For nearly two decades, the Old Post Office on Edisto Island had people lining up around the block, waiting to get inside for modern Southern fare like corn and crabmeat chowder or Orangeburg onion sausage. Over the years, Chef Philip Bardin accumulated a legion of fans and was well-liked for his winning personality in addition to his tasty food.
The restaurant first took over Edisto's old post office (literally) in the late 80s. By the time I arrived in the Lowcountry in the late 90s, the place was legendary. We wrote stories about its popularity and sent writers to visit. The last time we reviewed the restaurant — in 2005, I think? — our critic praised the food but complained about the dated dining room. It was still decked out in the teal and mauve colors of the 80s.
It wasn't too long before the restaurant closed, leaving Edisto without a serious dining option. In 2007, locals Adam and Toniann Morris took over the space and have spent the last two years renovating and updating it. Gradually, the big hair and shoulder pad look gave way to a sleek, modern silhouette. The thoroughly updated dining room features dark wood floors and soothing blue walls, a perfect backdrop for the new menu.
The Morrises are not restaurant people by trade. They have both had careers in education, but they tapped Phil Bardin to return to run the kitchen. With his help, they've created a new menu that hews close to the old — local ingredients, traditional southern dishes, modern flair. The menu looks great: crispy duck livers, fresh smoked fish, shrimp paté, and grilled quail legs are just some of the appetizers. The entrees range from Firecracker Flounder (with jalapeno tomato sauce) and Veal Edistonian (pecan-coated cutlet) to crispy Grand Marnier chicken and pork ribeyes in country ham gravy.
They reopened on April 21st, and if their phone message is any indication, they've already got lines out the door. We'll be visiting them soon to get a full report. They're open for dinner Tues.-Sat.