Charleston would have to be one of my favorite cities in the South, and perhaps even one of my favorite cities in the U.S. (Don’t worry NYC, I still love ya babe). People who love the idea of hitting up a smaller town with a HUGE culinary scene, this is your go-to spot. You can literally have the best time eating your way from breakfast, lunch and dinner, with snacks and happy hours thrown in as well. Lot’s of new and up and coming hotels, bars and restaurants, plus the good ol’ Southern charm of this historical city make it a perfect weekend getaway. Here’s a few of my favorites to get you started.
A new boutique hotel making waves here is Zero George. Designed to appeal to sophisticated travelers visiting Charleston for work or play, you’ll find it hidden in a landscaped enclave surrounded by brick carriage houses and residences. Mixing Southern charm with more modern style, inside you can see the architectural elements like high ceilings, pine floors and a mix of decor. Bonus here; you can partake in the hotels on site cooking classes, creating a range of different dishes using the latest techniques and styles. Oh, and make sure you have a morning coffee in the courtyard.
If you need a kick start to the day, hit up this awesome cafe called Black Tap Coffee. They make all kinds of incredible espresso drinks, plus some unusual flavors like Lavender lattes and also a cool iced coffee choice, called a Shakerato. Cheers to that!
If you are after a late morning Breakfast Sammy or even something more substantial in the sandwich department for lunch, hit up Butcher & Bee on King Street. They have a killer Bahn Mi, Fried Chicken and other meaty choices but also, if you are feeling like a veggie friendly option, grab one of their daily specials like the pulled squash or cauliflower melt we recently saw on the menu. They like to switch things up, so check out their twitter or facebook for what they’re cooking up.
If Asian food is more your thing, Xiao Bao Biscuit is your go to. A perfect mash up of Southeast Asian cuisine, it features dishes from all over China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. (For anyone who knows me, this couldn’t be MORE up my alley.) Built inside an old gas station about a 10 min walk from King Street, you’ll find a long bar perfect to pull up a stool and have some food and cocktails and there’s also cool seating for groups as well. Make sure you order the Okonomiyaki Japanese pancake, complete with ‘pork candy’ on top. They tend to rotate their dishes, so on the many occasions I have visited, I have been able to try something new and delicious.
For those warm Southern days, a nice little escape from the Downtown area is Folly Beach, located just a 15 min drive away from the city. Great for an hour or two of exploring, there are also shops, bars and restaurants in this beach town that you can check out too. At the Surf Bar, order a Pain Killer to really kick off your afternoon/evening. Just make sure you are not driving if you have a couple, as these are potent and delicious!
Back on Charleston’s busy King Street, you can enter a stately building which used to be an old bank and now houses a stunning Seafood Restaurant and Oyster Hall, which is perfect for a happy hour feast of raw bar delicacies and a glass or two of bubbles. If you miss coming in the early evening, swing by after dinner for a well made cocktail by one of the expert bartenders.
I know I have had you eating all day, but honestly CHS is one of my favorite towns to do just that! Save a compartment in your stomach because the tasting menu at this small artisanal grocer, come restaurant is worth it. Small plates allow you and your dining buddies to try a variety of the chefs seasonally inspired dishes. Perfectly balanced veggie dishes with slow cooked eggs, fresh fish and even nights when their epic burgers or ramen bowls are a daily special. The space is cozy, so give them a ring to see if you can reserve a spot! Well worth any wait you may have though!