wanted to see what it was all about. Located in a bustling family-friendly neighborhood of Wagener Terrace, it seemed like the location could not be beat. But things have been slow to start, and the kinks are still being worked out. The menu is centered on chicken but also features a variety of sides, salads, and other fried baskets filled with items like pork chops and fish. There are glazed, iced, and stuffed donuts to round out the order, which can be called in and picked up if needed to go.
Ellis Creek Fish Camp
After years of remaining empty, the location of the former MiMi’s on Ellis Creek in James Island has been rebuilt, renamed, and reopened. Their menu focuses on casual “fish camp” food and has a lot of predictable items. Fried shrimp, calamari, fish and chips, oyster po’ boys, and seasonal fish tacos are what you will find here. The location is the true star, overlooking the marsh and nearby Ashley River, and is the highlight of this new spot.
Parlor Deluxe, located across the street from its successful nighttime hot spot counterpart, Warehouse, is an ice cream parlor and hot dog joint. Aside from the variety of hot dogs, there are tater tots, ice cream, milkshakes, floats, and sodas. The tiny 600-square-foor space has been turned into an old fashioned soda shop designed with a long marbled counter to perch up next to and enjoy some of the tasty treats.
Ruth Chris Steak House
With all of the amazing locally owned and operated options in Charleston, it is hard to rally behind a chain. Ruth Chris Steak House opened in a location where a few other restaurants have already failed, but it is clearly not threatened and is banking on the national exposure already instilled in it. The menu looks similar to most other cities and from what we can tell, the décor—including art work from area artists—is the only thing that screams Charleston to diners.
One cannot help but be captured by the nautical, whimsical design that welcomes you at the Screen Door, which includes dozens of brightly painted, repurposed screen doors on the exterior. The interior is much of the same and the vibe is light and refreshing. The menu looks good on paper with items like stuffed eggs (not deviled), poutine, fried Brussels sprouts, and house-cured smoked duck. The kids menu might be one of the best around with choices like grilled chicken strips, buttered noodles, kids burgers, and grilled cheese—someone clearly has small, finicky kids.