Cheap Eats 

181 Palmer

Downtown - Modern American

Feel like being philanthropic? There’s no better way to support the up-and-coming generation of Charleston chefs than to eat their food. During Trident Tech’s semesters, students practice their newfound skills by cooking and operating their own restaurant, overseen by faculty member Chef Scott Stefanelli. For an unbeatable $15 three-course lunch, options range from appetizers of tuna carpaccio with mango, espelette, cucumber, lime, nuoc cham and crispy shallots, house-made charcuterie, local strawberry gazpacho, or smoked North Carolina trout with roasted sunchokes, asparagus, fried egg yolk and caper vinaigrette. And that’s just for starters. Entrée selections include grilled lamb loin, Keegan-Filion Farm chicken schnitzel or grass-fed beef short rib ravioli. It’s easy to forget 181 with its limited seating (be sure to make a reservation with Open Table) and very seasonal hours, but after indulging in this meal finished with orange and almond cake with rhubarb compote, ginger streusel, and marscarpone mousse, it will permanently be on your radar. —Katherine Connor Dish (Summer 2015)

A.C.'s Bar and Grill

Downtown - Pubs + Taverns

A.C.’s is a no-frills watering hole known for its satisfying slate of late-night eats and a brunch that’s a staple of downtown Sunday Fundays. The dive has endured highs and lows, but with a go-to Beer of the Month special, a small army of fast-moving bar staff, and plenty of Miller High Life, you can’t keep the crowds from the dimly-lit corners of this King Street mainstay. Of course, A.C.’s is still serving up their trademark cheesesteaks, burgers, and always-satisfying bar food that will fulfill even the booziest of cravings. Sunday Brunch at A.C.’s means chicken and waffles, beer, pool, and cheap mimosa pitchers. Pro tip: Try the hash brown casserole. —Sam Spence Dish (Summer 2015)

Ali Baba Mediterranean Deli & Catering

Daniel Island - Mediterranean

Ali Baba is a straight-up Mediterranean deli, featuring falafel, kebabs, beef shawarma, and a whole lot more. Owners Samir and Yasmeen Elzabidi are native Jordanians and have brought the flavors of not just their home country but the entire region to this stylish venture on Daniel Island. There are a few more Western preparations like panini and wraps, but the traditional Levantine favorites are what really shine: fattoush (bread salad), foul madamas (a fava bean dip), and perhaps the brightest, most addictive hummus in the Lowcountry. The deli’s vivid orange walls with red and blue accents are a fitting match to the bold, bright flavors of the food, and the big platters of lamb shanks, kibbi, or souvlaki with warm pita bread are perfect for a filling lunch. —Robert Moss Dish (Winter 2015)

Ali Baba Mediterranean Food

Mt. Pleasant - Mediterranean

This Ali Baba — not to be confused with the similarly named deli on Daniel Island — is a sit-down Mediterranean restaurant in Mt. Pleasant’s Village Pointe Shopping Center. Chef Ismail Araj serves an array of Middle Eastern classics varied enough to satisfy 40 thieves. They include savory shish kebab (lamb) and shish tawook (chicken), crisp kibby, and tender, aromatic kofta. Get things started with creamy hummus, lemon-tinged tabouli, and comforting lentil soup, or treat yourself to the Ali Baba Dinner for Two, a sampling of 10 dishes fit for a sheik. For dessert, the sweet pistachio- and cinnamon-laden baklava is perfectly delicate and not to be missed. —Robert Moss Dish (Winter 2015)

Amalfi's Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria

Mt. Pleasant - Italian

Amalfi’s small two-story space has bright yellow walls and tables upstairs and down, and its familiar canon of big Italian-American pasta dishes is about as straight-down-the-middle as it comes: lasagna, ziti, and ravioli with lots of bright red tomato sauce along with alfredo, marsala, and parmigiana. The oven-toasted subs are solid, and thin-crust New York-style pizza and stromboli round out the offerings. The daily lunch menu includes dozens of pasta, pizza, and sandwich choices for under eight bucks including a drink, making it one of the best bargains. Amalfi’s is hidden away in a hard-to-find spot at the back of Mt. Pleasant’s Belle Hall shopping center, but the fresh-made sauces and bread and the eminently reasonable prices make it well worth seeking out when you’re in the mood for a casual, homey Italian meal. —Robert Moss, Dish (Winter 2013)

Art's Bar & Grill

Mt. Pleasant - Pubs + Taverns

Most of the patrons of Art’s Bar & Grill go there for happy-hour beers or late-night Jäger shots, but wise eaters stop in at lunch because they know the secret. The lineup of fried seafood, burgers, and sandwiches looks run-of-the-mill at first glance, but everything is either made from scratch or brought in from great local purveyors, like barbecue from John G. and Irv at Charleston Bay Gourmet Catering, bread from Ashley Bakery, and pickles from the Charleston Pickle Co. You can always get a half-pound, cooked-to-order burger on a poppy seed bun or the delightful French dip. You might even call them works of art. —Robert Moss Dish (Winter 2015)

Black Bean Co.

Downtown - Cafés

Black Bean Co. calls itself Charleston’s “premium organic, all-natural, speedy service restaurant.” It’s the creation of Charleston native and Culinary Institute graduate Ellis Grossman, who eagerly offers healthy, ethical food, all at a reasonable price. Black Bean’s wraps roll up a variety of lean proteins, lettuces, and vegetables, fruits, nuts, cheeses, and legumes inside fresh tortillas. There are also healthy soups and salads made with fresh ingredients. And the smoothies are a great option in the summer heat. Chef Grossman continues to serve up the goods from his incredibly popular upper King St. location and out on James Island. There’s now even a Black Bean in Columbia. Cue the American fast-food takeover. —Sam Spence Dish (Summer 2015)

Bon Banh Mi

Downtown - Delis + Sandwiches

Jonathan Boncek

Traditional Banh Mi

Jason Sakran and Jeremy Spencer’s version of the traditional Vietnamese sandwich edged out the rest of the local competition in the City Paper’s side-by-side Battle of the Bánh Mì many moons ago ... and with good reason: They serve arguably the best baguette in town. It’s hard but not tooth-breaking hard on the outside and soft on the inside. The fillings include five spice tofu, red curry beef, lemongrass chicken, and the fusiony egg and Canadian bacon, but none are quite as good as the traditional country pâté and the Spam-like — gasp — Vietnamese ham; it’s a little fattier than the rest, but it will stick to your ribs for hours. The same fillings can served over lettuce and veggies as a rather tasty and filling salad or wrapped in a taco shell, an effective delivery device for sure, but one that is nowhere near as good as their baguette. There are daily specials, too, like bun cha noodle salad on Tuesdays, tamarind shrimp on Wednesdays, and spring rolls on Thursday (CK). And evidently the people love Bon Bánh Mì so much, Sakran and Spencer are looking to expand in the Lowcountry. It could be West Ashley, Mt. Pleasant, or North Charleston — who knows? But hopefully, it’ll be a neighborhood near you. —Robert Moss Dish (Summer 2015)

Boone Halls Farms Market Café

Mt. Pleasant - Southern

Boone Hall is half roadside farm stand, half gourmet food store with a little café and ice-cream shop thrown in to boot. Much of the fresh produce is grown on the big farm just across the road, and the butcher counter offers a selection of fresh meats and seafood. The shelves up front stock plenty of local specialties like Carolina Gold Rice, stone ground grits, and pickles and preserves. The café is a good option for a quick Southern-style lunch, with an offering that includes burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches along with meat-and-two “farm meals” like country fried steak, pulled-pork barbecue, and a thick slab of meatloaf. These hearty, inexpensive meals and a cooler full of glass-bottled sodas and home-churned ice cream make Boone Hall Farms a promising place to stop off for a bite while touring the Lowcountry. —Robert Moss, Dish (Winter 2013)

Breizh Pan Crepes

Downtown - French

There’s something so multi-purpose about a crêpe. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert, the French have mastered the all-day meal. But for all their utilitarian appeal, there are few who can prepare them up to Gallic standards. Luckily for us, Breizh Pan’ Crepes is the real deal. There you can pop in for a La Molène crepe with sausage and Swiss cheese to start the day. Or you can run errands on King Street before pausing for a refueling L’Huelgoat — a veggie crepe with goat cheese, baby spinach, red onion, and balsamic glaze. But whatever you do, be sure to save room for dessert. Our pick: Le Phare — a sweet pancake filled with strawberries, homemade chocolate, bananas, Chantilly cream. Vive Breizh Pan! —Kinsey Gidick Dish (Summer 2015)

Brickhouse Party Plantation

James Island - American

Situated along Folly Road on the way to the beach, the Brick House Party Plantation is both right in the middle of everything and far removed. The main floor of the grand Southern house has been converted into a comfortable dining area, and there’s plenty of outdoor table options under Moss Dish (Summer 2013)-draped live oaks where local musicians regularly set up for some live music. With a Mediterranean twist on Lowcountry cuisine, the vegetarian-friendly menu is also rich with local seafood. Seared grouper, barbecue mahi, and crab cakes are good choices, and they come with plenty of fresh Southern veggies on the side. A cozy 10-seat bar behind the main house rounds out this charming addition to James Island’s culinary scene. —Stephanie Barna Dish (Summer 2013)

Buffalo Wild Wings

Summerville - American

Serving Lunch, Dinner, Late Night (daily); Sun. Brunch (Mt. P - Oakland Market Road location) The Wild Wing restaurant chain — an empire that grew out of Hilton Head and was sold to a group out of Charlotte — hit on a surefire winner of a concept. They serve some of the best chicken wings ever and douse them with enough different sauces and flavors to captivate a crowd. We like to order our beer by the bucket and then get a sampler platter of wings so we can taste some of the 35 different flavors. Our top five? Flaming Parmesan, Ranchilada, Loco Bueno, Red Dragon, and the Red, Hot, and Bleu. They’ve got other stuff on the menu here, and it’s good, too, but the wings are why people return again and again. —Stephanie Barna Dish (Winter 2015)

Buffalo Wild Wings

North Charleston - American

Serving Lunch, Dinner, Late Night (daily); Sun. Brunch (Mt. P - Oakland Market Road location) The Wild Wing restaurant chain — an empire that grew out of Hilton Head and was sold to a group out of Charlotte — hit on a surefire winner of a concept. They serve some of the best chicken wings ever and douse them with enough different sauces and flavors to captivate a crowd. We like to order our beer by the bucket and then get a sampler platter of wings so we can taste some of the 35 different flavors. Our top five? Flaming Parmesan, Ranchilada, Loco Bueno, Red Dragon, and the Red, Hot, and Bleu. They’ve got other stuff on the menu here, and it’s good, too, but the wings are why people return again and again. —Stephanie Barna Dish (Winter 2015)

Bull Street Gourmet and Market

Downtown - Cafés

Bull Street has expanded far beyond its birth as an upscale neighborhood corner market on, you guessed it, Bull Street. Keeping the name of its original location, the gourmet grocery-slash-restaurant now graces lower King and upper Meeting (with a store in Durham, N.C. to boot). An excellent spot for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, the eatery boasts daily soups, fresh baked goods, charcuterie and cheese plates, fresh and creative sandwiches, salads, burgers, and daily specials. Their micro- and macro-brewed beer selection is killer, as is their wall of fine wine, if you’re looking for something special to take home with you. Stock up on local favorites such as Rio Bertolini’s fresh pasta, Holy Smoke’s smoked olive oil, and Jack Rudy or Bittermilk small batch tonics. Bull Street has both your pantry and your tummy covered. —Allston McCrady Dish (Winter 2015)

Bull Street Gourmet and Market

Downtown - Cafés

Bull Street has expanded far beyond its birth as an upscale neighborhood corner market on, you guessed it, Bull Street. Keeping the name of its original location, the gourmet grocery-slash-restaurant now graces lower King and upper Meeting (with a store in Durham, N.C. to boot). An excellent spot for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, the eatery boasts daily soups, fresh baked goods, charcuterie and cheese plates, fresh and creative sandwiches, salads, burgers, and daily specials. Their micro- and macro-brewed beer selection is killer, as is their wall of fine wine, if you’re looking for something special to take home with you. Stock up on local favorites such as Rio Bertolini’s fresh pasta, Holy Smoke’s smoked olive oil, and Jack Rudy or Bittermilk small batch tonics. Bull Street has both your pantry and your tummy covered. —Allston McCrady Dish (Winter 2015)

Charleston Bakery

Summerville - Delis + Sandwiches

You might not expect to find an authentic Jewish-style deli out in Summerville, but that’s part of the charm of Charleston Bakery. The cozy, casual eatery is worth the trek if you’re craving fresh bagels, homemade baked goods, or creative Coney dogs. Order at the counter, grab an old-fashioned soda from the cooler, and then take a seat. Start off the day with a fresh-baked croissant, jalapeño bacon cheddar grits, or bagel with lox (hand-cut and prepared in-house). For lunch, try a customizable “Wild Salad,” corned beef and pastrami sandwich, or the matzo ball soup. Whether used for the tomato pie or fruit tart, the fresh-baked pastry is stellar, so be sure to get something with it. And they’re known for their Charleston Rum Cake. —Erica Jackson Curran Dish (Summer 2013)

Charlie's Grocery

Downtown - Mediterranean

Every neighborhood needs the requisite corner store but no community can compete with this quintessential small family owned and operated deli in both Radcliffeborough and on Spring Street. One can find last minute kitchen essentials, breakfast sandwiches served all day long, Boar’s Head meats and cheeses from the deli, and freshly made-to-order sandwiches. Charlie’s is famous for their falafel, a secret family recipe topped with a tomato, cucumber, onion salad and finished with fresh tahini sauce. Be sure to add the hummus and homemade hot sauce for $6. Starting this summer, the family is rolling out their new sandwich menu which will include items like “The Heart Attack,” a hoagie with chicken tenders, fries, cheese, bacon and mozzarella sticks all served on the same roll. Homemade chicken salad, a Cheesesteak made with London Port roast beef previously marinated in port wine and garlic and the “Philly Blunt,” a cheesesteak with fries and bacon will be a part of the new additions. A great beer selection, as well as a bevy of other cold beverages, accompanies the eclectic menu. —Katherine Connor Dish (Summer 2015)

Charlie's Grocery

Downtown - Mediterranean

Every neighborhood needs the requisite corner store but no community can compete with this quintessential small family owned and operated deli in both Radcliffeborough and on Spring Street. One can find last minute kitchen essentials, breakfast sandwiches served all day long, Boar’s Head meats and cheeses from the deli, and freshly made-to-order sandwiches. Charlie’s is famous for their falafel, a secret family recipe topped with a tomato, cucumber, onion salad and finished with fresh tahini sauce. Be sure to add the hummus and homemade hot sauce for $6. Starting this summer, the family is rolling out their new sandwich menu which will include items like “The Heart Attack,” a hoagie with chicken tenders, fries, cheese, bacon and mozzarella sticks all served on the same roll. Homemade chicken salad, a Cheesesteak made with London Port roast beef previously marinated in port wine and garlic and the “Philly Blunt,” a cheesesteak with fries and bacon will be a part of the new additions. A great beer selection, as well as a bevy of other cold beverages, accompanies the eclectic menu. —Katherine Connor Dish (Summer 2015)

Circe's Grotto

Downtown - Delis + Sandwiches

This small sandwich shop is the second location for the Mass.-based deli. Fresh sandwiches, salads, and easy to-go items make up the menu.

Closed for Business

Downtown - Bar

Pork Slap

Closed for Business’ funky decor, 42 beer taps, and eclectic menu have endured. The bodacious Pork Slap sandwich, which quickly put them on the map, is an addictive combination of fried pork cutlet and smoked ham piled high on a bun and layered with green tomato chutney. We love the classic pairing of grilled cheese with a zingy tomato soup, and the Jimmy Serrano Veggie Burger is a vegetarian’s dream. The rest of the limited menu appeals to the serious beer drinker with a handful of tasty bar snacks: pork rinds, crispy green beans, buffalo oysters, and beer mussels (made with bacon, aioli, shallots, and garlic). They’ve got a good burger (the Business), a Chicago dog, and a fresh daily market salad that comes straight from area farms, proving their dedication to sourcing locally and seasonally. The beer taps are kept stocked with rare and unusual brews that change on a daily basis, available in three different sizes (10 oz., 16 oz., 1 liter). They’ve got liquor too. On Sunday mornings, their brunch menu will inspire you to get out of bed, whether it’s for the oyster omelet (fried oysters, pimento cheese, buffalo sauce) or the pretzel French toast with peaches and a hearty helping of Nutella syrup. With a Pimm’s Cup or a Grand Marnier Gin Fizz, we can’t think of a better way to get the day going. —Kinsey Gidick Dish (Summer 2015)

D'Allesandro's Pizza

Downtown - Pizza

The Chauncinator

Brothers Ben and Nick D’Allesandro have only been throwing pies at their funky Elliotborough pizzeria since 2006, but from their following on Bogard Street, you’d think that they’ve been around forever. D’Al’s has one of the city’s best lunch deals hidden on the back of its menu: a small two-topping ’za or a small one-topping personal pie and a generous side salad that will set you back around $7 and change. At least once a week, someone on the CP staff dials up D’Al’s for a few of our favorites, usually the Chauncinator (margherita minus tomatoes, plus double-pepperoni) and the Get Gnarly, a killer white pizza with mozz, blue cheese, basil, and chicken roasted in balsamic vinegar. (They even take orders online.) Great for a quick lunch or an impromptu dinner with friends (plus a few pitchers of cold brew), D’Al’s is a hangout for college kids and loyal locals that carries the pulse of the trendy neighborhood. —Sam Spence Dish (Summer 2015)

Dave's Carry-Out

Downtown - Soul Food

Jonathan Boncek

Fried Shrimp

High-end restaurants like The Grocery and Two Boroughs Larder may have moved into the area around Dave’s Carry-Out, but this no-frills soul food joint offers a true taste of Charleston. For under $7 you can get a takeout box filled to the brim with the best of Lowcountry cooking like pork chops, crispy chicken wings, and finger-lickin’ ribs. The selection of sides is small but tasty — try the salty collard greens, thick steak fries, or red beans and rice. The lunch specials change daily, but your best bet is to go with a seafood platter — they range from $7 for a generous portion of shrimp to $13 for shrimp, fish, scallops, and devil crab. If you want a true local experience, opt for the lima beans and rice. It’s meaty and filling. A few tables allow customers to dine in, but most folks get their Dave’s to-go, whether for lunch or a greasy late-night snack. —Melissa Tunstall Dish, Winter 2016

Dell'z Uptown

Downtown - Cafés

Jonathan Boncek

Dell'z Five Eleven pizza will make you forget you're eating vegan sausage and cheese

Housed in a tiny and welcoming corner of Rutledge Avenue and Nunan Street, Dell’z Uptown is known for its vegetarian and vegan-friendly foods — but they’ve got the meatier stuff too. And yes, real cheese as well, although you shouldn’t knock the vegan shreds ‘til you try it. While this is a veggie place, we recommend skipping the salads for heartier fare like the sizeable Hummer, a wrap oozing with black bean hummus, salsa, avocado, and fresh lime. Start with (and share) the huge plate of nachos — of the vegan variety or not this plate of chips, rice and beans, salsa, spicy sour cream, siracha, and cheese is made divine with the addition of “da sauce,” a creamy, addictive topping that will have you coming back for more. You can’t go wrong with the jazzy pizza either, especially with the healthy substitution of a tortilla shell for pizza dough. With organic wine and local brews in the fridge, Dell’z is a great place to sip and snack. —Connelly Hardaway Dish (Summer 2015)

DeSano Pizza Bakery

Downtown - Pizza

Jonathan Boncek

A true Neapolitan pie has a slightly charred crust and a soupy center, with ingredients from specific regions in Italy and fairly strict cooking methods. Many local pizzerias try to mimic the authenticity that’s found overseas, and while some come close, DeSano sets the bar for Neapolitan pizza in the Lowcountry. They have three massive Grande Forni ovens with floors made of volcanic rock from Mt. Vesuvius that fire upwards of 1,000 degrees and cook a pie in under 90 seconds. The same ovens are used to cook enormous calzones, and the cannoli are filled to order. Take it from us, DeSano serves a pizza that’s worth every penny. Try the San Gennaro, a sweet-and-spicy pie topped with sausage, peppadew peppers, garlic, buffalo mozzarella, and caramelized onions. —Eric Doksa Dish (Summer 2015)

Dixie Supply Bakery and Café

Downtown - Breakfast

At Dixie Supply, owners Allen and Kris Holmes serve big, filling, no-frills breakfasts and lunches with plenty of down-home Southern flair. Muffins, cookies, and croissants fill the glass cases up front, and they’re all baked fresh from scratch. For just $2.50 you can get a bowl of grits so dense and creamy they make a satisfying breakfast all by themselves, but that would mean passing up on soft, fluffy biscuits with ham or sausage and the delectable French toast made from slices of croissant dipped in a vanilla-tinged batter. At lunch, fried chicken, tomato pie, and daily blue plate specials offer Southern treats every bit as hearty as the breakfast fare. Dixie Supply doesn’t put on any airs, but with food this good, it hardly needs to. Look for the bright blue awning on the modest storefront on State Street. —Robert Moss Dish (Summer 2015)

Drop In Gourmet Deli and Bar

Folly Beach - Delis + Sandwiches

The Drop In Deli on Folly is loaded with personality, and either you'll like that personality or you won't. We appreciate things like concrete walls and clever sandwich names like the Pholly Cheese Steak (with cheese whiz) or the Three Guys Burger ("They got five, we got three"). But what we really appreciate are sandwiches prepared with care and thought. This isn't just a killer beer shack (PBRs are $2.50 in the can); it's a gathering place where you can bring your kids for lunch or stop by after a day at the beach and not be disappointed. The Drop In also hosts Sushi by Lisa from 6-9 p.m. Tues.-Fri. —Stephanie Barna

Dukes Barbecue

James Island - Barbecue

The name Dukes is synonymous with barbecue in the lower part of South Carolina. Various Dukes operate barbecue restaurants in Orangeburg, Walterboro, Blackville, Aiken, Allen Dish (Summer 2013)dale, Beaufort, St. George, Ridgeville, Bamberg, and North Charleston. Most but not all of these are related to each other — sometimes by blood and sometimes just through a business transaction. The newest Dukes on the scene is the one on Folly Road on James Island, and it’s run by Bryan O’Quinn, the son of the owner of the Dukes in Walterboro. The O’Quinn family bought into the Dukes empire, learning their signature style when they purchased the Walterboro restaurant, and Bryan has brought that style with him to James Island. There’s no beef brisket or smoked chicken wings or any of that foreign stuff to be found here, just a pure manifestation of the mustard-based barbecue tradition. The all-you-can-eat buffet (about $10 for adults, $6 for kids) has chopped pork, hash and rice, fried chicken, and a mess of sides. It’s bare bones just like it’s supposed to be, with styrofoam plates, plastic utensils, and a big bag of Sunbeam bread on each table. Top it all off with a plate of banana pudding from one of the big silver buffet bins and you’re guaranteed to not leave hungry. —Robert Moss Dish (Summer 2013)

Famulari's

Summerville - Pizza

If you are in Summerville, if you have to have pizza, and if you care what it tastes like, you should be at Famulari's. They may not look like the fanciest pie joint — there's no million-dollar renovations here, and there's certainly no "special sauce" hiding out in the back — but Famulari's serves excellent pie. When most people think of pizza, they think New York, but these guys serve a signature, gut-busting Chicago-style deep dish oozing with meat and cheese. It's a good three inches thick, with the sauce layered on top of the cheese. There's enough heft to bust a gut. When you show up to carry this deep dish monster home, bring a towel for your back seat, since not even the thick corrugated box can hold back the grease. —Jeff Allen

Famulari's Pizza

Summerville - Pizza

If you are in Summerville, if you have to have pizza, and if you care what it tastes like, you should be at Famulari's. They may not look like the fanciest pie joint — there's no million-dollar renovations here, and there's certainly no "special sauce" hiding out in the back — but Famulari's serves excellent pie. When most people think of pizza, they think New York, but these guys serve a signature, gut-busting Chicago-style deep dish oozing with meat and cheese. It's a good three inches thick, with the sauce layered on top of the cheese. There's enough heft to bust a gut. When you show up to carry this deep dish monster home, bring a towel for your back seat, since not even the thick corrugated box can hold back the grease. —Jeff Allen

Fishnet Seafood

West Ashley - Seafood Suppliers

Fishnet Seafood might be most famous for their Jesus Crab, a Christian interpretation of the delicious “deviled” crab. City Paper writer Jeff Allen claims their deep-fried soft-shell crab has the power to save souls. Fishnet will cook to order any of the fresh fish they have for retail sale — croaker, whiting, porgy, the list goes on — in their deep fryer. There are no seats inside this store/takeout restaurant, so all the food is to-go. Georgetown Seafood supplies Fishnet with their fish, and they buy crabs from a local crabber. Boiled shrimp is also on the menu, and the kitchen has peeled versions in the back to bread and fry.

The Griffon

Downtown - Pubs + Taverns

Fried Chicken

In many ways, The Griffon is the quintessential dive bar. It’s a no-frills joint with old tables, rickety chairs, and a well-worn bar. And you certainly won’t find a restroom with fancy-schmancy bathroom fixtures that look like the bastard offspring of the IKEA catalog and Southern Living. For Pete’s sake, The Griffon is the kind of place with dollar bills stuck to the ceilings, walls, and, well, who knows where else they may be. However, in addition to a menu of pretty standard bar fare, this little Vendue Street pub serves up the choicest craft brews and an unexpectedly good, rotating meat-and-two menu. Some days it’s fried chicken and green beans, other days it’s fried pork chops, mac and cheese, and collards. Heck, they even serve lasagna. Oh, and they also make some doggone good soups too, from broccoli cheddar to crab bisque. —Chris Haire Dish, Winter 2016

Hannibal's Kitchen

Downtown - Soul Food

Some guy once complained about us sending people to eat here, but we think food should be an open-minded adventure. Hannibal's rules the heart of the East Side soul food scene, just behind Trident Tech's Palmer campus, and while it may not be for the tourist crowd, it is true low-down modern soul. The atmosphere reflects life on the other side of the peninsula's proverbial tracks. From chicken wings and fried rice to a seafood salad that we would never touch, this is the epitome of soul food. It ain't pretty, but it's definitely real. —Jeff Allen, Dish (Summer 2009)

HoM

Downtown - Burgers

Adam Chandler

HōM-Wrecker

HōM (pronounced home) is still slinging some quality gourmet burgers. The HōMWrecker has been a menu staple since the restaurant opened, and there’s good reason for that. A juicy beef patty is topped with applewood-smoked bacon, pepper jack cheese, and a perfectly cooked sunny-side up egg. Besides the beef, HōM offers a wide array of burger patties such as lamb, turkey, falafel, and tofu. The hand-cut fries and garlic-chipotle onion rings go hand in hand with the burgers, and the crunchy fried pickles are fantastic. What we’re really digging right now are the sweet potato fingerlings tossed in roasted garlic, truffled herb aioli, and blue cheese — addictive. The bar sports some local craft beer and a few crazy cocktails, helping establish the ping-pong hall as a solid local favorite. —Eric Doksa Dish (Summer 2015)

Jack's Cafe

Downtown - American

There are few places in downtown Charleston as reliable as Jack’s Cafe. On weekdays, you can hit this greasy spoon for a good breakfast or lunch, all cooked up by Jack himself at the grill. In the mood for waffles and hashbrowns? A bacon-and-swiss burger? All of the above? The menu combinations here are limitless, but you’ll leave full no matter what, and your wallet won’t take too much of a hit in the process. King Street may offer the glitz and glamour of the latest food trends, but we sometimes like to spend our lunch hour in a booth at Jack’s, surrounded by college kids and indulging in grilled cheese and french fries. Jack has announced that he’ll be retiring soon, so be sure to get your favorites before this institution is gone. —Susan Cohen Dish (Winter 2014)

Jack's Cosmic Dogs

Mt. Pleasant - Hot Dog Joints

The Galactic Dog

The original bright-hued location of Jack’s Cosmic Dogs on Highway 17 in Mt. Pleasant has won over a constellation of fans, including Food Network star Alton Brown, who declared the Cosmic Dog one of best things he’s ever eaten. With glass bottles of soda on ice and an old-style soft-serve ice cream machine, it’s a pitch-perfect throwback to a lost era of roadside hot dog stands. There’s even a creaky screen door on the front. Alton’s favorite, the Cosmic Dog, has blue cheese slaw and sweet potato mustard, while the Astro Dog is topped with onion relish and spicy yellow mustard. The dogs themselves are top-notch, and they’re served on seeded deli rolls instead of plain white buns. Combine a chili-cheese Orbit City Dog with a side of handcut fries and a longneck Sundrop, and you’ll have a genuine roadside classic. —Robert Moss Dish (Winter 2015)

JB's Smokeshack

Johns Island - Barbecue

At JB’s Smokeshack, they proudly declare, “The flavor’s in the meat, sauce is on the side.” It’s a classic Carolina barbecue joint, and that means an all-you-can-eat buffet with limited hours (open Wed.-Sat.). The buffet features hickory-smoked pork, applewood-smoked chicken, and juicy, pepper-tinged fried chicken. At dinnertime they add a carving station with beef brisket. For sides, there are collards, black-eyed peas, hash and rice, baked beans, and many more classics. The pork is tender and flavorful, but the chicken — rich and juicy and full of great smoke flavor — is the real treat. Be sure to save room for banana pudding. It’s the proper way to top off a classic Lowcountry barbecue feast. —Robert Moss Dish (Summer 2013)

Kickin' Chicken - Summerville

Summerville - Chicken

Oh Kickin’ Chicken, we loved you when we were in college and we still love you today — especially after a festive night on the town. This local chain’s seven locations now service more than hungry CofC Cougars and spans two states. But it’s what got the biz started, super tasty chicken sandwiches, that always lures us back. We’re suckers for the Johnny, a mighty meal of chicken, bacon, barbecue sauce, and cheddar cheese with an oh-so-necessary side of ranch dressing. When we’re rolling deep with friends, the wings always satisfy, particularly with an adventurous crowd willing to forgo the traditional teriyaki sauce for the Thai chili option. Considering our loyalty now totals 10+ years, this chicken is clearly doing something right. —Kinsey Gidick Dish (Winter 2015)

Kickin' Chicken - James Island

James Island - Chicken

Oh Kickin’ Chicken, we loved you when we were in college and we still love you today — especially after a festive night on the town. This local chain’s seven locations now service more than hungry CofC Cougars and spans two states. But it’s what got the biz started, super tasty chicken sandwiches, that always lures us back. We’re suckers for the Johnny, a mighty meal of chicken, bacon, barbecue sauce, and cheddar cheese with an oh-so-necessary side of ranch dressing. When we’re rolling deep with friends, the wings always satisfy, particularly with an adventurous crowd willing to forgo the traditional teriyaki sauce for the Thai chili option. Considering our loyalty now totals 10+ years, this chicken is clearly doing something right. —Kinsey Gidick Dish (Winter 2015)

Kickin' Chicken - Mt. Pleasant

Mt. Pleasant - Chicken

Oh Kickin’ Chicken, we loved you when we were in college and we still love you today — especially after a festive night on the town. This local chain’s seven locations now service more than hungry CofC Cougars and spans two states. But it’s what got the biz started, super tasty chicken sandwiches, that always lures us back. We’re suckers for the Johnny, a mighty meal of chicken, bacon, barbecue sauce, and cheddar cheese with an oh-so-necessary side of ranch dressing. When we’re rolling deep with friends, the wings always satisfy, particularly with an adventurous crowd willing to forgo the traditional teriyaki sauce for the Thai chili option. Considering our loyalty now totals 10+ years, this chicken is clearly doing something right. —Kinsey Gidick Dish (Winter 2015)

Kickin' Chicken - West Ashley

West Ashley - Chicken

Oh Kickin’ Chicken, we loved you when we were in college and we still love you today — especially after a festive night on the town. This local chain’s seven locations now service more than hungry CofC Cougars and spans two states. But it’s what got the biz started, super tasty chicken sandwiches, that always lures us back. We’re suckers for the Johnny, a mighty meal of chicken, bacon, barbecue sauce, and cheddar cheese with an oh-so-necessary side of ranch dressing. When we’re rolling deep with friends, the wings always satisfy, particularly with an adventurous crowd willing to forgo the traditional teriyaki sauce for the Thai chili option. Considering our loyalty now totals 10+ years, this chicken is clearly doing something right. —Kinsey Gidick Dish (Winter 2015)

Kickin' Chicken

Downtown - American

Oh Kickin’ Chicken, we loved you when we were in college and we still love you today — especially after a festive night on the town. This local chain’s seven locations now service more than hungry CofC Cougars and spans two states. But it’s what got the biz started, super tasty chicken sandwiches, that always lures us back. We’re suckers for the Johnny, a mighty meal of chicken, bacon, barbecue sauce, and cheddar cheese with an oh-so-necessary side of ranch dressing. When we’re rolling deep with friends, the wings always satisfy, particularly with an adventurous crowd willing to forego the traditional teriyaki sauce for the Thai chili option. Considering our loyalty now totals 10+ years, this chicken is clearly doing something right. —Kinsey Gidick Dish (Summer 2015)

La Norteña

North Charleston - Mexican

Paul E. Cheney, Jr./jwkpec.com

Located on the international mile of Rivers Avenue — home to H&L Asian Market, Bombay Bazaar and Restaurant, Phuong Vietnamese Restaurant, and Pho #1 — La Norteña is one of the most authentic Mexican joints you’re going to find in the Lowcountry. Yes, the interior isn’t all that different from the Combo No. 1 chains, but the food is decidedly different. In fact, you can credit La Norteña — with its emphasis on fresh ingredients and true-blue South of the Border fare — for many of the new menu items at your neighborhood Speedy Gonzales joint — things like mole and carnitas and ceviche and al pastor tacos and camarones a la diabla. But few manage to top La Norteña. We still go back for the Carnitas Enmoladas (think rich, almost chocolatey, tender pork), the traditional tacos (chorizo, barbacoa, and fish), and the quartet of hot sauces the servers bring to the table (we could put the creamy jalapeño sauce on about anything). We’re still interested in trying their Menudo, a hangover-curing soup with honeycomb and beef tripe. Of course, the señors and señoritas at La Norteña know that Americanized fare brings in a fair number of dinners, so you can expect to find plenty of quesadillas, enchiladas, burritos, and nachos. —Chris Haire Dish (Summer 2013)

Mamma Brown's

Mt. Pleasant - Barbecue

After being closed for nearly two years, Momma Brown's BBQ has reopened as Mamma Browns' BBQ in the former KFC building at the corner of Highway 17 and Highway 41. This is great news to the loyal fans who ate at the old location for years. This time, however, it's not buffet style, but it's still a bang for your buck. A pulled pork platter with two sides will run you $7.50. They've got the original vinegar/pepper barbecue pork, mustard barbecue pork, chicken and sausage pilau, ribs, and more. Classic sides include mac and cheese, coleslaw, collard greens, and even some seasonal fare like butter beans. We missed Momma and we're glad she's back. —Eric Doksa

Martha Lou's

Downtown - Soul Food

Martha Lou’s has become something of a foodie hotspot over the past few years, and it all began when Charleston celebuchef Sean Brock sang the soul food joint’s praises in The New York Times and later on an episode of Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods. Since then, Martha Lou’s parking lot has been packed around lunchtime each and every workday with high-end SUVs and imports, and we regularly see television crews in the parking lot. But inside Martha Lou’s Kitchen, everything has pretty much stayed the same — thankfully. Martha Lou serves up the hottest food in town, and we mean that literally. The fried chicken is piping hot, and so are the lima beans and the mac ‘n’ cheese. The menu changes day to day — the catfish is tasty, but you’ve got to watch out for the bones, while the chitlins, well, they taste like chitlins. You can dine in or call ahead. —Chris Haire Dish, Winter 2016

MEX 1

West Ashley - Mexican

Jonathan Boncek

Mex 1 Coastal Cantina is a welcome addition to the West Ashley dining scene. The restaurant may not be near the water, but it’s got a huge surfer vibe (i.e. the kitchen is separated from the bar by a wall constructed of surfboards). This is a new venture for Jack Hurley, owner of Jack’s Cosmic Dogs, and diners won’t leave disappointed. The Baja-style eats beckon the hungry, and the impressive tequila list opens the door to a whole slew of fun. An array of tacos, quesadillas, and tortas make up the entrees, with the addition of tasty bites like guacamole and Mexican street corn. We’re partial to the Baja fish tacos and carnitas torta, but the Baja bowls are becoming a local favorite. Don’t forget to try one of the bangin’ cocktails. With Morgan Hurley’s creative infusions like the Tequila Mockingbird, you can’t go wrong. —Eric Doksa Dish (Winter 2014)

Midtown Bar & Grill

Downtown - Bar

Midtown attracts the preppy, button-downed masses of Charleston to Upper King Street. Being a bar, they've got plenty of beer, a number of specialty drinks, and a massive list of shots, and they're able to draw a hefty weekend crowd with live music (it's a good thing they expanded into 52.5 Records' old space). Lunchtime is a quieter affair. Though the dark, brick interior isn't the most ambient of dining rooms, the food is solid. The menu is Southern-inspired; pulled pork is everywhere, featured in taquitos, a wrap, a sandwich, and as an entrée. Get their "signature" sweet tea-marinated pork chop, fried, with some mac 'n' cheese (they offer a variety of sides, from fries to fried okra). Pimento cheese comes on a grilled sandwich and on a burger, topped off with sweet grilled onions and a generous heap of bacon. Brunch has all the basics — french toast, biscuits and gravy, shrimp and grits — and a build-your-own Bloody Mary. If the weather's nice, enjoy your meal out in their courtyard. —Susan Cohen

Moe's Crosstown Tavern

Downtown - Pubs + Taverns

Moe’s Crosstown Tavern has one of the most loyal followings of any dive bar in town. It’s also one of the few you’ll find with a packed house at lunch and dinner and on gameday. There for lunch? Bypass the gut-busting burgers and try a wrap. The Bronco, chicken caesar, and buffalo shrimp wraps are all solid picks. Dinnertime? Now it’s time for a burger. Stop in on Tuesday and you’ll pay half-price for any of the cooked-to-order options, like the Eye Opener (bacon, cheddar, fried egg), and the BLT, complete with a crispy fried tomato. 30 minutes to kick-off? No need to crack a menu, just order a few cold ones and some of the best wings in town. We swear by the crispy lemon pepper, but you can’t go wrong with the hot teriyaki or hot honey mustard. Get there early for Sunday brunch and fill up on drunken French toast or crab cake benedict, and be sure to check for the pancake of the day. —Sam Spence Dish (Winter 2015)

Olympik Restaurant and Bakery

West Ashley - Greek

Inexpensive, fresh, and flavorful, the Greek fare at this long-running family restaurant is worth a drive down Savannah Highway. The modest structure housing Olympik may look old and worn from the outside, but the interior is warm and welcoming. The food is carefully prepared too. They offer familiar standards like gyro plates (beef, lamb, or chicken), hummus, falafel, Greek potatoes, and kebabs, but regulars love the more exotic house specialties, like the crispy, made-to-order Olympik Dosa (a gluten-free wrap made from rice and peas) or the beefy Moussaka casserole. The honey-sweet, melt-in-your-mouth almond marzipan cookies and delicate, homemade baklava are must-have desserts. —T. Ballard Lesemann

Papa Zuzu's

Mt. Pleasant - Mediterranean

Hundreds of red tomatoes line the stainless steel shelves in the front of Papa Zuzu’s, and they’re waiting to be tossed into a big salad or stuffed inside a warm, fluffy pita. It’s classic Greek fare with a hippie vibe, and that means generous gyros filled with roasted lamb and beef and pitas stuffed with chicken and spinach or baba ghanoush. The gyro pizza tops grilled dough with gyro meat, onions, portobellos, cheese, and tzatziki sauce, and vegetarians will be happy to find tasty versions of hummus, tabouli, and baba ghanoush on a Mediterranean plate big enough to feed two. —Robert Moss Dish (Winter 2015)

Park Pizza Co.

North Charleston - Pizza

It's a pretty ballsy move, opening up a pizza joint half a block down from EVO, one of Charleston's finest pie spots, but that's what the folks at Park Pizza Co. did. The thing is the two restaurants are so dramatically different that they serve two entirely different needs: EVO caters to the gourmet, local-first crowd who are willing to shell out some cash, while Park Pizza is your more traditional delivery joint. Not that all the pies at Park Pizza are traditional. There are certainly some odd ducks here, from the She-Crab (olive oil, cream cheese, mozzarella, crab, tomato, garlic, green onions, parmesan) to the Thai (olive oil, cream cheese, provolone, Thai chicken, broccoli, cilantro, honey-roasted peanuts) to the Seoul Glo, a one-time special topped with Korean barbecued pork and kimchi. But it's the more traditional pies, like the Three Pigs (marinara, mozzarella, pepperoni, salami, pork sausage) and the Envy (pesto, mozzarella, spinach, artichokes, feta), that have won over our taste buds. Also, two big thumbs up to the joint's garlic and herb breadstrips, the monkey bread, and the house salad dressing, a creamy cucumber wasabi concoction that is both soothing and spicy. —Chris Haire

Perfectly Frank's

Summerville - Hot Dog Joints

Perfectly Frank's has been serving up a laundry list of creative hot dog concoctions for years in Summerville, but recently the little neighborhood favorite evolved into a whole new entity, thanks to the influence of former Atlanticville chef Billy Condon. Nowadays, the menu has much more than hot dogs. You'll find burgers, meatloaf sandwiches, tacos, and quesadillas. You'll also find specials from Chef Condon that will have you hopping in your car to check this place out. We were piqued by the Thai beef burrito with shaved beef and kimchi. Of course, if it's a hot dog you want, they still have the Frank Coney (chili, mustard, onions) and the Frank Rizzo (shredded lettuce, mayo, tomato, and bacon), or you can opt for the Frankenstein and make your own monster. Just be sure to ring the bell on your way out. —Stephanie Barna

Pho #1

North Charleston - Thai + Vietnamese

If you’ve become bored with the takeout rotisserie chicken or subs from your neighborhood supermarket, the deli counter at H&L Asian Market offers an exotic twist on supermarket convenience food. You can eat it right there in the pastel pink and blue booths or get a big order packaged up in styrofoam boxes to go. Pick up a few tubs of steaming pho with rare beef, brisket, meatballs, and even tripe or a couple of rice or noodle bowls topped with roasted pork, shrimp, or duck. The cool Vietnamese spring rolls wrapped in taut rice paper are delightful, too. What better way to turn a quick dinner on the go into a culinary adventure? —Eric Doksa Dish (Summer 2013)

Pollo Loko Peruvian

North Charleston - Mexican

Chicken and Ribs Combo

Pollo Tropical has the requisite selection of burritos and quesadillas you would expect to find in a strip-mall Mexican restaurant, but there’s much more. Peruvian-style charcoal-grilled chicken is the specialty of the house, and it’s more than worth a drive down Dorchester Road to discover. Its crispy, slightly charred skin and juicy meat pairs perfectly with the orange, pepper-laden sauce that comes on the side. Fish and big racks of pork ribs get the same char-grilled treatment, and a small selection of Colombian food like cheese-topped arepas, empanadas, and fried plantains round out a selection that’s a far cry from your typical Tex-Mex fare. —Robert Moss Dish (Summer 2013)

Queen Street Grocery & Café

Downtown - Cafés

The postcard-worthy sidewalk outside of Queen Street Grocery is a textbook example of why so many people love Charleston. Just a block off King Street, QSG has been a local favorite in a city full of local favorites for years, sticking to a simple plan: Keep the place stocked with the essentials and keep the menu board full of delicious fresh-made sandwiches, salads, crepes, and more. Specials change regularly, but for us, the choice for lunch is always between the pressed Cuban sandwich and everything else. Stop by in the morning and you’ll find cold-pressed coffee and crowd-favorite, made-to-order crepes, with something for both sweet and savory crepe lovers out there. —Sam Spence Dish (Winter 2015)

Seppy's Hotdogs

Mt. Pleasant - Hot Dog Joints

With its bright red and white awning and sleekly lettered menu, this new Mt. Pleasant hot dog stand is small in size but long on style. Sixteen signature dogs include classics like the Carolina with mustard, chili, and slaw and the German with mustard and kraut. The Ole spices things up with salsa and jalapeños while the Palm, topped with melted cheese and bacon crumbles, is sinfully gooey and delicious. All come on your choice of a meaty all-beef dog or a Carolina smoked sausage that’s so tender that it will almost melt in your mouth, and there are turkey and vegetarian dogs, too. The buns are soft and top-loading, and the chili, pimento cheese, and caramel onion spread are all made from scratch. That’s a formula for a superlative dog. —Robert Moss Dish (Summer 2013)

Sesame Burgers & Beer

Mt. Pleasant - Burgers

Sesame is not only known for its burgers, but its focus on quality local ingredients. The condiments are made in-house (ketchup, pickles, etc.) and most of the toppings come from nearby farms. You can order any burger with or without a bun, with your choice of beef, black beans, chicken, or turkey. Last we checked, they’ve got over 45 toppings to choose from, ranging from American cheese to fig and bacon jam. Burgers aside, they’ve also got some fresh garden salads and some killer onion rings. Let’s not forget the milkshakes. They’re incredible. —Eric Doksa Dish (Summer 2013)

Sesame Burgers & Beer

West Ashley - Burgers

Hunter McRae

Sesame's Burger in a Bowl

Sesame is not only known for its burgers, but its focus on quality local ingredients. The condiments are made in-house (ketchup, pickles, etc.) and most of the toppings come from nearby farms. You can order any burger with or without a bun, with your choice of beef, black beans, chicken, or turkey. Last we checked, they’ve got over 45 toppings to choose from, ranging from American cheese to fig and bacon jam. Burgers aside, they’ve also got some fresh garden salads and some killer onion rings. Let’s not forget the milkshakes. They’re incredible. —Eric Doksa Dish (Summer 2013)

Sesame Burgers & Beer

North Charleston - Burgers

The Memphis Burger

Sesame is not only known for its burgers, but its focus on quality local ingredients. The condiments are made in-house (ketchup, pickles, etc.) and most of the toppings come from nearby farms. You can order any burger with or without a bun, with your choice of beef, black beans, chicken, or turkey. Last we checked, they’ve got over 45 toppings to choose from, ranging from American cheese to fig and bacon jam. Burgers aside, they’ve also got some fresh garden salads and some killer onion rings. Let’s not forget the milkshakes. They’re incredible. —Eric Doksa Dish (Summer 2013)

Skoogie's

Mt. Pleasant - Hot Dog Joints

This tiny lunch spot is a Mt. Pleasant classic. Billing itself “the best little deli South of Chicago,” Skoogie’s has been knocking out BLTs, reubens, and Italian beef sandwiches for more than 30 years. The egg salad and chicken salad sandwiches are noteworthy, but the classic Chicago-style Skoogie Dog is the real star of the show. It’s a genuine Vienna Beef wiener in a steamed poppy-seed bun, piled high with onions, mustard, tomatoes, and sport peppers and finished off with a kosher pickle strip and a dash of celery salt. Served with a generous helping of crisp shoestring fries, it’s a perfect taste of the Windy City right here in the Holy one. —Robert Moss Dish (Winter 2015)

The Sprout

Mt. Pleasant - Vegetarian + Organic

The Sprout’s vegan, organic menu and extensive fresh juice offerings will satisfy even the most hard-core health nuts among us (even the ones from California). This small café next to Mt. P’s Eco-Fitness keeps their coolers stocked with plenty of grab-and-go items like breakfast quinoa and live granola, while their made-to-order menu features a walnut burger and their famous vegan pad thai. During peak hours their juicer runs practically nonstop, churning out delicious, nutrient-packed concoctions like the Skin Saver (peach, pineapple, apple, and carrot) and the Alkaline Battery (cucumber, kale, parsley, lemon, and celery). If you’re feeling really brave, try a wheatgrass shot — just make sure you’ve got a chaser ready. We recommend their Berry Dream Smoothie. —Elizabeth Pandolfi Dish (Winter 2015)

Sunflower Café

West Ashley - Cafés

Yes, you can get a filet mignon omelet laced with Boursin cheese, but the folks at the Sunflower Café aren’t putting on any airs. It’s a cheery, family-run spot with friendly service and outstanding comfort food. The big fresh-made salads and sandwiches like the tuna melt and the BLFGT (bacon, lettuce, and fried green tomatoes) hit the spot at lunch, but breakfast and brunch is where this Sunflower really blossoms. A blizzard of powdered sugar blankets fluffy beignets, and the poached eggs are loaded up with crab and fried green tomatoes or sausage and onions. Don’t skip the breakfast potatoes tossed with onions and peppers; they’re delicious. And as for that filet mignon and Boursin cheese omelet, well, it’s a work of nap-inducing breakfast genius. —Robert Moss Dish (Winter 2014)

The Tin Roof

West Ashley - Hot Dog Joints

This classic dive and music venue, complete with a Willy Wonka mural and a sizeable patio, specializes in hearty hot dogs. Their most popular dog is the Maple Leaf, topped with maple soy syrup, honey mustard, bacon, and relish. It tastes like dipping your sausage in maple syrup on Sunday morning. The Mango has mango salsa, spicy mustard, cabbage, mayo, and bacon. For those looking for savory, they've got a mean Chicago dog, and the Suzy's Weiner dog has chili, homemade jalapeño pimento cheese, and onion. They also serve sandwiches and burgers, and vegetarians can chow down on the Boca Burger. All sandwich bread, hot dog buns, and burger buns come from Ashley Bakery. Sunday brunch runs the gamut from breakfast wraps to breakfast nachos, made with raw fries topped with scrambled eggs, cheddar, bacon, and Sriracha. —Amelia Thomson

Tomato Shed Cafe

Johns Island - Southern

The Ambrose family runs a Wadmalaw farm, a Johns Island market, and the quaint Tomato Shed Café, where the focus is always on fresh, locally grown vegetables. When they say they’re a farm-to-table restaurant, they really mean it. They are the farmers. The menu is classic, Southern country cooking with meat choices like roast pork, beef, or barbecue and side dishes like tomato pie, squash casserole, collards, and butter beans. If you can’t score a table during the busy lunch rush, they’ve got plenty of take-and-bake items in the refrigerator. And if you’re looking for some shrimp, they usually have a cooler of the day’s freshest catch for sale. It’s a one-stop shop for local food lovers. And they’ve added a selection of wines from Grassroots to make your life complete. —Stephanie Barna Dish (Summer 2013)

Twenty Six Divine

Downtown - Cafés

There’s nothing so gratifying as a culinary love story, especially when it culminates in what some call their favorite meals in Charleston. Husband and wife chefs/owners Enan and Jennifer Parezo first met while working on Seabrook Island, then held posts at Charleston Place. Jenn, a pastry chef, worked at The Sanctuary on Kiawah while helping Enan launch his catering and private chef business. Lucky for us, they opened Twenty Six Divine together in 2010. A petite and intimate venue on Upper King, the menu changes weekly, and guests are treated to surprise amuse bouches while awaiting their mains. So for example, while you anticipate your duck confit panini, or your house-made spinach ricotta gnocchi, Jenn might treat you to a shot of honey dew vanilla smoothie or a sweet potato vichyssoise. Elegance, surprise, and artistry make this place a sure bet. And since Jenn is a trained pastry chef, the made-from-scratch desserts will send you off on a dreamy sugar high. —Allston McCrady Dish (Winter 2015)

Verde

Downtown - American

Thanks to Verde, boring desk salads are a thing of the past. The King Street shop mixes up greens with fresh toppings or builds wraps. Diners have the option to build their own, picking from a long-line of veggies, proteins, and dressings. But we tend to stick to their specialty salads, like the Soba Salad (romaine, baby spinach, roasted chicken, soba noodles, cucumbers, carrots, and shallots with sesame peanut dressing, and sriracha) or the Farmers Market (arugula, mesclun, baby spinach, sprouts, cucumbers, avocado, broccoli, hearts of palm, and sunflower seeds dressed with Green Goddess). The employees also create salads as one-offs that are well worth a try. —Melissa Tunstall Dish (Winter 2015)

Verde

Mt. Pleasant - American

Thanks to Verde, boring desk salads are a thing of the past. The King Street shop mixes up greens with fresh toppings or builds wraps. Diners have the option to build their own, picking from a long-line of veggies, proteins, and dressings. But we tend to stick to their specialty salads, like the Soba Salad (romaine, baby spinach, roasted chicken, soba noodles, cucumbers, carrots, and shallots with sesame peanut dressing, and sriracha) or the Farmers Market (arugula, mesclun, baby spinach, sprouts, cucumbers, avocado, broccoli, hearts of palm, and sunflower seeds dressed with Green Goddess). The employees also create salads as one-offs that are well worth a try. —Melissa Tunstall Dish (Winter 2015)

Voodoo Tiki Bar and Lounge

West Ashley - Tapas Bar

Jonathan Boncek

Voodoo brings some much-needed Polynesian flavor to the Lowcountry, with a few velvet paintings and wild full moon parties thrown in the mix. The Avondale restaurant recently updated both its space and its menu, revamping the cocktail list to utilize more fresh ingredients — but don’t worry, the drinks are still served in kitschy tropical tumblers with as much flare as they can fit poking out of the top. The food menu is packed with inventive bar fare that probably shouldn’t even be called bar fare. There’s a selection of satisfying sliders like duck club, oxtail, and the crispy fried white bean burgers, or try the gourmet tacos — barbecue duck and Baja shrimp are popular choices. The pizza du jour is often an adventurous choice; a recent special featured cilantro pesto, pineapple, cheese, and bacon. It was surprisingly delicious. —Erica Jackson CurranDish (Winter 2014)

The ’Wich Doctor

Folly Beach - Delis + Sandwiches

Jonathan Boncek

Ramen

The ’Wich Doctor is still holding down the fort just off the main drag of Folly Beach’s Center Street. They’re still serving up out-of-the-ordinary sandwiches and pizza with the occasional noodle bowl and other mouth-watering specials. The vibrant little shack has a laid-back atmosphere where you can enjoy smoked chicken, jerk pork, and pork belly sandwiches. The Hanoi Hoagie is full of flavor, with juicy slices of lemongrass beef, julienned carrots, fresh cilantro, and nuoc cham (a Vietnamese condiment made with citrus and fish sauce). While the sandwiches are solid, the specialty pizzas are a must try. The white clam pizza fares well with a garlic butter base under ricotta, lemon, Italian parsley, and, of course, clams. But we always seem to find ourselves obsessing over the noodle bowls — think curried udon noodle with poached chicken, tomato, pineapple, and bok choy — flavor explosion. —Eric Doksa Dish (Summer 2014)

Wild Wing

Downtown - American

Serving Lunch, Dinner, Late Night (daily); Sun. Brunch (Mt. P - Oakland Market Road location) The Wild Wing restaurant chain — an empire that grew out of Hilton Head and was sold to a group out of Charlotte — hit on a surefire winner of a concept. They serve some of the best chicken wings ever and douse them with enough different sauces and flavors to captivate a crowd. We like to order our beer by the bucket and then get a sampler platter of wings so we can taste some of the 35 different flavors. Our top five? Flaming Parmesan, Ranchilada, Loco Bueno, Red Dragon, and the Red, Hot, and Bleu. They’ve got other stuff on the menu here, and it’s good, too, but the wings are why people return again and again. —Stephanie Barna Dish (Winter 2015)

Wild Wing - Mt. Pleasant

Mt. Pleasant - American

Serving Lunch, Dinner, Late Night (daily); Sun. Brunch (Mt. P - Oakland Market Road location) The Wild Wing restaurant chain — an empire that grew out of Hilton Head and was sold to a group out of Charlotte — hit on a surefire winner of a concept. They serve some of the best chicken wings ever and douse them with enough different sauces and flavors to captivate a crowd. We like to order our beer by the bucket and then get a sampler platter of wings so we can taste some of the 35 different flavors. Our top five? Flaming Parmesan, Ranchilada, Loco Bueno, Red Dragon, and the Red, Hot, and Bleu. They’ve got other stuff on the menu here, and it’s good, too, but the wings are why people return again and again. —Stephanie Barna Dish (Winter 2015)

Wild Wing - N. Charleston

North Charleston - American

Serving Lunch, Dinner, Late Night (daily); Sun. Brunch (Mt. P - Oakland Market Road location) The Wild Wing restaurant chain — an empire that grew out of Hilton Head and was sold to a group out of Charlotte — hit on a surefire winner of a concept. They serve some of the best chicken wings ever and douse them with enough different sauces and flavors to captivate a crowd. We like to order our beer by the bucket and then get a sampler platter of wings so we can taste some of the 35 different flavors. Our top five? Flaming Parmesan, Ranchilada, Loco Bueno, Red Dragon, and the Red, Hot, and Bleu. They’ve got other stuff on the menu here, and it’s good, too, but the wings are why people return again and again. —Stephanie Barna Dish (Winter 2015)

Wild Wing - Oakland Market

Mt. Pleasant - American

Serving Lunch, Dinner, Late Night (daily); Sun. Brunch (Mt. P - Oakland Market Road location) The Wild Wing restaurant chain — an empire that grew out of Hilton Head and was sold to a group out of Charlotte — hit on a surefire winner of a concept. They serve some of the best chicken wings ever and douse them with enough different sauces and flavors to captivate a crowd. We like to order our beer by the bucket and then get a sampler platter of wings so we can taste some of the 35 different flavors. Our top five? Flaming Parmesan, Ranchilada, Loco Bueno, Red Dragon, and the Red, Hot, and Bleu. They’ve got other stuff on the menu here, and it’s good, too, but the wings are why people return again and again. —Stephanie Barna Dish (Winter 2015)

Wild Wing Cafe

North Charleston - American

Serving Lunch, Dinner, Late Night (daily); Sun. Brunch (Mt. P - Oakland Market Road location) The Wild Wing restaurant chain — an empire that grew out of Hilton Head and was sold to a group out of Charlotte — hit on a surefire winner of a concept. They serve some of the best chicken wings ever and douse them with enough different sauces and flavors to captivate a crowd. We like to order our beer by the bucket and then get a sampler platter of wings so we can taste some of the 35 different flavors. Our top five? Flaming Parmesan, Ranchilada, Loco Bueno, Red Dragon, and the Red, Hot, and Bleu. They’ve got other stuff on the menu here, and it’s good, too, but the wings are why people return again and again. —Stephanie Barna Dish (Winter 2015)

Workmen's Cafe

James Island - Soul Food

Angie Bellinger cooks up an array of Southern favorites, from fried chicken and meat loaf to lima beans (made with smoky neck bones) served over a plate of rice.

Zia Taqueria

James Island - Mexican

We have many favorites at this great little taqueria. Like the tart margaritas that come served in tall pint glasses. Like the fish tacos that you can get for $2.50 on Mondays. Like the spicy verde salsa, which we could drink by the bucket, and the fantastic chicken enchiladas, or the big, messy tortas, and the generous platos (they could easily feed a small family). There’s not a bad thing on the entire menu, and we should know. We’ve eaten pretty much everything on it. —Stephanie Barna Dish (Summer 2013)
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