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Suggestions for NYC to Charleston road trip

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I have to squeeze in a short vaca to Charleston SC in mid to late Feb and want to eat well. Charleston is not much of a problem and seems full of choices, but the drive down leaves a lot of openings. I would prefer not to wander too far from I-95 though I know that limits things a lot. Any advice would be welcomed. Ethnic cuisines are not my forte rather I would like to try good local special fare - fish or meat and I never rule out Italian so most areas are open to trying. Thanks in advanced.

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  1. If you would like italian i would recomend mercato or al di la.....if you would like fine dining i would recomend mccradys

    3 Replies
    1. re: homer

      I would really like to try Al Di La as every keeps recommending it. Unfortunately, as a solo diner coming in the door several years ago, they wouldn't seat me. There were no seats at the bar (where I would have sat, more than likely) but several available tables, but I was told that they were saving those for parties of two or more that were coming in the door... I go to Charleston 2x a year for work and have eaten at all kinds of places and never have gotten that treatment, so I can't recommend the place after that. After leaving there, feeling like a dejected loser, I walked down to FIG and was given my choice of table and treated really well.

      1. re: deibu

        That's outrageous. I'd be permanently offended, as well.

        I have to ask: you didn't actually WALK to FIG from Al Di La, did you?

        1. re: danna

          You know what - I was totally wrong... It was Il Cortile Del Re... I was confusing it with that. Next time I am down there (which will be in the next month or so) I will definitely have to check Al Di La out. I believe from what I saw the location was in West Ashley? My client is in West Ashley as well, so I will definitely have to check it out... I usually prefer to stay in the Historic District (I like to go out running/walking and it's great to do that there) but it's definitely cheaper for my boss for me to find somewhere to stay out there.

          Anyway, glad someone agreed with me on that... But it was Il Cortile Del Re so I was definitely wrong - don't want to spread bad things about Al Di La! That night at Il Cortile Del Re, the hostess even went to the manager (owner?) who told me they couldn't do a table for one. It's hard enough for me to go out dining on my own, so it made me feel incredibly small!

          If dining on your own in Charleston, I definitely recommend Sermet's Corner... They seem to get more solo diners and they cater to them better, so it's a go-to spot for me at least once a year when I'm down there for a few days by myself. The food is really good, and it is a little cheaper so it keeps the expense report down somewhat for me. Fast and French is also great for solo diners - it's mostly a bar, so I enjoy sitting there by myself, and they have lots and lots of really good magazines (definitely for the more liberal-minded amongst us though!). Also very cheap, which is a plus, but I'm not as big of a fan of the food and the mediocre waitstaff there - tends to be mostly CofC students and not as professional ...

    2. You can get plenty of good barbecue near 95 in NC and SC. How far off the highway would you be willing to roam?

      1. There is a good BBQ spot in Petersburg, Va. just off I-95
        http://www.kingsfamousbarbecue.com/

        I used to eat there while stationed at Ft. Lee and it is still going strong.

        1. I95 is a bit before Chs. but take off on I26 and you will shoot directly downtown. Hanks for low country seafood; Peninsula Grill for fine dining (coconut cake has had it's own features on Food Network); Hymans (crispy flounder), Boathouse Downtown (sushi+++); 82 Queens St (high end traditional low country styled southern cooking), Locklears (in Mt. Pleasant), Hominy Grill (small, high quality, good, trad. so. cooking)- but I digress; Yeah, Hanks

          1. Reply - this is a BBQ franchise, but usually is quite good. We make the sojurn from NY to Charleston about twice a year and when we go I-95 we uAlly atop at one of these as a few of tem are conveniently located right off I-95. If you search back posts there are other discussion about food of I-95 in the Carolinas and VA.

            http://www.redhotandblue.com/

            3 Replies
            1. re: swarttav

              Red Hot and Blue is a completely undistinguished chain. Buz and Ned's in Richmond, VA has ribs worth making a pilgrimage for. The mac n' cheese there is a MUST ORDER. I wouldn't trust any other bbq in Virginia along your way, and I've hit most of the high points.

              1. re: Steve

                Where in Richmond is Buz and Ned's? Do they have a website? Red Hot and Blus is far better than BK, Wendy's and McDonald's and they are located close to I95 - it would be great to find some better places very close to I95 as the drive is long enought without much wandering.

                1. re: swarttav

                  Buz and Ned's is on Boulevard (confusing name for a street, eh?) which has an exit off I-95. You have to travel south a ways, but it is a VERY FAST route. I like the ribs far better than the chopped pork, which comes pre-dredged in a sauce. And the mac -n- cheese is a stunner. The ribs here are very serious.

            2. "we usually stop at one of these as a few of them . . ."

              sorry for the mis-typing - got up in the middle of the night to check on something and found the dog had messed all over the new carpet - not in the best of moods and typing too hastily

              1. What about getting off 95 near Raleigh onto 40 east, heading to Wilmington, NC and then down the coast from there? According to mapquest you will add about an hour to 1.5 hrs to your overall trip, and you will get to go through a bunch of great coastal NC and SC towns. It would be a more pleasant end to your drive and give you a ton of great food options!

                In Wilmington check out Fat Tony's (pizza/italian), The Copper Penny (amazing pub food - great chicken sandwhich with chipotle mayo), or Nicki's (sushi/wraps/sandwhiches) - all downtown.

                Near the NC/SC border is Calabash - have never eaten there but it is famous for fried seafood. You would also go through Myrtle Beach and Georgetown, SC. These all aren't far enough apart to have to eat in each one so you'd probably have some tough choices to make. :)

                Have fun!