Brown Dog Deli – A Game Changer in the Charleston Sandwich Scene

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By Mark A. Leon

We have all walked past Brown Dog Deli located at 40 Broad Street hundreds of times.? Perhaps on your way to the Art Walk or Blind Tiger.? Maybe you were looking up at the church steeple and you didn’t even notice.? It is a small unassuming restaurant that provides a safe haven of dining and delivery to the Broad Street, Battery and peninsula community.? As you walk in, there is a casual look and feel.? A nice bench in the front window as you wait for take out; a soda machine and two vats filled with sweet and unsweetened Ice Tea; tables in a small open setting and staff scurrying around to meet your needs.

Brown Dog is a traditional deli offering:

  • Salads
  • Wraps
  • Traditional Deli Classic Sandwiches
  • Specialty Sandwiches
  • Assortment of homemade sides (We recommend the hummus or macaroni salad)

Here is what you need to know and this is the secret we are finally going to unleash:? The food is outstanding.? The peninsula has transformed itself to a foodie paradise where inventive dishes have created a competition that lives and breathes on its own.? Hidden in this renaissance is a traditional deli environment surrounded by lawyers and fine art that delivers some of the most enticing salads and sandwiches in Charleston.

brown1There are two specialty sandwiches we would like to tell you about that we recently tried:

  • “The Grateful” Duck Club – This memorable gourmet sandwich includes:? apple-smoked duck breast, cashew butter spread, peach-ginger-pepper jelly, bacon, colby-cheddar cheese, arugula, & sherry walnut apple salad on a toasted sourdough bread.? Let me ask you, how long does it take to typically eat half a sandwich (yes, we shared it)?? I am thinking five to ten minutes, maybe fifteen if you engage in a thought-provoking discussion.? This half a sandwich took over 45 minutes to eat.? Not because I was super busy with work, but because I savored each and every bite.? The sweetness of the jelly and apple salad combined with the hearty bacon and duck was heavenly.? I was a little surprised at the thought of arugula, but it added a refreshing tartness to the sandwich.? As referenced in the title, this is a game changer.
  • Apple “Butter” Jeans – A beautiful autumn creation made with warm melted brie, sliced Granny Smith apples, local apple butter, fresh arugula, mesquite smoked turkey, honey ham, and applewood-smoked bacon served on a panini-pressed local French baguette.? Some sandwiches scream a season and if one was born for the fall and winter, this is it.? Typically, you cannot go wrong with brie and apples on a baguette, but add smoked turkey, ham and bacon and oh my do you have a meal.? Once again we shared and one half of this sandwich was enough to fill your appetite.

Brown Dog Deli does offer a combination option that includes a drink and side to make your meal complete.

If these two gourmet delights do not put you in a curiosity frenzy to stop by for lunch, then the Salmon, watermelon, feta cheese salad, chipotle chicken cobb salad or Mesquite Turkey Croissant (brie cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, sprouts, red onions & cranberry-pepper jelly) should completely win you over.

Wesley Denney, is titled a cuisine artist on the website and the mastermind behind the menu, What he does is more than create culinary art, he has mastered a true marketing victory.? By catering to the traditionalists and the creative salad and sandwich diners in a comforting setting, he has built a home for northern tourists, locals and business professionals from government officials to art curators.? With fresh local ingredients, gluten-free options and refreshingly explosive menu of mouth-watering dining treats, Brown Dog Deli is a winner in the Charleston casual dining space.

If you are looking for a craft beer to wash down these great menu selections, rest assured, they do offer a fine selection of drafts and bottles.? Come in for lunch or dinner, but not too late, they do close at 8:00 PM.? Come in for lunch or dinner, but watch out, it could get addictive.

7 Incredible Hidden Charleston Dining Experiences

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The CODfather

By Mark A. Leon

There are world renowned restaurants in Charleston.? There are even world renowned dive bars and eateries in Charleston who have made a name for themselves.? What about the real deep dive establishments.? The ones you don’t read about in the papers.? The ones that can’t afford the marketing and promotion, so they get left out of the fanfare.? Here is the catch, they offer a great product and an incredible customer experience.? They aren’t on the top of anyone’s list, but for those that know the secret places, they are worth the excursion.

Today, we are going to ride through the urban jungles of Charleston to unleash some of the great spots, you may never have heard about.

Huriyali Gardens: Juices, Smoothies and Snacks – 401 Huger Street, Charleston, SC

Start with the Green Dream – Kale, Cucumber, Apple, Kiwi, Berries, Herbs and Ginger, come together in a harmonious mix that will please your body as well as your palate. This juice has more that 100% of your daily intake of vitamins A, C and K.

If you are feeling nutty, Nuts Over You will inspire:? Cashew, Vanilla Bean, Ceylon Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg, Himalayan Salt, Raw Local Honey, Raw Cacao Powder combine to make our Fall inspired spiced cashew milk.

If that doesn’t do it, AC’s OG will fuel up your day:? Kale, Celery, Cucumber, Cilantro, Lemon – designed specially for our multi marathon running customer.

Charlie’s Grocery – 1 Jasper Street, Charleston, SC – Without a doubt the Falafel sandwich is nothing short of addictive.? This family recipe has been carried down and has warmed the taste buds of locals for years.? Get a sandwich, add some homemade potato salad and go to a small park on the campus of MUSC to enjoy great food and nice weather.

Dukes Bar-B-Que – 4428B Spruill Avenue, North Charleston, SC – Do not let the location scare you.? The limited hours may be a challenge though.? Dukes has been a foundation for over 55 years and now this small one room restaurant is open Friday and Saturday only from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM for dine in and take out.? This buffet will run you less than $10.00 each and the ambiance is just fascinating.? When you walk in you will see long picnic tables with rolls of paper towels, loaves of bread still in the bad and plastic condiments containers.? The staff is warm and friendly and reminds you of a cool day on the ranch.? The buffet is simple, but amazingly delicious.? Pulled pork, hash, two types of pickles, slaw, unsweetened tea and sweetened tea.? That’s it.? Of course a variety of BBQ sauces.? The only advice, come early, they tend to sell out.

Blackbird Market – 1808 Bohicket Road, John’s Island, SC – To the naked eyes, this appears to be a small organic local grocer, but once you step inside, you experience one of the most satisfying experiences in the Lowcountry.? From Asheville made cheeses, to bacon wrapped filet to scallops that appear to be on steroids, this market is a dream.? Their local partnerships allow for the freshest vegetables, pastas, seafood and meats.? You will also be enticed by their fresh baked goods including amazing oreo balls and brownies.? If you have an immediate appetite, they offer a full service kitchen with seating outside under the water fans and shade.? Note:? The menu changes daily and seasonally.? This is a must try.? We do warn you, once you go, you may just keep coming back, even if it is just for the fresh she-crab soup.



Dellz Uptown – 511 Rutledge Avenue, Charleston, SC – Just north of the Crosstown is Dellz Uptown.? This baby blue building has been the home of a number of eateries, but this one looks like it could stay for a while.? This Caribbean-themed vegan/vegetarian restaurant offers artistic walls, healthy menu options and mouth watering food that will not leave you hungry.? A few recommended options to help guide you along are:

Jazzy Pizza
Workout Wrap
My Thai Bowl
Uptown Elvis Smoothie

Luke’s Craft Pizza – 271 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC – When you are driving through the Crosstown, you may see the sign and think, “wow and ode to Gilmore Girls”.? At least I did, but Luke’s is the brain child of EVO alum Chef Luke Davis.? He has converted this little corner take out place to a home for artistic pizza design and comfort.? Don’t let the tiny exterior or cozy setting distract you from absolutely great and imaginative pizza.? Be sure to check their Instagram.? They often sell out, but they keep their customers informed.

The CODfather –?4254 Spruill Ave, North Charleston, SC 29405 – The reputation from repeat customers has made this a popular spot for many including couples, families, workers and bikers.? Its location has still kept it a little under the radar.? This restaurant perhaps has one of the smallest menus in the Lowcountry (Fish, Fish and Chips, Chips, Meat Pie, a few sides).? That is all.? But the deep fried heavenly taste will knock your socks off and remind you how good real authentic Fish and Chips can be.? The owner brings his love of his home country cooking to the Charleston area and we cannot be more thrilled.? A little tip:? BYOB.? Also, the double order truly is a double order.? Unless you have a massive appetite, go for the single or share.

There you have it, a small list of some of the really out of the way places to indulge your appetite.? Behind the hidden corners and the glamor of the big name restaurants, Charleston has a little hidden world of great food made with love.? In a city build on dreams, family and intimate relationships, these are the places that define who we are.

Thank you to all these businesses for giving us the fruits of their passion.

Falafel Pita Sandwich - Charlie's Grocery
Falafel Pita Sandwich – Charlie’s Grocery


Luke’s Craft Pizza

Charleston Wine & Food Festival 2018 Recap – Cookin’ with Booze

Featured Food Blogger:? Cookin’ with Booze

For those of you who don’t know, the Charleston Wine + Food festival is 5 days of heaven for foodies and pretty much everyone else. My experience at the Charleston Wine + Food festival was completely unique because I had a different role each day. I worked as an intern for the Culinary Talent team, took photos at 3 events, and attended as a guest on Sunday. Every role I had was as exciting as it was challenging. I learned a lot and ate a lot over these 5 days, so come along with me as I recap it.

Day 1: Opening Night


Day 1 I was wearing my intern hat (not an actual hat, the figure of speech one) and helped set up the Main Stage before the Culinary Village opened. After a few hours of heavy lifting/unpacking and organizing, it was time for the magic that is Opening Night. My job during Opening Night was to make sure the chefs had everything they needed (utensils, water, etc) and coincidentally they happened to give us their food in return..

My favorite bite of the night by far was the pasta dish from Ken Vedrinski of Trattoria Lucca. In fact, I bragged about it so much that he ran out of it very quickly! It was a pasta shell filled with pork and ricotta, and it was topped with a sun dried tomato pesto and a raw tomato sauce. Raw tomato sauce is something I’ve never encountered on pasta, but now I want it on everything! The pickled shrimp and farro salad was another winner from Chef Michelle Weaver of Charleston Grill. To end on a sweet note, I had some strawberry, layered goodness from Andrea Upchurch of Magnolia’s.

Day 2: Winederlust and Photos at 82 Queen’s Garden Party

Helping set up events was a lot of walking and lifting things up and putting them down, but to see the end result was always so satisfying. Winederlust was out at Lowndes Grove Plantation, which is a beautiful venue with a view of the water. The chefs broke out giant grills and cauldrons that made me smell like charred meats for days (which I was obviously ok with) and there was plenty of wine to go around.

The most interesting bite of this event was the charred cabbage from Michael and Tara Gallina of Vicia in St. Louis. They served it with a sauerkraut cream and pancetta and it was tangy, salty, and smoky without being meat! Mind fricken blown at what cabbage can do.

After Winederlust, I headed over to 82 Queen to take photos at their “Garden of the Good + Regal” party. Queen Street Hospitality was represented all around with food from Lowcountry Bistro, Swig & Swine, and 82 Queen of course. All the food was down home Southern, but with a twist. Swig & Swine somehow transformed beef pho into egg rolls, 82 Queen had a shrimp and grits bar, and Lowcountry Bistro has fresh ceviche as well as shrimp etouffee.

They also had sweet treats, such as the banana cream pie cup that was crunchy, creamy, and photographed beautifully! Everyone had a great time at this event because of the music, the food, and the gracious hosts!

Day 3: Photos at Business of Food & watching my bosses crush at Pecha Kucha

My next photography gig was at Business of Food, which was a Q&A session with chefs about their experiences in the industry. Before the panel started, the guests were treated to food from Dough Boyz and Braised in the South. Dough Boyz came to impress with their giant pizza oven inside a trailer and their Brussels sprout, pancetta, and truffle oil pizza, which was to die for. Braised in the South kept the indulgence going with their pulled pork mac and cheese topped with fried onion strings. Just the description of it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

After Business of Food, Charleston Music Hall was transformed for Pecha Kucha, which is a fast paced presentation, which the owners of Huriyali (my bad ass bosses Tom & Ruchi) were a part of. Each presenter told the story of their business and it was inspiring to see so many passionate people looking to make Charleston a better place.

The food was a collection of food trucks including Roti Rolls, Bac’n me Crazy, Lunchbox, and City Limits Barbecue. My favorite bite of the night was the Smoked Brisket Slider from City Limits Barbecue. The brisket was tender, the sauce was spicy, and the pickled onions added some tang.

Day 4: Photos at Iron Mixologist and North Charleston Night Bazaar

Saturday was definitely my favorite day of the festival. I started with taking photos at a cocktail competition at Williams Sonoma: Iron Mixologist. This was obviously right up my ally. The contestants, which happened to be all female bartenders, were challenged to create cocktails with a secret ingredient, all in 7 minutes flat. It was a very fast-paced event, so it was challenging, but exciting to take photos of. In the end, Caroline Woodruff of Proof was crowned the champion because she was able to truly highlight the secret ingredient in each drink.

North Charleston Night Bazaar was hands-down my favorite event of the festival. We got to Night Bazaar early to help set up, and you could feel the energy as soon as you walked in. The DJ was killing it with the music and people were out on the dance floor immediately. The energy of this event was a dream come true for me, because I like to bust a move every once in a while as well as eat international food.

Another highlight of this event was that I got to geek out over meeting one of the judges on Chopped: Maneet Chauhan. She was a super sweet person and her authentic Indian street food (panipuri) was fresh and bright! I also had cold, spicy noodles from Jimmy Bannos Sr. of Heaven on Seven that were bursting with international flavors.

Day 5: Being a Guest at the Culinary Village and closing it out at Toasted

Sunday was my day to enjoy the Culinary Village as a guest, and I was lucky enough to have my whole family join me! As soon as I walked in, my mom was ready to hit the tequila, my dad the wine, and my brother all the food in sight. We simply had to get the wine yokes just to look like an even more ridiculous squad walking around.

I started off with a chorizo breakfast taco, which really fueled me for the 5 hours of eating and drinking ahead. Next, we watched the burger bash and were hand delivered burgers to snack on, which was ideal! After walking 6 miles a day during the festival, it was nice to take a load off and watch people cook burgers.

As the day went on, the lines got longer and the people more impatient. Luckily, since I had been at the Culinary Village the past couple days, I knew where to go to avoid the lines and get the most food I possibly could. My family and I had a great time at the Culinary Village and I’m so glad I was able to give them the inside scoop on this event.

To cap everything off, my intern buddy Zoe and I went to Toasted with the rest of the staff that made this festival possible. It was bittersweet as we were all congratulating each other on the success of the festival and thinking back on all the hard work that went into it. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience as an intern, photographer, and guest at?this festival and I hope to be involved again next year! Cheers to year 13!

12 Must Not Miss Charleston, SC Area Food Deals

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Every day is an adventure in Charleston, South Carolina.? In a foodie wonderland such as we are in this little Southern Slice of Heaven, finding that truly great food deal is a treasure.

Like any great pirate treasure, it must begin with a map.? Your map has arrived.? Here is a list of nine (9) great food days you cannot miss here in Charleston.

Twelve (12) Great Charleston, SC Area Food Deals

Downtown Charleston

  • Fast and French – 98 Broad Street, Charleston, SC – Fondue Thursdays – Choice of 6 types of fondue with choice of soup or salad and assorted breads – $15.50 – $16.00 – Great for sharing
  • Tommy Condon’s Irish Pub – 160 Church Street, Charleston, SC – $12.99 All You Can Eat Fish and Chips every Friday
  • Bay Street Biergarten – 549 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC – Half Price Burger Night on Mondays
  • Rutledge Cab Company – 1300 Rutledge Avenue, Charleston, SC – $5.00 Burgers All Day and Night every Monday
  • Edmunds Oast – 1081 Morrison Drive, Charleston, SC – Sundays and Mondays – Half Price Bottles of Wine (Even the Big Bottles
  • Brown Dog Deli –?225 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC – Half Price Burgers Every Friday

North Charleston

  • Sake House – 4952 Centre Point Drive #112, North Charleston, SC / 9770 Dorchester Road, Unit 103, Summerville, SC – Selected Sushi Rolls and Appetizers – Half Price after 3:00 PM every Tuesday

Mount Pleasant

West Ashley

  • Early Bird Diner – 1644 Savannah Highway, West Ashley, SC – $5.00 All You Can Eat Pancakes every Friday (Note:? They are open until 3 AM on Friday, but the special ends at midnight)

Folly Beach

  • Snapper Jack’s – 10 Center Street, Folly Beach, SC – Half Price on All Sushi Rolls and Special Appetizers on Thursday

James Island

  • The Lowdown Oven & Bar – 967 Folly Road, James Island, SC – Half Price wine and half price specialty pizza pie every Wednesday all day long


Daily Charleston Deals

Charleston Brunch Guide

Enjoy these great deals, Charleston style

Culinary Bliss at The Barbadoes Room at The Mills House Hotel | Charleston, South Carolina

Where To Eat in Charleston, South Carolina: The Barbadoes Room is the restaurant at The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel in downtown Charleston featuring culinary creations by Executive Chef Justin Hunt.
Provided by Travelling Foodie – Read More at the Official Travelling Foodie Digital Journal Site

The Barbaedos Room is the restaurant at The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. Located on the foodie street (Queen Street between Meeting and King Streets) along with Husk and Poogan’s Porch, the Barbadoes Room serves fine American cuisine with Southern hospitality on a relaxed Caribbean atmosphere.

You can enter the restaurant from the inside of the Mills House Hotel or outside through the beautiful Fountain Courtyard, where you can also enjoy your food.

Fountain Courtyard at The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel

The inside is spacious and brightly lit with natural light from the glass walls separating the fountain courtyard.

Inside of The Barbadoes Room

The menu is not overwhelming, a simple one-pager broken down into sections: shared, soups and salads, and entrees. Portions are generous and prices are very reasonable.

When you’re trying the culinary creations of Executive Chef Justin Hunt, who has worked in places like Celebrity Chef Bobby Flay’s Bar American and Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry, you know you’re in for a treat!

When in Charleston, you must try She Crab Soup, a regional specialty that’s a cross between chowder and bisque using the region’s famous blue crab. The soup had a good amount of sweet blue crab meat on flavourful creamy soup.

Oysters, she crab soup, scallops at The Barbadoes Room in The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
She Crab Soup ($7) – lump crab salad, fresh chives; Oysters on the Half Shell; Seared Scallops

Our fresh oysters came from Rhode Island. I kind of wish we were served local oysters instead since Charleston has an abundance of oysters.

Oysters at The Barbadoes Room in The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
Oysters on the Half Shell ($22) – 12pcs with jalapeno-champagne mignonette and pepper vodka cocktail sauce

If you’ve been following my food journey on Instagram, you know how much I love scallops!

The scallops here are a must-order! Four pieces of perfectly seared scallops with caviar and black garlic brings a burst of umami in your mouth. With scallops this good, you might want to get shellfish with it. ??

Seared Scallops at The Barbadoes Room in The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
Seared Scallops ($15) – sunchoke, radish, black garlic, horseradish, caviar

If you like pasta, their tagliatelle is made in-house and cooked al dente with generous portions of clams and black truffle, though I would’ve loved it more with less salt.

Clams Tagliatelle at The Barbadoes Room in The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
Tagliatelle and Clams ($26) – local clams, black truffle, turnip greens, chorizo

If you’re looking for quick and simple, or want a #foodporn photo for Instagram, you’ll want to try the Mills House Burger with its thick Rosewood Farms American wagyu.

You can really taste the difference in meat quality here unlike other wagyu burgers I’ve tried where the patty tastes just like normal burgers. The applewood bacon was also made perfectly crispy that it’s actually hard to not eat it on its own.

My 16-year-old cousin, who’s very picky with food and would choose not to finish something he didn’t like, devoured the burger in record time!

Mills House Burger at The Barbadoes Room in The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
Mills House Burger ($15) – Rosewood Farms American wagyu, pimento cheese, applewood bacon, tomato jam, brioche

Another must-order here is their Pork Shank. It was fall-off-the-bone tender and very meaty.

As I mentioned, the prices here are very reasonable and the portions are good. This $22 pork shank is a clear example. We went to another restaurant the night before and tried the Pork Osso Bucco, which is also pork shank. For $26, the size was much smaller, and the quality was nowhere near as close as this one.

Pork Shank at The Barbadoes Room in The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
Southeast Family Farms Pork Shank ($22) – IPA braised, new potato, carrot, mushroom, pearl onion

If there’s only one thing you can order here, it’s the Delmonico Ribeye. It’s seriously one of the best steaks I’ve had. Perfectly cooked to my doneness, the steak was tender and very marbled all the way through.

Another important thing to note here is that this is 20oz of pure ribeye unlike other steakhouses where a big bone is part of the weight.

Travelling Foodie Tip: Ask for the sauce to be on the side instead. I find with this quality of meat, little to no sauce is needed but it’s still good to try the sauce to get a different flavour.

Ribeye at The Barbadoes Room in The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
Delmonico Ribeye ($43) – 20oz, heirloom fingerling potatoes, haricot verts, rainbow chard, mushroom au poivre

As we were there during the holidays, we were surprised to learn that their dessert menu changes.

Chocolate Cake at The Barbadoes Room in The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
Chocolate Cake ($7)

Since we went during the Christmas season, they had Eggnog Cheesecake to celebrate the festive season. It’s my first time having Eggnog Cheesecake and it was definitely a sweet way to end the meal.

Eggnog Cheesecake at The Barbadoes Room in The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
Eggnog Cheesecake ($7)

The Barbadoes Room is definitely one of the rare hotel restaurants where we enjoyed every dish that we tried. Even my 10-year-old cousin, who barely cares about restaurants, remembers The Barbadoes Room and said I should recommend it to my followers.

Have you tried The Barbadoes Room? Do you consider it one of the best restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina?

9 Awesome Foodie Things in Charleston, SC You Should Try

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By Mark A. Leon

With so many food options in Charleston and so much being thrown at you, we thought we would introduce 10 items, you may not know about that will leave you wanting more.? Some are simple; some complex, but all explosive in flavor and freshness.

Get ready to whet your palate.

9 Awesome Foodie Things in Charleston, SC

  • Lobster Roll (167 Raw – 289 East Bay Street) – It goes without saying that 167 Raw has gained quite a reputation since it expanded from its flagship location in Nantucket, MA.? Their reputation has extended far past the city limits.? All their seafood is fresh and savory, but the Lobster Roll is an explosion of goodness.? If you are feeling generous, this is one dish that can even be shared.

    The Lobster Roll – 167 Rawshared.
  • Shrimp and Grits (La Tabella – 979 Harborview Road, Charleston, SC) -Sautéed shrimp, bacon, peppers, onions, hot Italian sausage in cream sauce over grits.? If you ask about food in Charleston, Shrimp and Grits is always at the top of the list.? There are close to 200 restaurant offerings of this Southern delight.? La Tabella, takes an extra step combining the Southern flare of the dish with their own Italian spin.? Made in a brown cream sauce and combining bacon and hot Italian sausage, this will leave positive shivers on your taste buds.

    Onion Soup Gratinee – 39 Rue de Jeanwith the shrimp, this is one memorable dish.? Here is the trick, you can only get it on Sunday brunch.
  • The Burrito (Minero – 153 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC) – This Mexican slice of heaven is affectionately known at “The Burrito”.? Here is what you get:? queso de Oaxaca, crema, hoppin john, avocado, poblano and you add charcoaled chicken, Achiote pork, or grilled steak.? Did we add, it is grilled just right.? Share this please, because it is a big one.? Every bite will engulf you with every ingredient layered inside this monstrously delicious burrito.
  • Seafood Normandy – Fast and French (Gaulart & Maliclet) (98 Broad Street, Charleston, SC) – This truly authentic French bistro is tiny in size, but delivers big in taste and customer service.? There are so many items that will make you yearn for the view of the Eiffel Tower, but the Seafood Normandy, is a meal to write home about.? Shrimp, scallops and fish broiled in a white wine and cream sauce with steamed vegetables, soup or salad and assorted breads.? This meal will take you back to the old country.? A true french delight.

Bon Appétit

Thai Coconut Coffee with Tapio Boba – Tapio

10 Must Have Appetizers / Snacks in Charleston, South Carolina

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By Mark A. Leon

How often is the appetizer the must indulgent part of the meal?? The savory essence of a truly amazing dining experience.? Often times, restaurants will offer up a preamble that outshines the meal, a piece of culinary heaven let us say.? There are some appetizers/snacks in the Low country that truly define the culinary arts in this foodie haven we call Charleston, SC.? We want to offer up some of the most indulgent, flavorful starters to whet your appetite.

We spoke to a number of locals and got their opinions and they were enthusiastic and ready to spill the beans on some of the best starter dishes.

This list is a keeper.? Spoiler alert, some of these items may raise your calories or cholesterol intake levels for the day.? You have been warned.

  • Hush Puppies (Corn)Harold’s Cabin: 247 Congress Street, Charleston, SC – Corn hush puppies with pepper jam.? First, this is a meal in itself.? Each large hush puppy rests perfectly in the jam and celebrates the flavor of corn mashed and fried with extreme care.? This will only set you back $5.00.
  • Oysters RockefellerOak Steakhouse: 17 Broad Street, Charleston, SC – Guests are fortunate to be able to purchase a single Oyster Rockefeller for $3.00 each.? Whether you order one or six, each order is treated with dignity and pride.? These oysters are large and robust and deserve to come with an audience.? This indulgent treat is a must to begin your dining experience at Oak.
  • Scotch EggSpero: 616 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC – Disclaimer:? This is not a regular menu item, but if you are lucky enough to be at Spero on an evening it is being offered, you will consider yourself lucky.? It is described by one local as a “perfect molten 4 minute egg inside.? It’s a feat of modern cooking”.
  • Tuna LollipopsSol Southwest Kitchen: 1101 Stockade Lane, Mount Pleasant, SC – This dish is prepared with sushi-grade tuna, panko breaded, spicy
    Lobster Mac n' Cheese - Halls Chophouse
    Lobster Mac n’ Cheese – Halls Chophouse

    ponzu, creamy ginger cilantro sauce.? A regular offered up this to say, “They melt in your mouth.? They are crunchy and yummy.? I can’t get enough.”? This starter will cost $12.00.

  • Lobster Mac n’ CheeseHalls Chophouse:? 434 King Street, Charleston, SC – This accompany side dish at $20.00 is a rich and succulent addition to any meal at Halls.? Known for fine steaks and customer service along with an award winning menu, there are no bad selections, but if you only order one add on, make it this marriage of two of the most wonderful foods in the world.
  • Fried CalamariGrill 225:? 225 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC – The lightly fried calamari is prepared with sauteed peppers, white wine and garlic.? As a very proud Charleston foodie explained, “the garlic provides the zest that sets it apart.”? This starter is $14.00
  • Sweet Potato Fries at Sesame Burgers and Beer: 3 Area Locations? – Who doesn’t love sweet potato fries?? I certainly do.? If you have the ability to prepare a mouth watering batch, you have my vote.? These soft and only slightly crunchy pairings to many of the main dishes offers unique flavoring and topped to perfection with a dusting of fresh parmesan.
  • GyozaCo: 340 King Street, Charleston, SC – The pork and ginger gyoza sided with a soy scallion sauce set the Co gyoza apart from the fine offerings of Ichiban and Basil.? When asked why, a local resident replied, “It reminds me of ravioli or stuffed pastas which I love and when dipped, the flavors pop.”? This dish will start your evening at $5.00.
  • Ceviche167 Raw:? 289 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC –? This $14.00 dish changes daily.? So that being said, how can we add it to the list of some of our favorites if it changes?? Very simple, quality of ingredients and masterful understanding of how to make a truly memorable ceviche.? Starting with the homemade chips that are lightly toasted with the thickness and texture of pita and then add some of the freshest seafood and ingredients Charleston offers and you will walk away so very happy.
  • Beet SaladMaybank Public House: 1970 Maybank Highway, James Island, SC – Fresh Roasted Beets, Warm Pecan Encrusted Goat Cheese, Harit Coverts, Arugula, Maple Vinaigrette.? This is a insatiably refreshing and zesty salad at any time of day

There are more.? So many more.? Why rattle your brain risking the potential of a bad start to your evening.? Use this list.? Use it wisely as it comes with great power to satisfy.

Bon Appetite

Gyoza - Co
Gyoza – Co


9 More Cultural Things You Need to Know About Charleston, SC

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By Mark A. Leon

It is time for our second installment of Charleston awareness.? In our first piece, we provided informative tips about the culture of Charleston, SC, the element rarely found on visitor bureau websites or brochures (See Link Below).? We would like to add some additional cultural nuances to assist as you consider Charleston as place to visit or live.

  • Charleston loves to brag about themselves. Anytime there is an honor for “Best of”, we promote it with diligence and vigor.? Whether that is a banner streamed across a fence, a press release or abundant social chatter, Charleston loves to taut its own horn.? On the opposite end of the spectrum, it is also an area that brushes bad news under the rug (poor academic ranking, dangerous driving conditions or high taxation)
  • Outsiders are not welcome. There is a notion of “Southern Charm” and “Southern Hospitality” that comes with the territory, but make no mistake, locals born and raised in this Southern area, do not welcome outsiders well. ?Look closely at Meetup groups, Facebook social and singles groups, and comments about Northerners being the blame for everything.? You will find that the most that struggle to gain social acceptance are outsiders trying to fit in with the locals.
  • We speak very openly about acceptance and how we bonded together after Emanuel Nine regardless of race or background. Yet, our mayor and the media speak animatedly spoke of the injustices in Charlottesville.? This type of behavior is consistent with a geography that struggles with similar issues.? As the wealth and poverty gap continues to widen with the heaviest wealth among white residents, the tensions will continue to mount.
  • Flooding is not a rarity, but an everyday part of our lifestyle. It is not exclusive to rain or tropical storms, but can be induced by even high tide.
  • Charleston does not embrace conservationism or recycling well. It exists, but the percentage of people that adhere to it completely, is limited.
  • The Lowcountry has a prominent and extremely talented theater scene, but it is not embraced as well as it should. For many theaters, patronage struggles.
  • Food is celebrated in Charleston, but it lacks variety with a huge gap in the ethnic food space.
  • Charleston is well behind in parking reform with parking meters lacking pay and reloading apps or credit card options and the city is filled with inconsistent parking rules and times for the residential streets.
  • Brunch is a holiday both on Saturday and Sunday. On either day, you can find 120+ brunch options.

Thinking about moving to Charleston? Get to know the culture first

One Mount Pleasant, SC Restaurant Named to Condé Nast Traveler Best in the World

By Mark A. Leon

Condé Nast Traveler just announced the 207 best restaurants in the world to dine at and one area restaurant made the list.? Before we go there let us see how the rest of the United States faired (Then again the image at the top may have given it away for some).

19 – New York
14 – California
3 – Illinois
3 – Massachusetts
3 – Texas
2 – Washington State
2 – Louisiana
2 – Georgia
1 – Florida
1 – Hawaii
1 – Indiana
1 – Maryland
1 – Nevada
1 – Oregon
1 – Pennsylvania
1 – South Carolina
1 – Tennessee
1 – Virginia
1 – Vermont

Total:? 60 (29% of World Total)

South Carolina is represented by:? The Wreck of Richard and Charlene

Congratulations to all the amazing people at The Wreck that share the love of coastal dining right here in Mount Pleasant.


Full Menu




Best Shrimp and Grits Recipes on Pinterest


Sometimes you just don’t want to go to one of the hundred plus restaurants in the Lowcountry that offer Shrimp and Grits.? There are those days where you feel you creative juices flowing and you want to convert your kitchen to a Southern cooking paradise.

We found some of the best Shrimp and Grits recipes on Pinterest to share with you.

Grab the one you love or some close friends and impress them with a great Southern? dinner.

Happy Cooking.

Cheesy Shrimp and Grits –

Cajun Shrimp and Grits –

Smothered Shrimp with Andouille Sausage and Creamy Parmesan Peppercorn Grits –

Cheesy Shrimp and Grits –

Bobby’s Lighter Shrimp and Grits – Deen Bros

Southern Style Shrimp and Grits –

Voodoo Shrimp and Grits –

Shrimp and Grits: A Lowcountry Classic –

Spicy Shrimp and Grits Casserole with gouda cheese –

Gouda Grits with Smoky Brown Butter Shrimp –

Caribbean Shrimp and Grits –

Three Cheese Shrimp and Grits –

Cajun Shrimp and Grits with Garlic Kale –

Bon Appetite