The restaurant trend in Charleston this fall seems to be smaller, casual, eateries, often with counter service. We’ll take it – makes it easier to get in and out and to try them all quickly. Several long-time local chefs are stepping outside the box and digging deep into their culinary souls to open places that are greater testaments to their personalities than ever before. Here is a roundup of the new hot spots in Charleston to go and enjoy:
When you first enter 167 Raw, you think you are in a seafood market rather than a place to eat. But if you turn the corner, you find a small open kitchen with a few stools pulled up to the window. You can order from the chalkboard menu featuring a few mainly seafood items which, if a space is not available, can also be boxed to go. The lobster roll is a fan favorite and is the most expensive item offered. They also serve raw bar items, ceviche, and a variety of tacos.
Days old, the Artisan Meat Share is all the rage in Charleston, and no wonder – the team behind it includes chef Craig Deihl and his right hand man, Bob Cook. Finally, Deihl has a place to showcase his impressive charcuterie options. But don’t be fooled, as it’s more than a place to try cured and aged meats. The menu is packed with a variety of delicious options to eat in or to take to go, like cold and hot sandwiches, salads, tasty sides such as a pea and peanut salad and or a sweet corn with okra salad, and small snacks. There is beer, wine, and Boylan hand-crafted colas. We recommend picking up some of their house made condiments like the bacon jam or Korean mustard, which can be consumed with the accompanying meats or devoured on their own.
As longtime fans of the Red Orchid, we were intrigued when the owners decided to head over to Mount Pleasant to open their newest restaurant. With a trendy and progressive menu, Aya Cookhouse offers more in the way of ramen with braised beef belly and spiced bean curd varieties, and items like mapo rice gnocchi and a keegan-filion farms pork chop. The décor is also more elevated than in their past endeavors and includes patio seating, something not found at the cramped Red Orchid space. The cocktails and desserts are certainly not to be missed.
To find Boxcar Betty's, you must travel outside the peninsula. The owners met while working at Magnolias, bonded and decided to partner and open a greasy spoon-inspired place on their own. They have found a good niche with a restaurant that focuses mostly on fried chicken sandwiches; the menu offers the opportunity to build your own or to select from popular creations like the chicken and “not so waffle,” or the boxcar sandwiches featuring peach coleslaw, house made pickles, and pimento cheese. On our visit, we skipped the chicken and went for the stuffed mushroom bibb lettuce salad. The large Portobello mushroom was fried and topped with watermelon radish, shallots, and agave buttermilk dressing.
It was an exciting day when Carrie Morey decided to open a stand-alone storefront to sell her popular biscuits. Located on bustling Upper King Street, Callie's Hot Little Biscuit is open early mornings through lunch and then again on Friday and Saturday late night. Patrons can get a selection of house made biscuits along with accoutrements like whipped butters, Carolina honey, and homemade jams. Lunch specials are available including biscuits and fried chicken, a bowl of grits in a biscuit bowl, and pimento cheese sandwiches. The location also has a cooler with frozen biscuits and other local treats to purchase, and a small provisions area that‘s a great place to find the perfect gift for that someone special.
Charleston was excited to be selected as a new site for popular ice cream shop, Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream’s expansion. The menu is filled with dozens of classic flavors, along with some limited edition choices and specials of the day, including the sundae of the week. If you are in a hurry, they offer the ice creams to go in pints as well.
Reviews of Union Provisions have been mixed at best, but with a chef turn over, hopes are high for the food to only improve. The restaurant is housed in a 114-year-old building that was restored to show off romantic features such as the crown moldings, glazed brick, coffered ceilings, and large windows overlooking King Street. Time will tell how it will fare, and we look forward to new chef Chari Skinner to making her mark on the Charleston culinary scene.
Probably the largest restaurant on this compilation, White Duck Taco Shop took over a space that was previously a gym. It is hard to walk in and not think of the previous tenant, but the walls are covered in murals of the city’s skyline. The menu changes often and the restaurant is dedicated to buying 99 percent American made products. There are a variety of tacos available including Bangkok shrimp, lump crab, duck with mole, and mushroom with potato. There are sides, soups, and a variety of offerings for children to enjoy – and no trip is complete without a fresh margarita.
Opening today for lunch, Minero is the place everyone is most chopping at the bit for. Located in the previous Wine Bar, chef Sean Brock’s new casual Mexican inspired taco joint is next door to McCrady’s, and the space is airy and casual, and is sure to host amazing, delicious food.