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Need help finding real vegetarian dining in Charleston, SC

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I need help finding a casual lunch venue, with creative vegetarian options, for approximately 30 people on the day before Thanksgiving (2008). I've searched past threads about vegetarian dining suggestions in Charleston and google searched for Charleston restaurants and just can't find what I'm looking for. I have been to Charleston, albeit it brief. I am certain options exist. I just was not afforded time to find them.

This outing will be a post-wedding luncheon. I can't emphasize enough the non-traditional, informal, casual atmosphere of the event. Irreverent is not too strong a term to describe this wedding. As the bride and groom and the majority of the guests are micro-brew afficionadoes, it would be ideal to find a local gastro-pub or brew pub with an inspired food menu. Most of wedding guests are meat eaters, so vegan restaurants are not ideal for this crowd.

Let me be very specific about what "creative vegetarian options" means to me:
1. Food must not contain any meat or seafood of any kind; including veggie items cooked with ham hock, chicken or any other meat stock, Thai fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce (anchovies), etc.
2. Mock meat is unacceptable, meaning any vegetarian food substitute that resembles the taste or texture of real meat
3. The "creative" part means more menu options than a house salad or portabello sandwich (actually, in this specific instance portabellos fall into item #2 above)

With all of the fabulous restaurants in Charleston, I am sure there's more than one place that meets these criteria. Thanks for your help! I look forward to your suggestions.

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  1. Certainly some tough requirements, but I would recommend the Daily Dose on James Island. They do have some fake meat and real meat stuff, but I'm sure you could arrange a menu with the owner. It is amazingly laid back with a strong hippie vibe. A call to the place and a quick talk with the owner could lead to anything you might need.

    Also, they have a pretty decent beer list, with usually a Coast beer or two on tap.

    2 Replies
    1. re: md655321

      Thanks for the tip! I never would have found this place on my own.I love the tag line on their website: "Food that won't kill you - but you'll die for it."

      1. re: artylaurie

        Thanks MD, I will also check out Daily Dose on my next visit.

        We attend a one week long bridge tournament in the Charleston area every other year and try to stick to a vegetarian diet while dining out with our carnivore friends. We have not had much of a problem and have found that The Mustard Seed has a nice menu with extensive daily specials that keeps everyone happy. He is a copy of their menu along with some of their other establishments in the area: http://www.dinewithsal.com/

    2. Daily Dose is great and it fits your criteria well. They have local Coast beers on tap - yum! - and many other microbrews in bottles. Other options could be Three Little Birds, although they have no beer, or Five Loaves Cafe.

      1. I second the vote for Daily Dose and Five Loaves, also the Mustard Seed (same owners as 5 loaves, more diverse menu)

        1 Reply
        1. re: sarahyla

          A word of warning: we loved the food at Daily Dose, and the employees are sweethearts, but the place could use a little straightening-up. It's a little shabby around the edges.

          Just in case ambience is any sort of issue....