By Mark A. Leon
There are world renowned restaurants in Charleston. There are even world renowned dive bars and eateries in Charleston who have made a name for themselves. What about the real deep dive establishments. The ones you don’t read about in the papers. The ones that can’t afford the marketing and promotion, so they get left out of the fanfare. Here is the catch, they offer a great product and an incredible customer experience. They aren’t on the top of anyone’s list, but for those that know the secret places, they are worth the excursion.
Today, we are going to ride through the urban jungles of Charleston to unleash some of the great spots, you may never have heard about.
Huriyali Gardens: Juices, Smoothies and Snacks – 401 Huger Street, Charleston, SC
Start with the Green Dream – Kale, Cucumber, Apple, Kiwi, Berries, Herbs and Ginger, come together in a harmonious mix that will please your body as well as your palate. This juice has more that 100% of your daily intake of vitamins A, C and K.
If you are feeling nutty, Nuts Over You will inspire: Cashew, Vanilla Bean, Ceylon Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg, Himalayan Salt, Raw Local Honey, Raw Cacao Powder combine to make our Fall inspired spiced cashew milk.
If that doesn’t do it, AC’s OG will fuel up your day: Kale, Celery, Cucumber, Cilantro, Lemon – designed specially for our multi marathon running customer.
Charlie’s Grocery – 1 Jasper Street, Charleston, SC – Without a doubt the Falafel sandwich is nothing short of addictive. This family recipe has been carried down and has warmed the taste buds of locals for years. Get a sandwich, add some homemade potato salad and go to a small park on the campus of MUSC to enjoy great food and nice weather.
Dukes Bar-B-Que – 4428B Spruill Avenue, North Charleston, SC – Do not let the location scare you. The limited hours may be a challenge though. Dukes has been a foundation for over 55 years and now this small one room restaurant is open Friday and Saturday only from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM for dine in and take out. This buffet will run you less than $10.00 each and the ambiance is just fascinating. When you walk in you will see long picnic tables with rolls of paper towels, loaves of bread still in the bad and plastic condiments containers. The staff is warm and friendly and reminds you of a cool day on the ranch. The buffet is simple, but amazingly delicious. Pulled pork, hash, two types of pickles, slaw, unsweetened tea and sweetened tea. That’s it. Of course a variety of BBQ sauces. The only advice, come early, they tend to sell out.
Blackbird Market – 1808 Bohicket Road, John’s Island, SC – To the naked eyes, this appears to be a small organic local grocer, but once you step inside, you experience one of the most satisfying experiences in the Lowcountry. From Asheville made cheeses, to bacon wrapped filet to scallops that appear to be on steroids, this market is a dream. Their local partnerships allow for the freshest vegetables, pastas, seafood and meats. You will also be enticed by their fresh baked goods including amazing oreo balls and brownies. If you have an immediate appetite, they offer a full service kitchen with seating outside under the water fans and shade. Note: The menu changes daily and seasonally. This is a must try. We do warn you, once you go, you may just keep coming back, even if it is just for the fresh she-crab soup.
Dellz Uptown – 511 Rutledge Avenue, Charleston, SC – Just north of the Crosstown is Dellz Uptown. This baby blue building has been the home of a number of eateries, but this one looks like it could stay for a while. This Caribbean-themed vegan/vegetarian restaurant offers artistic walls, healthy menu options and mouth watering food that will not leave you hungry. A few recommended options to help guide you along are:
My Thai Bowl
Uptown Elvis Smoothie
Luke’s Craft Pizza – 271 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC – When you are driving through the Crosstown, you may see the sign and think, “wow and ode to Gilmore Girls”. At least I did, but Luke’s is the brain child of EVO alum Chef Luke Davis. He has converted this little corner take out place to a home for artistic pizza design and comfort. Don’t let the tiny exterior or cozy setting distract you from absolutely great and imaginative pizza.
The CODfather – 1809 Reynolds Avenue, North Charleston, SC (Just outside the Old Naval Station) – The reputation from repeat customers has made this a popular spot for many including couples, families, workers and bikers. Its location has still kept it a little under the radar. This restaurant perhaps has one of the smallest menus in the Lowcountry (Fish, Fish and Chips, Chips, Meat Pie, a few sides). That is all. But the deep fried heavenly taste will knock your socks off and remind you how good real authentic Fish and Chips can be. The owner brings his love of his home country cooking to the Charleston area and we cannot be more thrilled. A little tip: BYOB. Also, the double order truly is a double order. Unless you have a massive appetite, go for the single or share.
There you have it, a small list of some of the really out of the way places to indulge your appetite. Behind the hidden corners and the glamor of the big name restaurants, Charleston has a little hidden world of great food made with love. In a city build on dreams, family and intimate relationships, these are the places that define who we are.
Thank you to all these businesses for giving us the fruits of their passion.