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Dec 25, 2007 08:45 AM

Charleston/Mt. Pleasant

Hi all!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone....!

I just have a question re: Mt. Pleasant. I am planning a 2nd trip to Charleston (I fell head over heels in love with the city when I was there a few years ago) and this time, I'd like to get out of the city for a bit.

I've read that there are authentic type seafood places in Mt. Pleasant ) and I'm wondering approximately how long the drive is and how much it would cost round trip between Charleston and Mt. Pleasant. For the record, I've heard great things about Boulevard Diner, Old Village Post House, Mustard Seed in Mt. Pleasant and absolute raves about See Wee in Awendaw. Generally, I'm the kind of girl who has no problem travelling for food, especially authentic type grub - of course, I won't have a car, so that makes it difficult. I can probably swing it for one night if the cost of a cab ride isn't too high

Thanks again!

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  1. Taxis are not cheap in Charleston. With all the great places downtown, there is no reason to go to Mt. P.

    The seafood places are OK (but nothing special) -- what you are getting is the ambiance of sitting at Shem Creek and the chance to watch the dolphins. The Boulevard Diner is akin to Jestines; The Old Village Post House is a sister restaurant of SNOBs and High Cotton; the Mustard Seed is one of our favorites, but it is really not worth the expense and trouble of a cab ride (go to Cru Cafe -- which is sort of similar). I can't tell you about See Wee, but I can guarantee you will pay a lot to get a cab to take you way out there (and back).

    If you are staying downtown, there is plenty to explore and eat -- all accessible by foot. And in all the years I have lived downtown, I have never once heard someone say, "hey, let's go to Mt. Pleasant to eat." While there is good food in Mt. Pleasant, we really only eat there if we happen to be over there. If you want to get out of downtown to eat -- go to West Ashley for Al Di La... and there is a Mustard Seed on James Island too (which is the one we go to when we are craving the Mustard Seed).

    5 Replies
    1. re: DavidA

      Hi David

      Well, I'm figuring on spending part or most of a day in Mt. Pleasant, so it wouldn't be just be a cab ride for dinner. However, I'm not absolutely set on that, so I'm open to anything. According to the CARTA website, the bus does run to Mt. Pleasant, so I could save $$ there.........I've heard raves about Mustard Seed, but I wish they had a menu. What kind of food can I expect there?

      As to See Wee, without a car, I'm sure I'm not going to end up going there. I don't mind spending $$ to travel to a place I really want to try, but that's quite a ride (about 15 minutes from downtown, I think?) if I'm not spending any time in the town.

      You're so right about there being lots of good restaurants in Charleston - I won't lack for choices, that's for sure,

      Gotgroupers, Peninsula Grill is a must for me -esp. after I've read about their coconut cake. I LOVE Coconut cake......yum!

      Thus far, my tentative list includes:

      High Cotton
      Joseph's (for breakfast)
      Cru** ordinarily this would be a definite because of the raves, but I'm not that impressed with their menu. I have to think about this one

      Poe's (If I end up going to Ft. Moultrie)
      Hominy Grill
      Some restaurant on Mt. Pleasant
      Peninsula Grill

      Of course I won't get to do all of these, but it's just a working list now.

      1. re: Betsypaige

        Langdons in Mt P. Often overlooked but wonderful food and a good wine list. Open for lunch too.

        1. re: CharlestonChow

          Hi CharlestonChow!

          Yes, I've read lots of good things about Langdons'.......I'm going to be in Charleston for 7 days/8 nights, so despite the cost of a cab, I think I will set aside one night to go into Mt. Pleasant. If I'm there during the day, I will definitely consider for lunch, as well........

          1. re: Betsypaige

            It is ironic that you mention Langdons. I last Saw Patrick (Chef / owner of Langdons) having dinner at Sienna. Pat is very talented, and self taught. He was one of the most difficult people that I ever sold seafood to. He is a fanatical about quality, and freshness.

        2. re: Betsypaige

          You will be missing out if you don't go to Cru Cafe. The specials are always exciting, the soups are always delicious and the calamari is to die for. If you go for lunch make a reservation- small and very busy. The bar at Charleston Grill is great and they have a great wine list. McCrady's is also excellent. In Mt Pleastant, Langdon's is some of the best food I've had recently in the area and Red Drum is tasty and cool.

      2. BLVD diner is the BEST lunch in the Lowcountry! Get the meatloaf (I am raving about meatloaf). I have 2 picks for an "over the top" meal. Sienna on Daniel Island is the #1 place for fresh ,local , seafood. Peninsula grill on Meeting street would be a close 2nd. Stay away from the tourist traps like Hymans and AW Shucks (frozen imported junk, passed off as local).

        17 Replies
        1. re: gotgroupers

          I love to eat and I love good food, so that's why I was thinking of the BLVD Diner. Does it seem odd that I would consider taking a cab over the bridge when there are so many wonderful restaurants in downtown? I guess maybe, but I don't mind going out of my way for good food, even if it does cost a few $$$.

          No worries about me falling into the tourist traps - I hate them at home and I hate them more when I'm on vacation. I always, always go where the locals go.....which is why Blvd. Diner sounds so appealing (See Wee sounds great, too, but that seems too far away for a cab ride).....or even Old Village Post House. If I were in Charleston only for a few nights, I wouldn't consider leaving downtown, but I'll be there for 7 full days, so......

          Peninsula Grill is on my MUST DO list - it was from the moment I read about the coconut cake. I still can't believe they have a link on their website especially for mail-orders of that cake. It must really be something!

          I have a couple of questions also:

          1) I definitely want to go to Patriot's Point/USS Yorktown; is BLVD Diner or any other good lunch spot within walking distance?
          2) Mustard Seed is a must for me, given the raves on all boards. Is the James Island spot closer than the Mt. Pleasant one?

          3) Without a car, is it possible to get to Ft. Moultrie? I'd love to do that as I'm a huge history buff.......and I would love an excuse to get to Poe's Tavern. I'm a huge Poe fan.......

          Thanks again!

          1. re: Betsypaige

            Instead of a cab, take the water taxi to Patriot's Point (much more scenic and fun). It leaves from the Maritime Center -- just down from the Aquarium. It is a pretty long walk to Boulevard Diner from there -- although doable. It just depends how far you are willing to walk. It is probably 1.5 to 2.0 miles (although MapQuest should give you the real scoop).

            James Island Mustard Seed is closer to downtown than the Mt. P version.

            You need a car to go to Ft. Moultrie, unless CARTA goes (which I doubt). We tried to eat at Poe's Tavern on Friday, but even at 2:00 it was too packed to get in for lunch.

            We are not fans of Penisula Grill -- they are impressed with themselves and the Coconut Cake is fine, but not worth the rest of the meal (just our opinion). Many folks like both -- we prefer a different experience.

            Have fun!

            1. re: DavidA

              No doubt there is a reason why you don't rent a car for a day? Otherwise, that certainly would make your excursion so much easier, more flexible and more adventuresome. You can probably get a Hertz local for less than $40 on a weekday, where they will pick you up in the morning, get you the car, and drop you off in the evening.

              That way, you can go to Boulevard Diner for breakfast (note, BD is closed on Sundays), check out Fort Moultrie, go to Sullivan's Island and walk the beach and check out the groovy architecture, have an early lunch at Poe's, head up Rt. 17 for Brookwood Gardens and maybe Hopsewee Plantation, and end up at SeeWee for early dinner.

              I like Mustard Seed a lot, but not sure that it's a must-eat unique restaurant to the area. Both MS and BD are great if you live in Mt. Pleasant, but I don't know that I'd send someone to either on a special and laborious trip. JMHO, your mileage may vary.

              1. re: birgator

                Birgator, lots of great advice, thanks! One point in favor of just dining in downtown (for dinner, anyway) is that if I really enjoy a meal at a particular restaurant, I can go again. I like the idea of becoming a semi-semi-semi regular at a place instead of having dinner at 8 different places.

                The reason why I am leaning towards not renting a car is because I'm a nervous driver anyway and I've never driven outside of my home area. I'm also lousy with directions - I may just make myself a wreck.

                I'm pretty certain that I can get a tour going to plantations, so that's not the problem; I definitely see your point about Mt. Pleasant (although once I finish up with the Yorktown, a cab wouldn't be a problem to Blvd Diner -for a one time only kind of thing, I wouldn't have a problem. Taking cabs consistently, however, to get around that area doesn't make sense)

                If I can arrange any kind of transportation via the Governor's Inn to, say Ft. Moultrie, I'd be more inclined to do that. If that's not possible, a one day car rental probably would make the most sense and I'd have to seriously consider that.

              2. re: DavidA

                Hi David

                The water taxi idea sounds wonderful.........I can either walk or take a taxi, I'll have to figure it out (but I have plenty of time).

                Ft. Moultrie sounds like it's going to be difficult to do without renting a car, which is unfortunate - but I'll have to decide if I want to rent a car and deal with the hassel.

                I definitely will have fun no matter what because Charleston is simply wonderful.

                Thanks for all of your help, and everyone's as well!

                1. re: Betsypaige

                  Hi Betsy! There really isn't any way to 'do' Mount Pleasant without a car or Fort Moultrie and See Wees is about a half hour from downtown.

                  I do suggest renting a car because Charleston is very easily navigated. Sullivan's Island is right off Highway 17 (head towards Georgetown) and just take a right at the sign and turn right once you get on the island. You have to pass Poes to get to Ft. Moultrie.

                  Getting back on 17, turn right and about 15 miles up the road in Awendaw start looking for a sort of ramshackle restaurant on the left. See Wees is very worth the trip.

                  However, if you are still intimidated and don't want to rent a car, take the boat trip to Fort Sumter. From there you can see Fort Moultrie.

                  I agree the downtown restaurants are very good. Jestine's Kitchen or Poogan's Porch for brunch.

                  1. re: BlueHerons

                    Hi Blueherons

                    Well, I'll certainly consider renting a car - I've got plenty of time to think about it! No matter what, I'll end up having a great time......

                    Below is basically my list of restaurants (won't go to all of them); I'm trying to leave myself some space in case I want to go back to one or two for repeat visits.

                    • JOSEPH’S (B/L)
                    • TROPICAL TOAST (DIANE’S – B/L)
                    • JESTINE’S
                    • HOMINY GRILL
                    • CRU
                    • FIG
                    • SNOB
                    • HIGH COTTON
                    • HANK’S
                    • PENINSULA GRILL
                    • MUSTARD SEED (**JAMES ISLAND**)

                    I've done lots of research on the board and plan to do lots more - it's one of the things I most enjoy about going on vacation. I find that I get a lot out of a vacation when I've put in the effort beforehand. I need to firm up my itinerary before I can get a handle on lunch places, but do you have any thoughts (or anyone?).

                    Cru is now a definite for me (based on their raves and their menu for some reason looks better to me now than a few days ago), but I don't see that orange sherbert cake I've read about here. Have they removed that permanently from their menu?

                    Godfather, as to the coconut cake, I may end up at the PG more than once just for that; being from NY, you can imagine that there aren't too many places here that offer coconut cake....or even red velvet cake which I adore as well.

                    1. re: Betsypaige

                      On your list, I like Jestine's much better than Hominy Grill.

                      Of your other picks, SNOB, Hank's, and Penninsula Grill would be my favorities HOWEVER, I have not eaten at The Mustard Seed.

                      1. re: Betsypaige

                        I'm kind of late to the party here but I'll weigh in. I'd probably leave off Homniy Grill and Jestines but if you're determinded to go to one of the two choose Hominy Grill. Since it is out of the way it is not the tourist trap that Jestines has become. When I first moved to Charleston 10 years ago or so Jestines was much more authentic than it is now. I witnessed the downward spiral on a monthly basis. Sad really.
                        I would also put in a strong rec. for Boulevard Diner over either of the two. Someone on this post said that they are pretty much the same but I would have to disagree. To cut to the chase, Jestines is where tourists eat and BD is where locals eat.

                        1. re: GrillMaster

                          Hi GrillMaster

                          I know Hominy Grill does not get good reviews on this board, but I enjoyed it very much when I was there a few years ago (yummy pimento cheese - can't get that in NY!) and it does get good reviews elsewhere. The biggest recommendation really is myself - I would think otherwise if I saw almost unanimously negative reviews on message boards, but that's not the case. I did enjoy Jestine's the last time, but that's definitely not a must do this time. There are too many other places I want to try.

                          If I can get a cab from Patriot's Point to Blvd. Diner, then that's an easy option for me. I always choose where the locals go, even if they are just diner-like places. If the food is good, I don't care what a place looks like.....if the locals like a place, that place must be doing something right. I also hate tourist traps, even in my own hometown.

                          1. re: GrillMaster

                            So have you been lately? I eat there about every other week and have been since they opened in the late nineties and haven't experienced the downward spiral.

                            I will say that the long lines are a PIA.

                        2. re: BlueHerons

                          Re: driving, just be sure to note that downtown Charleston has a large number of one-way streets and an even larger number of clueless tourists who assume that any oncoming traffic has to stop when they set foot out in the street (please please PLEASE use crosswalks when on foot in a new town!). I was never so happy as the day my old office was relocated OUT of downtown - the location was scenic, but the commute was a PITA!

                          I'm surprised no one has mentioned Fast and French as a lunch option downtown - it's a great little place.

                          1. re: Suzy Q

                            Re: driving. I suggested Hertz in Mt. Pleasant as a pick up for that reason. I'm pretty sure they will pick up downtown, take you to their rental, on Rt. 17 right by 526, the OP can use the car in Mt. Pleasant for the day, return it there late afternoon, and get a ride back to Charleston. I've found them to have the best rates, and unlike Priceline (?) you can cancel. The restaurants the OP is contemplating in Mt. Pleasant are all easy to find, even for a nervous driver.

                            Another interesting restaurant might be Gullah Cuisine, right on 17 before Mt.Pleasant Town Center. I believe they have a buffet lunch, which would give the OP a sampling of lowcountry cuisine, and especially relevant if she takes the Gullah tour.

                            1. re: birgator

                              Hi Birgator

                              That's a good idea and something I will seriously consider should I decide to spent part/all of a day in Mt. Pleasant. As it stands, I'll be there when I go to Patriots Point/USS Yorktown - I may just take a cab to BLVD. Diner. However, if I do decide to spend more time in Mt. Pleasant, it's very handy to know that there is a convenient location; that shouldn't give me much trouble. I've heard of Gullah Cuisine - if I spend the day there, that's definitely an option.

                              Suzy, Fast and French is a possibility for sure - I'm not sure if I will be able to work it in or not, but it's on my list.

                              1. re: Betsypaige

                                I'm concerned about what you are thinking of doing when you say "spend all or part of a day in MT. Pleasant". It's not a place where one walks around. It's just long stretches of highway with busnesses and strip centers. Not unpleasant, mind you, just not a place where one could have a pleasant time wandering around on foot. Does that make sense?

                                If you haven't been to the beaches, that's what I recommend. Charleston driving CAN be a little confusing, but it's not fast or agressive traffic, so if you aren't in a hurry, and don't freak out driving over the bridge, you'll be fine.

                                On your list, I like FIG, Cru, Hanks and Hominy Grill. Personnally, I didn't think that much of the cake at Penninsula Grill. It's big, it's sweet, it's not what I consider authentic southern coconut cake because it doesn't have white mountain frosting.

                                Enjoy your research, and your trip!

                                1. re: danna

                                  Hi Danna

                                  LOL, no it doesn't make sense, but I didn't know enough about Mt. Pleasant at the time I first posted this to realize that. I think I'll end up taking a cab to Boulevard Diner from Patriot's Point - that should be sufficient. I probably won't make it out to the beaches, but I do plan on doing an eco-tour out to Capers Island.

                                  I am most definitely enjoying researching my trip - I'm always sad at the end of vacations when I have nothing left to plan! I have to try the coconut cake and will be sure to report on it (and the other restaurants) when I get back.


                      2. re: DavidA

                        I am a fan of Peninsula Grill I can understand them being impressed, I am too. The food is superb. The coconut cake is fantastic!!!!! (slap your Mama good) If you don't want an entire meal you can have a slice of this oh so good cake sitting at the bar.

                  2. You have a good start on the list of restaurants you want to visit. I am fond of Cru, Hominy Grill, FIG, Hanks and the coconut cake at Penn. Grill. I also like SeeWee, but they are about a 30 minute cab ride away from downtown. Plus, they do not take reservations and the wait could be quite long, because you are taking a cab I don't think SeeWee should be on your list.

                    I also want to say that Danna is right about Mt. Pleasant, it is not a walking town. I would say that if there is something specific that you want to do, then head to Mt. P., but for the most part it is not destination dining. However, if you do decide to hit Patriot's Point, then by all means go to Blvd. Diner for lunch. Just to throw one more option at you, I know there are bikes you can rent to bike the Ravenal bridge so this may be another option for traveling between Patriot's Point and Blvd. Diner.

                    I also think a better choice would be to see the islands. If you decide to visit Sullivan's Island, then I agree with Blue Herons, visit Poe's Tavern.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: lizzy

                      With as much advice as you've received not only on this board, but at least two others, where most posters seem to substantially agree on most aspects of your trip, you may want to wait till closer till your departure (4 months from now?) and check back on restaurant recs since things can change quickly!

                      1. re: birgator

                        Hi Birgator

                        Oh, I'm not going to make reservations yet - but I love to eat and planning my dining options is my favorite part of researching a vacation! You make a good point - for the time being, I have my list, but I will be monitoring the restaurant situation very carefully!

                      2. re: lizzy

                        Hi Lizzy

                        If I rent a car (unlikely, but I may convince myself to do it), then I will try and get to See Wee. As to Mt. Pleasant, I didn't realize that the Old Village was so small - I should have done more research on this town before I posted. Ah well - I do look forward to the Boulevard Diner and that, along with Patriots Point, will make for a great day. Biking is a GREAT idea - that's something I will definitely consider. I wouldn't mind saving the $$ on cab fare and I will surely need the exercise at that point.

                        I can choose between the eco-tour on Capers Island or Sullivan's Island/Fort Moultrie. Either way, I'm going to take a cab (probably the black cab co) - I realize it will be quite expensive, but there's nothing I can do about that and I have time to save up $$$ for my trip. It's an agonizing choice for me, to be honest. I love the idea of getting out of the city and exploring the natural surroundings, but as a history buff, Fort Moultrie appeals to me. Wow - it's really unbelievable that with 7 full days, I'm still going to miss some things. If I do end up on Sullivan's Island, Poe's is a must.

                        1. re: Betsypaige

                          BP, I must say that one place that no one else has mentioned is The Wreck in Mount P. It's a complete dive where you actually circle what you want on your menu and then hand it to your server. I'm from SC and I can say it's the freshest seafood I've ever had in the Charleston area. Plain and simple nothing fou fou at all like the major restaurants in downtown. Please google and check out the menu online and if you go let me know what you think. The price is right and the food is outstanding:) Have a great trip.

                          1. re: cooper71

                            Hi Cooper!

                            I have heard of the Wreck, and if I were to rent a car, I would consider it strongly. I will check out the menu when I get a chance, on the off chance that I do rent a car, because I kind of like these sorts of dives. Thanks for the tip!

                      3. The original comment has been removed
                        1. I've been visiting Charleston for years and now I'm at college here, so
                          I've eaten at tons of good restaurants in the area. First, I'm really
                          glad you decided to go to Cru because it's not only excellent, but
                          consistently so. Second, you've mentioned two VERY good restaurants in
                          Mount Pleasant (Mustard Seed and Boulevard Diner) which happened to be
                          owned by the same restaurateur, Sal Parco. However, I think around last
                          summer he opened up a place called the Long Point Grille in Mount
                          Pleasant (on Long Point Road), which, in my opinion, TOPS both Mustard
                          Seed and the Boulevard Diner. Every meal I've eaten there has been
                          awesome and if you're looking for a good Mount Pleasant restaurant, I
                          really think you should check it out. The only problem is (and I know
                          this sounds cliched, but it's true) literally everything on the menu
                          sounds excellent and it's really tough to decide. I believe Hank's would do the trick if you're looking for a fried/boiled seafood binge and that way you don't have to leave downtown.
                          If you're looking a little more upscale for seafood, check out FISH on
                          upper King Street-- really fresh, delicious fish and the atmosphere is
                          great. I've only been to FIG once, but it was bittersweet. I had
                          incredible pork belly, but the service was painfully slow-- I really want
                          to go back and give it another shot (based on its consistently rave
                          reviews) but I am a poor college student. You should definitely check
                          that one out. Also, I would skip Tropical Toast at Diana's (if you have
                          ever been to a run-of-the-mill diner before, then you're not missing
                          anything) and hit the Hominy Grill (I'm not sure why Hominy Grill gets no
                          love on this board-- I think it's excellent at any meal) for BREAKFAST or
                          BRUNCH. And Joseph's is great for breakfast or lunch as well. I think if
                          you eat at SNOB then you wouldn't need to go to High Cotton or vice
                          versa. The same restaurant company (Maverick Southern Kitchens) owns
                          them, and I felt like they were really similar. If you want to maximize
                          the number of really good, different places to eat, I would just pick one
                          (they're a little touristy to begin with). I could go on forever--
                          Charleston is a gastronomical wonderland and I love food. If only I had
                          some money...

                          Anyway, enjoy your trip. Great city, isn't it? I loved it enough to come
                          to college all the way down here and I'm from NYC.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ahha3289

                            Hi ahha!

                            Wow, great post- thanks!

                            I've got my heart set on Boulevard Diner, so I won't have the chance to check out Long Point Grille, but I will put it on my list for next time (and there will be a next time). It sounds terrific! Hank's is on my list - I went there the last time I was in Charleston and I really enjoyed it.

                            FIG is definitely on my list - I'm especially looking forward to this place. I love restaurants that focus on the qualities of the individual ingredients and treat them with care - that's good food to me. I'll probably go to Joseph's a couple of times for breakfast - I really enjoyed Hominy Grille the last time I was in town (and I was stupid enough to walk there), but it's a bit too far out of my way for me to make a special trip this time.

                            It looks to me that High Cotton has a different type menu than SNOB - plus I've heard the dessert souffles are fabulous. That's hard for me to resist!

                            Charleston is a terrific food town - I adore it in all ways. I really wish it would be included in Zagat's survey instead of Charlotte....or at least in addition to. I read Zagat's for enjoyment (I never use it when I go away on vacation), but it bothers me that Charleston, one of the best food cities in the country (outside of the biggies like NY, SF and Chicago) is neglected like that.