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Feb 11, 2009 05:59 AM

Jestine's -- Charleston, SC

OK, I know it is fashionable here to badmouth Jestine's as becoming just a tourist trap. I haven't been in a quite a while as I prefer not to stand in line.

Yesterday, however, with a visitor from China who had never been in Charleston before, we were driving by during lunch time and there was no line. Got an easy parking spot (also a rarity in Charleston) and went in. Maybe it was because it was a slow day, but the food was delicious! From the vinegar soaked cucumbers to his fried chicken to my pecan whiting to the fried okra to the cocola cake, everything was excellent. My guest was delighted.

So, don't just write Jestine's off. Maybe you just need to be there on a day when they are not shoveling it out the kitchen door.

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  1. I don't mind Jestine's either. It isn't the absolute best I've had, but it's good. I would rather go there and get somewhat 'real' food vs. going to some fancier place and getting a "chef's" rendition of what he feels southern food should be.

    1. I'm glad you had a good experience. I suppose I have a different take on Jestine's than some people might - having grown up in the South under several generations of really good cooks, I get a little offended when people try to pass off mediocre Southern fare as "real" or "authentic" food. I think that if you're going to serve *any* type of cuisine, you should make it the best it possibly can be, and IMHO Jestine's hasn't been doing that for a while now. When they first opened, they were exceptional, but the last three times I've been have left me underwhelmed. I've not been in at least six months, though, so maybe things have turned around.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Suzy Q

        It's actually been three years or more since my last visit to Jestine's.

        Southern born & bred here as well...born in the country, raised in the country between the tobacco ridges.

        1. re: Suzy Q

          My Jestine's history is similar to yours. It was fantastic when it opened, then in recent times seemed to have slipped -- so much that I haven't been in at least a year. Yesterday's lunch was as good as the food ever was. Really delicious.

          I just wonder if they cannot keep up the standards when they are so busy. Yesterday was a slow day with empty tables.

        2. I recently had lunch at Virginia's on upper King and was really impressed. It is not much more expensive than Jestine's (lunch for 4 was $48) and the food was much better. Highly recommended

          1 Reply
          1. re: GrillMaster

            Virginia's served me the worst meal I've had in Charleston. Cafeteria food is superior and cheaper.