Harold’s Cabin: A Brunch Triumph – Charleston Daily Review

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

Brunch is a fixture in Charleston.? It has grown faster than the National deficit.? It is more important than our political engine and it has raised the bar for culinary excellence.? Brunch is a personal experience for many.? For some, it is to meet an insatiable appetite and for others a spiritual gathering of friends to share laughs and mimosas.

Brunch is an art and one that follows certain rules of behavior and expectations.? A good brunch will have great drinks, excellent food, comforting décor and high level service.? Rarely, will you find all those qualities.? That isn’t a bad thing.? Brunch is a brand and certain restaurants are selling that brand.? It could be cheap cocktails, a signature dish, the ambiance of a rooftop or live music.

On a rare occasion, an establishment gets it all right.? Harold’s Cabin located on the corner of Congress and President, defied the odds and created a brunch experience that has set the bar high.? Ironically, seeing a chalk board sign supporting Raven Saunders in her quest for a medal in Rio laid a nice parallel for our award winning experience.

We must begin with the charming rustic décor.? How often, do you want to tour a restaurant?? We did.? With a glass of Prosecco in hand, we took a self-guided tour of what appeared to be a quaint late 1800’s cabin with a warn American flag on the wall, bird art, wooden chairs, a couch your grandma would be proud of and the highlight, a rooftop garden.? We were overwhelmed with a feeling of home as we walked on the creaky wooden panels beneath us and took in the well-designed layout and décor.

The brunch menu, to many, may seem light on options, but given the preparation descriptions, we had a challenge narrowing down our selections.? We did

Corn Hush Puppies
Corn Hush Puppies

the proper thing and staggered our courses to maximize the options we could try.

  • Course one:? Corn Hush Puppies with pepper jam and sweet corn kernels – Our delightful server claimed they may be the best in all of Charleston.? Believe me she was right.? At $5.00, it was a meal in itself.? So much so that I took one home for a later snack.? So lightly fried and soft on the inside and with the compliment of just enough peppery spice, it was a perfect and zesty combination of sweet and spicy.
  • Course two:? Harold and Lillian.? I have a confession.? This past Sunday, I hosted a brunch for 14 people and one of the dishes I tried to create was this dish.? Now, mine was not nearly as amazing, but it was gone in less than 90 seconds and very well received.? This creation is genius and so unique to our little community.? Picture this:? Lox and latkas, granny apple slices and crème fraiche.? With each fork full, we carefully made sure we had the crème, apple slice, lox and latkas fried up like a taco all together.? That combination was heavenly.
  • Course three:? Tomato and pimento cheese biscuit with egg ($6.50) with a side of Brussel sprouts.? Not an uncommon dish, but wow what a dish.? In presentation and taste, they nailed it.? This homemade biscuit with just the right toasty firmness on the outside and light fluffy on the inside and made to perfection.? It was sizable for two and overwhelmingly delicious.
  • Course four:? The intent was the beignets, but we settled for the Prosecco instead.? We just couldn’t do it, but will be back for them very soon.

We would be hard pressed not to mention the artistry of the barista.? The cappuccino was made with a frothy leaf on top and hand delivered by the artist herself.? As she walked away, we saw the brush in her back pocket and smiled.

Two hours later, we left happy and fulfilled.? We talked down Huger Street through the neighborhoods and just enjoyed the afterglow of our exceptional brunch experience.

Cappuccino
Cappuccino

 

Tomato, pimento cheese and egg biscuit
Tomato, pimento cheese and egg biscuit

 

Flowers on the rooftop garden
Flowers on the rooftop garden

 

Peppers in the garden
Peppers in the garden

 

Rooftop
Rooftop

 

Harold and Lillian
Harold and Lillian

 

Rustic Wall Flag
Rustic Wall Flag

 

Upstairs couch area
Upstairs couch area

 

Collection of books on the wall
Collection of books on the wall

 

Upstairs bar
Upstairs bar

 

Charleston, SC Named One of the Best Cities for Brunch in the US

Brunch in Charleston has become a way of life.? It is a weekend ritual that seems like it is as old as the colonization of this community.? Its culinary rewards are a sensation to our appetites and an event we look forward to as early as the beginning of each week.? Whether you are a foodie or not, brunch has become an unofficial holiday and one we love.

Whether it is a couple, family, friends, a fried green tomato benedict, shrimp and grits or mimosas, we flock on Saturday and Sunday to enjoy this Charleston tradition.

We have even compiled a resource guide with menus and links to some of the best brunches in the area to help you plan your next outing or serve as a check list if you want to try them all:? Charleston Brunch Guide

The fine folks at FindTheHome used Yelp and a 2014 American Community Survey data to determine the best brunch cities in the United States. SFGate compiled an analysis tool to sum up the best cities.? We are proud to say, Charleston is #3 on the list.? Congratulations to the chefs, owners, patrons and tourists that have put our brunch on the map.

Details of Analysis

The data scientists at FindTheHome, a real estate intelligence site powered by Graphiq determined the best cities for brunch based on data from Yelp and the 2014 American Community Survey

SFGate.com then created a comprehensive rating that accounts for quality, popularity and quantity. The “Breakfast Score” equally weighs the following data:

  • Density of 4+ Yelp Star breakfast establishments
  • Reviews per restaurant, normalized
  • Number of breakfast and brunch restaurants per 10,000 people

Only cities with a population over 100,000 people and at least 50 breakfast or brunch restaurants were considered in this analysis. Restaurants needed at least one Yelp rating to be included. The following list of top cities for brunch is ranked from lowest to highest “Breakfast Score.”

Note: Because some cities are simply more active on Yelp than others, the analysis used the number of reviews at chain restaurants (IHOP, Denny’s Starbucks and Applebee’s) to normalize the “reviews per restaurant” figure across locations.

10.? Washington D.C.

Breakfast Score: 73.8
Density of 4+ Yelp Star Breakfast Restaurants per 10K People: 0.8
Reviews per Restaurant, Normalized: 174.0
Number of Breakfast Restaurants per 10K People: 2.8
Number of Breakfast Restaurants in Washington: 175

Population: 633,736

9.? New Orleans, LA

Breakfast Score: 76.3
Density of 4+ Yelp Star Breakfast Restaurants per 10K People: 1.7
Reviews per Restaurant, Normalized: 128.0
Number of Breakfast Restaurants per 10K People: 3.3
Number of Breakfast Restaurants in New Orleans: 121

Population: 368,471

8.? San Diego, CA

Breakfast Score: 77.9
Density of 4+ Yelp Star Breakfast Restaurants per 10K People: 1.1
Reviews per Restaurant, Normalized: 184.9
Number of Breakfast Restaurants per 10K People: 2.1
Number of Breakfast Restaurants in San Diego: 287

Population: 1,341,510

poo7.? Denver, CO

Breakfast Score: 84.0
Density of 4+ Yelp Star Breakfast Restaurants per 10K People: 1.1
Reviews per Restaurant, Normalized: 282.1
Number of Breakfast Restaurants per 10K People: 2.4
Number of Breakfast Restaurants in Denver: 155

Population: 633,777

6.? San Francisco, CA

Breakfast Score: 85.1
Density of 4+ Yelp Star Breakfast Restaurants per 10K People: 1.8
Reviews per Restaurant, Normalized: 168.9
Number of Breakfast Restaurants per 10K People: 3.6
Number of Breakfast Restaurants in San Francisco: 298

Population: 829,072

5.? Paradise, NV

Breakfast Score: 86.0
Density of 4+ Yelp Star Breakfast Restaurants per 10K People: 0.9
Reviews per Restaurant, Normalized: 272.4
Number of Breakfast Restaurants per 10K People: 3.3
Number of Breakfast Restaurants in Paradise: 74

Population: 223,182

4.? Minneapolis, MN

Breakfast Score: 90.0
Density of 4+ Yelp Star Breakfast Restaurants per 10K People: 1.5
Reviews per Restaurant, Normalized: 299.1
Number of Breakfast Restaurants per 10K People: 2.9
Number of Breakfast Restaurants in Minneapolis: 114

Population: 394,424

3.? Charleston, SC

Breakfast Score: 94.6
Density of 4+ Yelp Star Breakfast Restaurants per 10K People: 1.9
Reviews per Restaurant, Normalized: 226.1
Number of Breakfast Restaurants per 10K People: 4.5
Number of Breakfast Restaurants in Charleston: 56

Population: 125,458

2.? Berkeley, CA

Breakfast Score: 95.3
Density of 4+ Yelp Star Breakfast Restaurants per 10K People: 2.0
Reviews per Restaurant, Normalized: 209.1
Number of Breakfast Restaurants per 10K People: 4.5
Number of Breakfast Restaurants in Berkeley: 52

Population: 115,688

1. Portland, OR

Breakfast Score: 95.9
Density of 4+ Yelp Star Breakfast Restaurants per 10K People: 2.2
Reviews per Restaurant, Normalized: 248.0
Number of Breakfast Restaurants per 10K People: 3.7
Number of Breakfast Restaurants in Portland: 220

Population: 602,568

Enjoy brunch y’all.