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. 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. —Sam Spence (Dish, Summer 2018)

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, Summer 2018)

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, Summer 2018)

Bessinger's Barbeque

West Ashley - Barbecue

If you want to sample the classic Midlands style of South Carolina barbecue without leaving the city limits, just head over to Bessinger’s on Savannah Highway. It’s the outpost established by Thomas Bessinger, one of a trio of brothers from Orangeburg County who came down to Charleston in the 1950s and 1960s and opened drive-in barbecue joints. Now run by his sons, Tommy and Michael, the restaurant boasts a dual format, with a country buffet on one side of the building and a sandwich shop on the other. The buffet features everything from fried catfish to teriyaki chicken along with a parade of homestyle Southern sides. The sandwich shop still serves burgers and barbecue the way they did back in the ’60s. The savory hash and rice is a fine example of South Carolina’s classic barbecue side, and Bessinger’s signature yellow mustard sauce is one of the best around. You might not expect it from a barbecue joint, but the cheeseburger basket is the insider’s pick for a great old-school burger, too. —Robert Moss (Dish, Summer 2018)

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 be 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. —Robert Moss (Dish, Summer 2018)

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, and Chantilly cream. Vive Breizh Pan! —Kinsey Gidick (Dish, Summer 2018)

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)

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)

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)

Chico Feo

Folly Beach - Bar

Jonathan Boncek

Wu-Tang Bowl

Owner Hank Weed opened the Second Street and East Ashley Avenue as a taco luncheon counter, similar in vein to the Lunch Hook, a sandwich joint sporadically run out of the location in years prior. It’s since grown into a full-fledged mini restaurant complete with dishes like curry goat and Cuban beans and rice. Of course the tacos remain a menu staple. You can get three — mahi, house-smoked pork, and chicken — for $8. A cozy outdoor bar, complete with TV (when weather allows), ample picnic table seating, and a tiny stage on the back porch of the property’s adjoining cabin, make this the perfect spot for post-beach snacking. —Stratton Lawrence (Dish, Summer 2018)

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 menu appeals to the serious beer drinker with a handful of tasty bar snacks: pork rinds, buffalo shrimp, potato skins, and gravy fries. 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). —Kinsey Gidick (Dish, Summer 2018)

The Codfather

North Charleston - English + Irish

Jonathan Boncek

Don’t let the name fool you, The Codfather is a proper chippy. Owner Adam Randall, a Brit by birth, earned his fried fish stripes by working at his father’s fish and chips shop in Pennsylvania. His idea for The Codfather was an old-school spot with hearty English food. And now, after a wildly successful go at his first location, he's moved into a bigger and better spot on Spruill. At the handbuilt shop, Randall uses both cod and haddock with his own special recipe batter. Mushy peas can be ordered as a side with gravy. We suggest you order them. Thick and creamy, on a rainy day in North Charleston you’d be hard pressed to find a more comforting, or affordable meal. —Kinsey Gidick (Dish, Summer 2018)

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 2018)

Dave's Carry-Out

Downtown - Soul Food

Jonathan Boncek

Fried Shrimp

This no-frills soul food joint offers a true taste of Charleston. For under $10 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 lima beans, 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 $8 for a generous portion of shrimp to $14 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, Summer 2018)

DB's Cheesesteaks

West Ashley - American

Missing since they closed up shop on Folly road in 2010, DB’s Cheesesteaks is back. Set up at 2 Avondale Ave. owner Danny Bailey is serving his finely chopped cheesesteaks, chicken cheesesteaks, and pizza steaks. Avondale barflys now have another option to soak up all the booze they’ve downed at Voodoo, The Roost, and Gene’s. Why’d you go to a cheesesteak shop and not get a cheesesteak is a mystery. But if that’s your thing, they have meatball hoagies, burgers, hot dogs, and cold subs too. But let’s be real, you should get a cheesesteak. —Robert Donovan (Dish, Summer 2018)

Dell'z Uptown

Downtown - Cafés

Jonathan Boncek

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

While Dell’z 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, sriracha, 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 2018)

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, Allendale, 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

Look for the Dodge’s Chicken sign as you head out Highway 17 South and hang a hard right into the Fishnet Seafood parking lot. This favorite of locals (and go-to fried crab shack of Sean Brock), tucked in a weathered former filling station, sports a plethora of fried seafood. Ladies wearing white shrimp boots patiently hand-bread full-bellied blue crab, load up fryers, and make chitchat with regulars. You can select your local catch of choice from the on-site fishmonger to have it fried up specially for you, from croaker to porgy to flounder. Don’t be surprised if the catfish on ice is still moving, watching you as you decide its fate. It’s that fresh. The walls are adorned with scripture — they sell Jesus crabs rather than deviled — but the steady line of worshipers at the lunchtime counter testify to the authenticity of honest people who just cook it the right way. —Allston McCrady (Dish, Summer 2018)

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 Range pub serves up the choicest craft brews and an unexpectedly good fish and chips plate. —Chris Haire (Dish, Summer 2018)

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)

The Harbinger Bakery and Cafe

Downtown - Coffee + Tea Shops

Charleston was light on adorable cafes until Harbinger rolled up on King Street. Owners Greer Gilchrist and Cameron Neal have brought their love of fresh pastries, sandwiches, and salads and placed them into a ridiculously charming space on Upper King. Stop by for the Sunshine Bar, a mix of date almond crust and coconut and dates ($3.50) or a half of a Mexican chopped salad (for only $6!) for lunch. The ladies serve all your favorite coffee options — iced lattes, cappuccinos, machiattos, to pair with your Don’t Cry For Me Argentina tartine while reading the New York Times in their sun dappled cafe. —Kinsey Gidick (Dish, Summer 2018)

HŌM

Downtown - Burgers

Adam Chandler

HōM-Wrecker

HōM (pronounced home) is still slinging some quality gourmet burgers in its seventh year in business. The HōM Wrecker 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 2018)

Jack's Cafe

Downtown - American

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, Summer 2018)

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 five locations now service more than hungry CofC Cougars. 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. This chicken is clearly doing something right. —Kinsey Gidick (Dish, Summer 2018)

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 five locations now service more than hungry CofC Cougars. 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. This chicken is clearly doing something right. —Kinsey Gidick (Dish, Summer 2018)

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 five locations now service more than hungry CofC Cougars. 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. This chicken is clearly doing something right. —Kinsey Gidick (Dish, Summer 2018)

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 five locations now service more than hungry CofC Cougars. 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. This chicken is clearly doing something right. —Kinsey Gidick (Dish, Summer 2018)

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 five locations now service more than hungry CofC Cougars. 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. This chicken is clearly doing something right. —Kinsey Gidick (Dish, Summer 2018)

La Norteña

North Charleston - Mexican

Paul E. Cheney, Jr./jwkpec.com

Ask any chef in Charleston where they go for authentic Mexican food in town and the answer is La Norteña. Hailing from the central region of Jalisco, the western-Pacific area in Mexico, the specialties here include numerous seafood dishes, including octopus ceviche, whole fried tilapia, shrimp veracruzano, and five house-made salsas and hot sauces brought to your table when you first sit down. Other recommended authentic items not to be found at your Americanized joints are Menudo, a honeycomb tripe soup, tortas, tacos callejeros (street tacos served on corn tortillas with cilantro, onion, and a lime on the side), and a variety of offal meats including lengua (beef tongue) and cabeza (beef cheek). Favorites also include the Barbacoa and the al Pastor tacos with the house margarita, making this a worthy trip to North Charleston for the real gustatory experience. —Katherine Connor (Dish, Summer 2018)

Ladles Soups

Downtown - Soup & Salad

Basically the antithesis of Seinfeld’s famous “Soup Nazi,” Ladles is a charming local chain providing all manner of liquid sustenance to the Lowcountry. Started 11 years ago, it’s quickly expanded far beyond Charleston, but maintains its commitment to quality with a rigorous franchise plan all owners must adhere to. That means that the tangy lemon chicken soup is just as good downtown as it is in West Ashley. And did I mention affordable? At $3.75 a bowl, you can’t beat the price. —Kinsey Gidick (Dish, Summer 2018)

Mama Kim's

Downtown - Korean

Mama Kim, a petite Korean woman with the strength to take on Charleston and become a surrogate mother to all who dine here, has a memorable slogan, “Rock out with your wok out.” And rock it she does with her interminable energy and genuinely warm hospitality. For all the turn-over that happens in this collegiate area, the testament for Mama’s food comes from the length of time it’s been around — over a decade. A narrow brick room with plastic red booths with a friendly fast crew in the kitchen, this established hole-in-the-wall serves authentic spicy pork bul-go-gee that comes with all the accompaniments: pickled daikon, crunchy black beans, a variety of kimchi, kongjaban (black beans in soy sauce), sigeumchi namul (garlicky spinach), hot radish, and kongnamul (cold boiled bean sprouts in sesame oil). If Korean bee-bim-bop isn’t for you, try the Japanese hibachi, the rice bowls, steamed beef dumplings or the famous bibimbap, fried egg over rice and vegetables. Keep your own plate rockin’ with the selection of homemade hot sauces including yellow Komezu sauce, ginger sauce, and a myriad of blazing hot sauces. —Katherine Connor (Dish, Summer 2018)

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

Write ups in the New York Times, numerous Best of Charleston awards and mentions by Sean Brock and other chefs have had Martha Lou’s Kitchen on the list of many a Charleston visitor. The accolades haven’t caused the food to change much, still serving up classic meat and three options. The menu changes daily but there’s a good chance some combo of the fried chicken, whiting, or pork chops will be available. The Fried Chicken and whiting come to you straight out of the frier, hot, both with a salty, well-spiced, craggy crust. It’s all fried to order so be prepared to wait. Pretty much anyone you talk to about Martha Lou’s is bound to mention the limas. Like everything else from the kitchen they’re richly flavored and stewed with hunks of pork — a must order. Round it out with red rice, collards, mac and cheese, or okra and you’re set except for the tea. Sipping Martha Lou’s tea you might question if there’s any sugar left, anywhere. —Kinsey Gidick (Dish, Summer 2018)

Mex 1 Coastal Cantina

West Ashley - Mexican

Jonathan Boncek

Mex 1 Coastal Cantina was 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). Jack’s Cosmic Dog owner Jack Hurley’s culinary trip South of the border won’t leave diners 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. —Eric Doksa (Dish, Summer 2018)

Moe's Crosstown Tavern

Downtown - Pubs + Taverns

Jonathan Boncek

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, dinner, and on game day. 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. Thirty minutes until 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 even ‘Mo Hotter.’ 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, Summer 2018)

Nana's Seafood and Soul

Downtown - Soul Food

Nana’s doesn’t have a website. But that’s no problem. The restaurant’s Instagram page is updated daily — sometimes multiple times a day often with an image of Eugene H. Krabs from Spongebob Squarepants shouting “Ay yall boy! Nana’s got dem garlic crabs.” And you should follow Krabs’ advice. With pork chops, fried whiting, cornbread, and bread pudding, this is real deal comfort food. But best of all is Nana’s recently introduced hot chicken. A thick paste of spices coats each piece and makes your lips tingle. Even better, Nana’s delivers, so you can get your hot chicken burn on any time you feel. —Kinsey Gidick (Dish, Summer 2018)

North Central Delicatessen

Downtown - Delis + Sandwiches

Jonathan Boncek

The After Party

We’re all about eating local except when it comes to bagels. If you want legit bagels, go to North Central Deli and grab the lox. Flown in from Long Island’s A&S Bakery, these are the real deal, chewy, savory bagels you’ve been looking for and they speak to Chef Marguerite Chalmers commitment to using only very best ingredients she can find. That’s a rarity in this day and age of cheap eats. Cheap usually means a 99 cent heart attack. Not at North Central Deli. All of the sandwiches are made to order and the wursts come straight from Stiglmeier Sausage Company in Chicago. That’s tube meat we can get behind. —Kinsey Gidick (Dish, Summer 2018)

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. 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, Summer 2018)

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

Pho #1

North Charleston - Thai + Vietnamese

If you’ve become bored with the takeout rotisserie chicken or subs from your neighborhood grocery, 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 2018)

Pollo Loko Peruvian

North Charleston - Mexican

Chicken and Ribs Combo

Hidden away in a strip mall just outside I-526 on Dorchester road, Pollo Loko serves up a mix of Peruvian and Mexican with other South American offerings. When you pull into the parking lot, you can smell the charcoal smoke of their signature dish — Peruvian charcoal grilled chicken with crispy skin, smoky flavor and perfectly tender meat. Served up with a tart vinegar cabbage and soft red rice, it’s a reasonably priced treat. Popular dishes like the Colombian meat buffet on a plate Bandeja paisa and Peruvian stir-fry lomo saltado offer other tasty options. If more traditional Mexican is what you’re after, Pollo Loko has a full selection of tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and other dishes from more directly south of the border cuisine. Fried and grilled tilapia and shrimp round out the menu, and you can pair anything with sides like fried plantains and yucca or a tall cool vanilla spiked Horchata. —Robert Donovan (Dish, Summer 2018)

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 stayed a local favorite in a city full of local favorites for years, by 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, Summer 2018)

Rodney Scott's BBQ

Downtown - Barbecue

Jonathan Boncek

The Scott family has been cooking whole hog barbecue over hardwood coals in remote Hemingway, SC since the early 1970s, and the same process is in place at pitmaster Rodney Scott’s BBQ here with results yielding everything from spare ribs to pulled pork sandwiches. The pulled smoked chicken is a delicious and reliable option, while sleeper hits include the flawless collard greens and unexpectedly crisp and light catfish sandwich. With wine and beer available, if there’s a bag of Scott’s paprika-dusted fried pork rinds for sale on the counter, grab them to snack on while you await your ’cue. —Vanessa Wolf (Dish, Summer 2018)

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 salads and some killer onion rings. Let’s not forget the milkshakes. They’re incredible. —Eric Doksa (Dish, Summer 2018)

Short Grain

- Food Trucks

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, Summer 2018)

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)

Tattooed Moose

Downtown - Bar

Long before there were oasts and home teams on Morrison Drive, there was the Tattooed Moose. A neighborhood dive bar festooned with stuffed critters, including its namesake, the Moose hit paydirt as one of the first places in town to be featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. To their credit, aside from the crowds (deservedly) getting a little bigger, the fame hasn’t gone to their antlers. The Moose is known for its cold beer, killer sandwiches, and its duck fat fries. Oh, the fries. Served three ways, you can get your fries straight-up, with roasted garlic and blue cheese or with a side of gravy. For your main dish, try their famous duck confit club sandwich, a Thanksgiving sandwich, or the Lucky No. 1, with pork belly, kimchi, tomatoes, cucumbers, fried onions, spicy wasabi mayo, and sweet red chili sauce. More the island type? Beat the traffic and check out their location on Johns Island. And now, West Ashley moose lovers don’t have to venture far for their duck club fix — the Citadel Mall location opened this May. —Sam Spence (Dish, Summer 2018)

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, Summer 2018)

Verde

Downtown - Vegetarian + Organic

Jonathan Boncek

With a create-your-own option as well as a solid list of signature items, Verde covers all the (green) bases. Salad bases range from mesclun to kale, with topping choices like beets, edamame, and artichoke hearts. Add cheese, protein, and a dressing (we recommend the lemon tahini) and you’re good to go. If you’d prefer to save your decision-making capabilities then grab a signature salad like the Southern Harvest which stays true to its name with cornbread croutons and sweet tea vinaigrette. Any salad can also be wrapped so whether you’re looking to sit and munch or grab and go, Verde’s got you covered. Oh, and this locally owned and operated chain is growing. This summer they opened their first Charlotte location, with more green goodness on the horizon, we’re sure. —Connelly Hardaway (Dish, Summer 2018)

Verde

Mt. Pleasant - Vegetarian + Organic

Provided

With a create-your-own option as well as a solid list of signature items, Verde covers all the (green) bases. Salad bases range from mesclun to kale, with topping choices like beets, edamame, and artichoke hearts. Add cheese, protein, and a dressing (we recommend the lemon tahini) and you’re good to go. If you’d prefer to save your decision-making capabilities then grab a signature salad like the Southern Harvest which stays true to its name with cornbread croutons and sweet tea vinaigrette. Any salad can also be wrapped so whether you’re looking to sit and munch or grab and go, Verde’s got you covered. Oh, and this locally owned and operated chain is growing. This summer they opened their first Charlotte location, with more green goodness on the horizon, we’re sure. —Connelly Hardaway (Dish, Summer 2018)

Voodoo Tiki Bar and Lounge

West Ashley - Tapas Bar

Jonathan Boncek

Voodoo and Polynesian may not be the first combo you think of, but the Avondale tiki-themed restaurant makes it work. That’s probably because they don’t let the decor dictate the menu. Instead they serve upscale bar food, think fondue and tacos filled with barbecue duck, red curry chicken, baja shrimp, and cashew-encrusted tuna. They even create specialty pizzas every week, like the Philly Cheese Steak Pizza with garlic-mozzarella cheese sauce topped with steak, onions, peppers, and more mozzarella. The cocktail list is where you’ll really find the tiki influences, with punches and cocktails served in kitschy tropical tumblers with as much flare as they can fit poking out of the top. Many of the concoctions are made with delicious in-house liquor infusions, like peach cobbler vodka, strawberry-jalapeño tequila, and watermelon-basil tequila. And if the punches pack too much of a punch, a serving of Voodoo’s truffled tots served with garlic and green curry aioli will do you a world of good. —Melissa Tunstall (Dish, Summer 2018)

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

Pre-movie at the Terrace, this is our go-to for a little taco fare and a healthy gulp of one of Zia’s five different margarita varieties — pro tip, try the Más Margarita with the tequila of your choice, Cointreau, and fresh margarita mix, shaken and served on the rocks. Zia lures customers in with their salsa fresca and warm chips, but it’s their generous platos of beef barbacoa and chicken Yucatan served with corn on the cob that keeps us coming back time and again. —Kinsey Gidick (Dish, Summer 2018)

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