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Charleston, SC

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Hi all, I need suggestions on where to eat in Charleston. We are heading there in January...brrr...so I won't experience the seasonal highlights as it will be cold. We are looking for great Southern cuisine, but not too fancy as I will have a somewhat unadventurous ten year old with me. In other words, not a stuffy and inflexible establishment. I have no idea how the Southern restaurants are regarding kids, NYC trendy restaurants can be very accomodating in drumming up a pasta dish or such if the Kid doesn't like what's on the menu. If it's the same in Charleston, suggest away the best places to go, and we'll deal.

My husband is a dynamite barbecue cook...mesquite and oak, inventive marinades...so we definitely need a Southern barbecue pitstop if you can recommend one. We would like to stay in Charleston as we aren't renting a car but will rent one if we decide it's needed.

Thanks for your help, love this board!

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  1. go to www.Charlestoncitypaper.com. I just moved here a little over a year ago, and I live by that thing. Under the "Cuisine" tab, they have a "Dish Dining Guide" I have a feeling they can help you more than I can, since I haven't been here too long! I am originally from NY, and the first thing I noticed here is how friendly everyone is! I am sure your children will be no trouble at all.

    1. I've heard good things about Home Team BBQ. It's not downtown, but the trip isn't bad just over the bridge.

      If you must stay downtown, Jim & Nicks is about your only choice.

      1. For inexpensive cuisine, Jestine's Kitchen is touristy but good (go at night when there isn't a line). Hominy Grill is also great. Coast and Hanks are the best seafood bets (Coast is more casual, Hanks is a little higher quality). SNOB is great for lunch and dinner. If you can make it out of downtown, The Wreck has the best good ol' fashioned fried seafood with an awesome view (though it may or may not be too cold to sit outside and enjoy it). Fat Hen is a moderately-priced Lowcountry-French fusion place on John's Island. The food is excellent. Poe's is a great burger joint on Sullivan's Island with an Edgar Allen Poe theme. Boulevard Diner in Mount Pleasant has great classic Southern food with a contemporary twist in a casual environment. Home Team BBQ is the best I've found in town, but to get truly great Southern bbq, you have to venture out to the sticks. All these are appropriate for your ten year-old (though he/she would have to be pretty well-behaved at dinner for Hanks or SNOB).

        1 Reply
        1. re: tennreb

          We went to Jestine's, but it had a sign, "Closed to help Obama move into the White House." He seemed to be doing work on the place. We went to Hanks, and it was phenomenal. My husband got the shrimp 'n grits, it was out of this world, I got the roasted grouper that was also good. My son got the feather light fried chicken, though he really liked the taste of my husband's shrimp 'n grits. Never knew grits could taste so good!

          SNOB was also excellent, though I thought Hanks was superior. Also went to Hominy Grill for breakfast. My husband stayed for his conference, and colleagues went to Coast last night and enjoyed it a lot. We also had lunch at Joseph's, that was great, my son loved the beignets. I tried the fried green tomatoes, filling but tasty and unusual. Last night of the trip we had Thai at Basil. Also great. What a city for food. Glad I was able to go. It's such a gorgeous city. The architecture was amazing. We took a buggy tour through Old Charleston, went to Fort Sumter and several of the historic homes such as Nathaniel Russel's house. The city is like something out of a fairy tale and so is the food. Makes the Northeast seem quite dingy and depressing in comparison.

          Many thanks, tennreb, for your help. There are so many restaurants, it was good to have a guide! We went to Sirmat for lunch, upon the suggestion of the conference organizer, and it was a bust. Only meal we thought was mediocre, and it was the first in Charleston.

        2. For bbq, I enjoy Melvin's. They have locations in James Island and Mt. Pleasant. The James Island location is only about 10 or 15 min. from downtown.

          But if you want to experience one of the best in the South, take a trip out to Sweatman's. They are opened only on Fri. and Sat. Google it for directions. It is about an hour's drive.

          1. Wow, thanks all for your great suggestions! My son is pretty well-behaved, I'll check out these suggestions with the family and make some reservations. Fat Hen sounds great! I guess we'll stick with Home Team BBQ unless we can rent a car, then we'll try Sweatman's. We are only going to be there around 3-4 days, why we're not renting a car, but if we're taken with the city then we'll return during nicer weather.

            I'll also check the charlestoncitypaper.com as we need to know what to do as well. Thanks tira_misu and thanks tennreb and everyone else for your help!

            3 Replies
            1. re: bistro66

              "but if we're taken with the city then we'll return during nicer weather."

              Start planning another trip :)

              1. re: Reignking

                You said it! ;)...the Spoleto festival starts in late May!