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

The Getaway: Light, Bright Bites and Cocktails

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By Cookin’ With Booze – Elise DeVoe

New restaurants are popping up left and right in Charleston, and even though I have barely scratched the surface of visiting the long-established restaurants; one of the new ones usually catches my eye and I have to go check them out (for journalistic purposes). In this case, the Getaway, a Latin American-themed restaurant run by two lady bosses, peaked my interest. They’re answering the call of Charleston locals begging for a break from shrimp and grits and transporting them with bright, authentic cocktails and food from their travels to South America and beyond.? I sat down with the owner Genevieve Mashburn to learn more about the inspiration behind the Getaway and their must-try bites and cocktails.

The Vibes

When you walk into the Getaway, your eyes are drawn to the bar and the shelves bursting with exotic liquors. The setting is intimate with ambient lighting and small tables fit for sharing bites with friends. Although I loved the inside of the Getaway, as the weather warms up I am more drawn toward their patio. They have a movie night out there every Monday, as well as ? off pi?a coladas for fellow F&B folks. Drinking one of their refreshing cocktails while enjoying some sunshine sounds like the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

The food

Executive Chef Emily Hahn is the brains behind the operation in the back of the house, and she is given freedom to create dishes inspired by her travels on a daily basis. Genevieve explained that Chef Emily’s style of cooking was the perfect match for this concept, and she proves it with the food she’s producing.

Usually when I take my first bite of a dish, it takes a second to register the flavors. With the Chilean fish soup, I was immediately hit with the bright, acidic, broth that kept me coming back for more. From the tender shrimp to the crispy crust on the fish, each protein was cooked to perfection. It was served with Chapa bread, which was like biting into a fluffy biscuit, but that biscuit was filled with bread. It was bread-ception people. This dish encapsulated Chef Emily’s style of cooking, which is local, light, bright, and comforting.

The second dish I tried was Chef Emily’s signature empanadas. She is known as the Empanada Mama, so I knew they were going to be authentic and tasty to boot. The fillings of the day were sweet potato and goat cheese and Tamarind Barbecue chicken with saffron rice and peas. The crust on the empanadas was like biting into a flaky and buttery pie; filled with savory goodness. The sweet potato and goat cheese was my favorite of the two because the creamy filling mixed with the crispy crust was a great combination.

Authentic cocktails with a twist

The Getaway has classic cocktails that we all recognize, such as a frozen pi?a colada, but they also have options where you won’t even recognize the names of the liquors. For me, this is exciting because I love learning about new liquors almost as much as I love drinking them!

I decided to try the Davy’s Sail, which was a Gin-based drink with Gran Classico bitters, lime, and coconut water. Their drink menu is seasonal, and this drink was suited for winter with its warm spices from the Gran Classico bitters. Although it was crafted for winter, this drink could carry on into spring because the coconut water lightened up the warm spices, making them subtle and refreshing.

add the getaway to your list!

If you haven’t stopped by The Getaway yet, get yourself over there ASAP. Whether you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere to get a drink or trying to shake up your usual restaurant routine, they have you covered. They’re bringing their international flavors to Upper King; nestled where you normally wouldn’t find them. Stay tuned because Genevieve and Chef Emily have plans to continue to push the boundaries and represent as lady bosses in the Charleston community.

Cookin’ With Booze Official Website

Case Study: Cost of Dining in Charleston, South Carolina

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By Mark A. Leon

It is no surprise that prices are rising in the Holy City.? Just South of the Crosstown, we found a 3 bedroom 2 1/2 bath apartment for $3600 a month.? A half a dozen years ago, I don’t think I would ever be having the conversation that compared Charleston prices to Chicago, New York or San Francisco, but we are.? We thought we would do a virtual dining crawl and show you what the cost of dining out in Charleston will be if you are going to make a night out on the town.

A few variables are important to know:

  • Restaurant food tax is 10.5%
  • Restaurant Alcohol tax is 15%
  • We are factoring in 20% for tip.
  • We will be dining for two this evening

Here we go: Scenario #1 – Four Courses – Lower Meeting Street / Market District

  • Two cocktails at Zero George – They recommend the ‘Reserve Old Fashioned’ (Hibiki Harmony Whiskey | Angostura Bitters | Demerara Sugar | Orange Pee) – Cost:? $20.00 – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $54.00
  • Appetizer and two Winter cocktails at Fig – Ricotta Gnocchi & Lamb Bolognese ($18.00) and Crudo of Maine Diver Scallop ($16.00) / Fancy Dive and Zebra Question Cocktails ($23.00 Total) – Total Cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $76.62
  • Appetizer (shared), Entrees and two glasses of wine Hank’s Seafood – Shared Tuna Tartar Appetizer ($17.00),? Swordfish ($26.00) and Seafood A La Wando ($32.00) / (Riesling and Super Tuscan ($23.00 Total for 2) – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $135.24
  • Two desserts and two coffees at Slightly North of Broad – Warm Sour Cream Apple Pie and Banana Creme Pie ($19.00 for both) – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $33.79

Total Cost for the Evening: $304.65 (Average $15.00 for parking)

Scenario #2 – F Courses – Upper King (Valet in most places is between $5.00 – $8.00 on Upper King Street)

  • Two Cocktails at The Ordinary – Mai Tai ($15.00) and Milk Punch ($14.00) – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $40.02
  • Shared Appetizer and two cocktails at 492 King Restaurant – Confit Wings ($11.00) / Festivus Punch ($10.00) and Disco Sour ($10.00) – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $42.03
  • 4 Sushi Rolls and two glasses of wine at O-Ku – Black Dragon Roll ($18.00), Surf & Turf Roll ($16.00), Kani Crown Roll ($14.00) and Green Dragon Roll ($18.00) / Cabernet and Chardonney ($24.00 Total) – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $120.20
  • Entrees and two glasses of wine at Cannon Green – Montana Beef Medallion ($34.00) and Coho Salmon ($29.00) / BR Cohn Cabernet 2014 ($14.00) and Domaine Servin “Les Pargues Chablis 2014 ($16.00) – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $124.56
  • Dessert and Coffee at Stars Restaurant (Rooftop) – Smoked Chocolate S’More Pie ($9.95) and Homemade Cast Iron Apple Crisp ($9.75) / French Press Coffee Service ($11.95) – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $41.78

Total Cost for the Evening: $372.59 (Average $15.00 for parking)

Lighter Side Scenarios

  • Two Appetizers and Mid Level Bottle of Wine at Magnolias – Seared Crab Cakes ($15.00) and BBQ Duck Confit ($14.00) / Turley “Juvenile” 2014 Zinfandel – $66.00 – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $129.36
  • Two Glasses of Wine at High Cotton – Hess Chardonnay ($14.00) and Krutz Cellers Cabernet ($15.00) – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $40.02
  • Two Cocktails at The Spectator – Hoodoo Carre (Hoodoo Liqueur | *Calhoun’s Rye | Sherry Brandy | Ancho Reyes | Benedictine | Creole Bitters | Peychaud Bitters) and Zozzled and Zonked (*Gentry Bourbon | Armagnac | Lustau Pedro Ximenez Sherry | Chestnut-Black Pepper Puree | House Smoked Bitters) – $14.00 Each – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $38.64
  • Charcuterie and Cheese Plate and Bottle of Wine at The Grand Bohemian – Charcuterie and Cheese Plate ($24.00) / Cakebread Cellers Chardonnay 2013 ($80.00) – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $142.08

This is a sampling of the cost of dining in Charleston, South Carolina.? It is not for the weak of wallet.? Some would argue equitable, while others robbery.? There is no right or wrong answer in a capitalistic economy.? This is a reflection of the changing ecosystem of the City of Charleston.


CurEat – the innovative new restaurant app designed to help residents and travelers now available for Charleston

CurEat?– the innovative new restaurant app designed to help residents and travelers discover a great place to dine and drink – became available in the iTunes App Store January 2017. CurEat provides trustworthy, curated lists of award-winning, independent and time-honored restaurants in over 60 cities across the United States, and empowers users to create and share their own lists. This week, CurEat introduces its Charleston “CurEaters” – food and beverage pros and tastemakers – and their restaurant recommendations.?The Charleston CurEat app will officially launch during DIG SOUTH’s Innovation Conference, April 25-27.

Created by entrepreneur, world traveler, and passionate diner?Steve Mangano (also a DIG ICON speaker!), CurEat fills a void in the dining app world, now dominated by negative, customer-driven reviews and inferior restaurant lists. With a background in the hospitality industry, Mangano’s inspiration for this app is the direct result of his desire to more easily discover “the place” to eat while traveling as well as support independent restaurants.

Restaurant lists are a core feature of the app.?Users may create and share restaurant recommendations with followers. The app allows you to easily make your lists for different cities and share them within the app, or via text message or email. Lists may reflect any topic, from the “Best Restaurants for Fried Chicken” to “Where to Eat with the Kids.” The app refines your restaurant searches based on the lists you make and the lists you follow, further curating lists of restaurants you may wish to discover.

CurEat is an official Launch Sponsor at DIG ICON — conference attendees will be able to test out the app with Stanfield and Steve in-person!?

CurEaters offer a unique feature within the app.?They represent a cross-section of each community, and include prominent chefs, bartenders, artisans and tastemakers in the area. CurEaters’ restaurant lists are visible to all users, and thereby, influence the restaurant searches within each area. CurEaterAshley Christensen?– a?James Beard Foundation?winning chef and owner of?Poole’s Downtown Diner, Fox Liquor Bar, Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, Chucks and Death & Taxes in Raleigh, NC, was among the first CurEaters in CurEat.

Initial CurEaters in the Charleston area include:

Charleston Wine+ Food Festival
John Lewis, Lewis Barbecue
Jill Mathias, Chez Nous
Craig Deihl, Cypress Restaurant, Artisan Meat Share
Jacques Larson, Wild Olive, Obstinate Daughter
Jason Stanhope, FIG
Karalee Nielsen Fallart, Monza, Taco Boy, Closed For Business, The Royal American, The Park Café, The Green Heart Project
Lauren Mitterer, Wildflour Bakery
Randi Weinstein, This is Fab
Ryan Casey, The Dewberry
Stanfield Gray, DIG SOUTH?
Terry Fox, Charleston Arts Festival, PURE Theatre, Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, Charleston Creative Parliament
Tim Hussey, Artist Studio Hussey

Find CurEat in the iTunes store here?and register for DIG SOUTH’s Innovation Conference?by April 24 to save $200!?

Link to the App Page – CurEat

Charleston’s Bertha’s Kitchen Named One of the Five Recipients of the 2017 James Beard Foundation America’s Classics Award

New York, NY? (Restaurant News Release)? The James Beard Foundation announced today the five recipients of its 2017 America’s Classics award. The America’s Classics award is given to restaurants that have timeless appeal and are cherished for quality food that reflects the character of their community. The 2017 honorees join the ranks of nearly 100 restaurants that have received the award since the category was first introduced in 1998. This year’s winners will be celebrated at the 27th annual James Beard Foundation Awards Gala on Monday, May 1, 2017 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

“In an ever-changing culinary landscape, these honorees have created enduring restaurants and food establishments that have not only stood the test of time, but continue to bring people together in celebration of the unique flavors in America’s vast food scene,” says Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation. “James Beard would have admired how each of these honorees authentically reflects the character and hospitality of their communities.”

The 2017 James Beard Foundation America’s Classics award winners are:

Bertha’s Kitchen (2332 Meeting Street Road, Charleston, SC; Owners: Julia Grant, Linda Pinckney and Sharon Coakley)

On North Meeting Street, the flavors of the Lowcountry boldly emanate from this robin’s-egg-blue spot, where Albertha Grant first opened shop in 1980. Her presence is still felt each time a cook hefts a stewpot to the stove and tosses in a seasoning hunk of sidemeat. Vibrant?family portraits by Charleston?muralist Charles DeSaussure line the walls. Today, her daughters Julia Grant, Linda Pinckney, and Sharon Coakley serve fried whiting, fried pork chops, red rice, prioleau rice, stewed chicken neck with gizzards and lima beans. Regulars queue the cafeteria line before eleven each morning. Construction workers exit with foam clamshells of Gullah excellence. Okra soup, a dark garlicky stew, thick with tomatoes, and clods of pork in a richly aromatic broth, is worth the trip alone. This soulful restaurant connects modern diners with traditional food ways and shines as a paragon of the region’s living culinary history.

Gioia’s Deli (1934 Macklind Avenue, St. Louis, MO; Owner: Alex Donley)

For a century, Gioia’s has been a fixture of the Hill, the neighborhood that is the heart of St. Louis’ Italian-American community. First it served the community as a grocery store, run by Marcallo, Italy, native Challie Gioia. Since Cathy Donley bought it in 1980, the building, built from brick and wood from the 1904 World’s Fair, has functioned as a lunch restaurant. Through it all, the recipe for Gioia’s signature hot salami hasn’t changed. The salami is hot as in temperature, not as in spice. That said, the (mostly) secret blend of pork-head meat, beef and seasonings packs a peppery bite. It’s a fresh, boiled sausage, with a texture like coarse paté and a flavor that is porky, earthy, a little funky. Topped with the city’s beloved cheese, Provel, it’s a dish that has traveled from Italian to Italian-American to thoroughly St. Louisan.

La Taqueria (2889 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA; Owner: Miguel Jara)

The Mission-style burrito is a beloved expression and encapsulation of Mexican-American culinary heritage in the Bay Area. Burrito connoisseurs endlessly debate which taqueria makes the definitive version of the foil- wrapped, all-in-one meal of meats, beans, rice, cheese, and more, wrapped in a whopper of a flour tortilla, and often called a “silver torpedo,” Through the years, La Taqueria has stood out as a standard-bearer, and a barometer upon which to argue over other burritos. Jara is from villa Guerrero, Jalisco and grew up in Tijuana. The burritos he serves are not of any specific region of Mexico. At his counter-service restaurant, filled with simple wooden tables, Jara rejects the beans-and-rice approach, doubles down on the meat, and griddles his burritos golden-brown. Discussions about the merits and culture of the burrito form always, at some point, lead to La Taqueria, where the line to get gets more and more absurd as time goes by, but the quality stays high.

Sahadi’s (187 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY; Owners: Christina Sahadi Whelan and Ron Sahadi)

Atlantic Avenue, between the waterfront and the terminal is Brooklyn’s fertile crescent, a cluster of Middle Eastern restaurants, groceries, bakeries and sundry shops. Sahadi’s, at the heart of this micro-neighborhood, has a New York root system that dates to the late 19th century, when Abrahim Sahadi first set up shop in downtown Manhattan. Charlie Sahadi and his brother Bob Sahadi, direct descendants of Abraham, ran the business for more than 50 years with help from Charlie’s wife Audrey before handing the reigns to Charlie’s daughter Christine Whelan and son Ron Sahadi in 2016. Today, Sahadi’s is a bulk bin wonderland, packed with locals scooping through glass jars of amaranth, pistachios, dried figs, spices, and roasted coffee, or loading their carts with pantry goods like pomegranate molasses and Middle Eastern cheeses. It all comes together in the deli, where the family stocks multiple varieties of rich, tangy labneh, vats of creamy hummus and delicious seasonal salads as well as stocking the bakery with flaky borekas and baklava, harissa-drenched lavash and Middle Eastern breads.

Schultz’s Crab House (1732 Old Eastern Avenue, Essex, MD; Owners: Karen and Bob McKinney

Schultz’s, a quintessential Maryland crab house, opened in 1950 as a cafe and lounge, run by Mildred and William Schultz. Karen and Bob McKinney took over in 1969. Their children, led by son Steve McKinney, still operate the restaurant. Schultz’s resides in Essex, Maryland, a community flanked by estuaries of the Chesapeake Bay. An easy ten-mile drive from downtown Baltimore, the wood-paneled, nautical-themed dining room, where white butcher paper covers every table, sets the scene for a timeless seafood spread. In summer and fall, when Maryland crabs are at their finest, devoted regulars feast on locally caught swimmers plump with sweet meat and zinged with a house blend of spices. Regional classics, highlighting the Old Line State’s signature crustacean, fill out the menu, including jumbo lump and backfin crab cakes, crab fluff (a battered and deep-fried crab cake), and dairy-rich crab imperial.

To qualify for the America’s Classics award, establishments must have been in existence at least ten years and be locally owned. The honorees are selected each year by the James Beard Foundation’s Restaurant & Chef Awards committee, a group composed of restaurant critics, writers, editors and other experts. The selection process begins each fall with a public call for entries, allowing anyone the opportunity to suggest candidates for the awards.

On Tuesday, April 25, 2017, the James Beard Media Awards, an exclusive event honoring the nation’s top cookbook authors, culinary broadcast producers and hosts, and food journalists, will take place at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City.

The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala will be held at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 1, 2017. During the event, which is open to the public, awards for the Restaurant and Chef and Restaurant Design categories will be handed out, along with special achievement awards Humanitarian of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Design Icon, Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America, and America’s Classics. A gala reception will immediately follow, featuring top chefs and beverage professionals from across the country.

Established in 1990, the James Beard Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and furthers the Foundation’s mission to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone. Each award category has an individual committee made up of industry professionals who volunteer their time to oversee the policies, procedures, and selection of judges for their respective Awards program. All JBF Award winners receive a certificate and a medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia. There are no cash prizes.

The 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards are proudly hosted by Choose Chicago and presented in association with the Chicago Department of Aviation, HMSHost, the Illinois Restaurant Association and Mariano’s as well as the following partners: Premier Sponsors: All-Clad Metalcrafters, American Airlines, True Refrigeration?; Supporting Sponsors: Acqua Panna? Natural Spring Water, Breville, Meiomi, S.Pellegrino? Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, Skuna Bay Salmon, Valrhona; Gala Reception Sponsors: Ecolab, Kendall College, Windstar; with additional support from: Chefwear, VerTerra Dinnerware.

About the James Beard Foundation (JBF)

Founded in 1986, the James Beard Foundation celebrates, nurtures, and honors?chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone.?A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, the late James Beard was a champion of American cuisine. He helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts, instilling in them the value of wholesome, healthful, and delicious food. Today JBF continues in the same spirit by administering a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships for culinary students, publications, chef advocacy training, and thought-leader convening. The Foundation also maintains the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. For more information, please visit?jamesbeard.org. Get food news, recipes, and more at the James Beard Foundation’s?blog, or subscribe to the free digital newsletter?Beard Bites.?Follow @beardfoundation on?Facebook,?Twitter,?Instagram,?Pinterest, and Snapchat. Watch the James Beard House Kitchen Cam, James Beard Awards, and more on the Foundation’s?Livestream channel.?Find more JBF-related video on the Foundation’s YouTube?channels.

Mary Blanton Ogushwitz / Jane Shapiro

Little Jacks Tavern – Review and Dining Experience by KitchyLiving

Article and Photos by Sarah Snyder - KitchyLiving.com
Article and Photos by Sarah Snyder – KitchyLiving.com

Nestled on Upper King where the former St. Alban’s used to be is Little Jack’s Tavern. A quaint restaurant full of charm and that “way back when” feel. Upon walking in, I was greated by Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole belting out jazzy tunes instantly transporting me back in time. Their decor is sort of speakeasy meets horse and kennel club with green gingham tablecloths and bright red upholstered chairs. They have pictures of Frank Sinatra and other Crooners scattered about the walls schmoozing with famous starlets. It feels like a restaurant straight out of Guys and Dolls. The old soul inside of me died and went to heaven.

I met up with my friend Charlotte for Sunday lunch there and loved the ambiance. Honestly, there weren’t many people there at all and for the better part of our meal we had the whole restaurant to ourselves. However, I think their menu is more geared toward the dinner crowd. Next time I go, I will probably go back for dinner so I can try one of their delicious sounding cocktails.

For this visit however, I ordered the Vegetable Crudités served with a whipped Avocado Ranch dip and the Tavern Burger (hamburger slider with American cheese and sunchoke relish served on a sesame bun). The Crudités was made up of ?rainbow radishes, green beans, carrots, heirloom tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, and romaine hearts, sprinkled with salt, and served with a delicious whipped avocado dip. It was a fun way to eat my veggies as opposed to the typical mundane side salad.

The Tavern Burger was technically a slider, but the perfect portion for me. I don’t think I could have eaten the Jack’s Burger (dinner portion) without splitting it with someone. The burger itself was phenomenal. Cooked to perfection, topped with American cheese and sunchoke relish. The relish helped to balance the heaviness of the slider. I had never had sunchokes before, but turns out they are a relative of the artichoke family. After Googling “sunchoke relish” on the internet, I’ve come to find out that it’s a very popular item in Southern pantries. The relish itself had a sweet, mustardy flavor to it that complimented the burger nicely.

Charlotte ordered the Shrimp and Farro Salad which had shrimp, peas, asparagus, pistachios, and mint tossed into it. It boasted a great flavor, but was a tad bit over salted which detracted from the overall flavor. I think if I were to order that next time, I would ask for them to go light on the salt.

Overall, I loved the ambiance, our service was spectacular (Christopher rocks!), and I would highly recommend it to anyone in Charleston. I look forward to visiting again so I can sit at the bar and indulge in one of their cocktails. I think the Brown Derby may be calling my name. Thanks for a great experience, Little Jack’s! Or should I say, old sport…

Read more from KitchyLiving

Vegetable Crudités served with a whipped Avocado Ranch dip
Tavern Burger (hamburger slider with American cheese and sunchoke relish served on a sesame bun
Shrimp and Farro Salad which had shrimp, peas, asparagus, pistachios, and mint