Are you going on a trip to Charleston and need advice on what food joints to visit? Or are you a local and need new places to checkout? Read through our 48 Hours In: San Francisco blog post (or should we say guide) to help you out!
When I met with MaryJo to discuss Charleston, these were the first few words that came out of her mouth: “Charleston, South Carolina has always held a special place in my heart. From the southern hospitality and charm to its ever-growing culinary scene, it is still my favorite place in the world.”
MaryJo’s love and passion for Charleston started when she was a little girl. Every summer she had the chance to vacation away from her extremely small hometown of Nashville, Georgia, to stay with her grandparents in the heart of Charleston. Even after her grandparents moved within five minutes of her hometown, MaryJo would still make frequent trips to the city that was so captivating in all aspects.
Charleston’s traditional culinary scene has always included fried seafood and low-country cuisine, both of which can be a bit less than healthy. Recently, though, Charleston’s food scene has exploded and the cuisine, while still fresh and locally-sourced, has become influenced by global flavors. This has led to elevated and innovative menu items, which tend to be healthier and fresher than traditional fried food. Yet, despite the global influence, Charleston’s cuisine still holds true to its southern flair and charm.
Below, let’s take a look into some of MaryJo’s ultimate “restaurant crushes” down in Charleston.
1085 Morrison Dr, Charleston, SC 29403 | New American with a Middle Eastern Twist
“Butcher & Bee opened on King Street in 2011 with the simple mission of serving honest-to-goodness sandwiches made with flavor combinations and food quality usually reserved for fine dining.”
Their mission has grown beyond sandwiches to include a diverse menu of locally-sourced mezze, vegetables and proteins, beer, wine, and cocktails.
MaryJo’s first morning in Charleston was accompanied by travel fatigue and the excitement of being back in her favorite southern city. For a little “pick me up”, she headed straight to Butcher & Bee to get a delicious espresso to couple with the amazing chocolate tahini babka, in which they use our premium tahini. The chocolate tahini babka is light, moist, and melts in your mouth, giving way to the perfect amount of sweetness. Side note: the combination of chocolate and tahini is simply the best, aka why we sell our Chocolate Sweet Tahini Halva Spread in the first place!
In addition, there are so many unbelievable pastries, both sweet and savory, that are dynamite!
If pastries aren’t your thing, there are plenty of tremendous lunch options. MaryJo highly recommends the ‘Sabich Plate’ which consists of eggplant, potato, egg, green tahini, amba, cabbage, pickled zucchini, and pita.
Besides the food, the atmosphere of the place is spectacular. Since I’ve never gotten down there myself, I asked MaryJo to share her thoughts when it came to Butcher & Bee’s atmosphere. I loved how she put it: “OMG! Where do I begin? It’s cheerful, bright, open, industrial-chic; and has tons of natural light coming in the front windows.”
The Daily by Butcher and Bee
652B King Street, Charleston, SC 29403 | Locally-Inspired Cafe and Retail Shop
“The Daily is a neighborhood marketplace with top-notch coffee, breakfast, juice, smoothies, pastries, breads, wine, beer and grab-and-go provisions.”
Their menu is a refined selection of their favorite authentic items, all crafted with or inspired by the greatest flavors in Charleston.
Later that day, after a morning of reliving childhood memories, MaryJo realized she was starving. It was an easy decision to go to The Daily, Butcher & Bee’s sister restaurant. There isn’t a bad choice on the menu, but MaryJo ALWAYS gets the Haloumi English Muffin, a delectable breakfast sandwich filled with grilled halloumi cheese, broccoli rabe, feta butter, and a fried egg. If you’re not in the mood for a breakfast sandwich, they have a wonderful hummus bowl with Israeli salad, shugg, and za’atar with charred pita that she highly recommends, too.
The atmosphere at The Daily is very hip and cool with high top countertops throughout, shared tables to inspire strangers coming together, and has an eclectic, yet cozy, atmosphere. It also has an open kitchen as well as a retail space for people to purchase some products that are highlighted throughout the menu, including Soom Tahini and Soom Chocolate Tahini.
Great news: The Daily is opening up a second location at The Gibbes Museum where you can get a shortened version of Butcher & Bee’s mezze platter, whipped feta, hummus, pickles, and beets. The Daily is open during the Museum’s hours. Double win!
492 King St, Charleston, SC 29403 | New American
“492 is located in Historic Downtown Charleston and showcases the Charleston charm diners are looking for from the vintage building to the modern fixtures within. Guests can enjoy Executive Chef Josh Keeler’s award-winning cuisine, handcrafted cocktails, and desserts prepared by their talented pastry team.”
“During the renovation of 492 King Street, historical significance and attention to detail played a large role in creating the new space. The building dates back to the late 1800’s when clothiers were a large part of the economy in Charleston, especially in the Upper King Street district.”
For MaryJo’s final night in Charleston, she headed to historic downtown Charleston’s 492 to see Executive Pastry Chef Amanee Neirouz, the creator of 492’s most popular dessert, The Millionaire Tart. After enjoying a delicious wreckfish entrée, MaryJo took her first bite of The Millionaire Tart, which is full of unbelievable layers of shortbread, caramel, chocolate, and halva. I mimicked the drooling emoji when reading the dessert description… MaryJo was laughing so hard she almost fell from her seat!
From the contemporary dining room downstairs to the romantic Southern space upstairs to the picturesque courtyard on King Street, 492 is the perfect place to enjoy cocktails and mingling with family and friends.
WOW factor: 492 is one of three concepts within the Relish Restaurant Group, whose goal is to restrict the amount of waste they produce. They have partnered with Smart Recycling US to help recycle and compost almost everything used within all three of their concepts.
224 King St, Charleston, SC 29401 | Fine Dining with Southern French Dishes
The Charleston Grill; where world-class jazz music meets mouth-watering cuisine. “Chef Michelle Weaver takes local delicacies to innovative new heights with a heavenly mix of delightful dishes divided into four categories—Pure, Lush, Southern and Cosmopolitan—that sound so tempting they should be edible.”
“Creations include seared flounder with buttery grits and shrimp, sherry-country ham gravy, and tomato-basil salad or grilled peach salad with country ham and candied pecans. No wonder it boasts the prestigious AAA Four Diamond Award for food excellence!” No wonder why our jaws dropped to the floor!
MaryJo wanted to get to Charleston Grill, but she ran out of time before her flight back. She’s heard amazing things about the chef, Michelle Weaver, who serves as the South Carolina Chef’s Ambassador for 2018. (Each year four chefs, from across the state are selected to promote South Carolina’s culinary heritage and local food culture through cooking demonstrations, guest appearances, and educational programs.)
Once MaryJo knew that Soom Tahini was in the hummus for the ‘Collection of Vegetables’ entree, she was even more upset that she missed out. Thankfully, she will be back in Charleston again and will share her dining experience with you all! Stay tuned!
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