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How about Shem Creek area and Mount Pleasant - will be in Kiawah is it worth the trip

m
mboxermd Jun 13, 2011 06:19 PM

WIll be vacationing in Kiawah and Charleston, would like to see the sights and eat near the water and taste the local cuisine so we are looking to venture off to Shem Creek/Isles of Palm and Mount Pleasant - want to know if it is worth the drive and where to go for a great lunch and dinner.

  1. danna Jun 13, 2011 06:44 PM

    shem creek: no, this is tourist central. Mount Pleasant would otherwise not be "on the water". Huck's on IOP would be my only suggestion for ocean view dining. I hate it when people don't just answer my question without a bunch of editorializing, but I'm going to do it to you: enjoy the water views, and THEN eat in the historic district (or a few other spots) based on recommendations you find from searching this board and without trying too hard for a view. cheers!

    6 Replies
    1. re: danna
      Naco Jun 14, 2011 06:10 AM

      I have always liked Shem Creek Bar and Grill and it has gotten some good comments on here, I believe recently from one of our Charleston locals. And unless my Spot the Yankee powers have weakened considerably, it is not a haven for tourists.

      1. re: Naco
        danna Jun 14, 2011 07:09 AM

        you don't have to be a Yankee to be a tourist ;-)

        I'm aware there a few spots on Shem Creek that aren't universally hated (the Wreck for instance), but I see no reason to go searching for the rare decent-to-good restaurant at Shem Creek when you have quite a few great places downtown.

        1. re: danna
          Naco Jun 14, 2011 07:47 AM

          The downtown places and the Shem Creek/Mount Pleasant places are in different genres. It's like asking why go out for pizza when I have an excellent barbecue place down the street. Because I want pizza, that's why.

          1. re: Naco
            danna Jun 14, 2011 08:51 AM

            see, i'm not criticizing you, naco, for eating at Shem Creek. You and I are frequent visitors to Charleston, and know the score. But the OP appears to be from Manhattan, and here's what I'm trying to warn him/her of: While there are certainly some good restaurants near Times Square...it's not your best bet. Ditto Shem Creek...which is synonomous with tourist trap, IMHO.

            I know, i know, I'm making too big a deal of this....perhaps I was a bit too traumatized when my Dad dragged us to a Shem Creek joint a couple of years ago... ;-)

            1. re: danna
              m
              mboxermd Jun 14, 2011 10:04 AM

              Sorry but I am a little confused - I thought that it would be nice to travel around a bit - see more than Kiawah and Charleston and looking thru previous posts I thought that the Shem Creek/Mount Pleasant area would be a good trip - from other posts Hucks Lowcountry Table on Isles of Palm (for one dinner) and Shem Creek Bar and Grill (for lunch) were two options both with nice water views - please let me know if I am wrong about this - thanks

              -----
              Bar and Grill
              4005 New Bern Ave, Raleigh, NC 27610

              1. re: danna
                Naco Jun 14, 2011 10:08 AM

                I didn't take it as a personal criticism.

                Really, I don't disagree with your general premise- but I do think that the notion of Shem Creek being a wasteland and downtown an unending bounty of can't-miss places is a bit oversold on here. Downtown has its fair share of bad-to-mediocre tourist traps, as well: Hyman's, Fleet Landing, Tommy Condon's, Gilligan's, etc.

      2. Jeff C. Jun 14, 2011 10:08 AM

        I agree with Danna that, aside from a few really casual lunch places like Poe's Tavern, you'd be much better off downtown. What types of cuisine are you most interested in, and what do you want to pay?

        4 Replies
        1. re: Jeff C.
          m
          mboxermd Jun 14, 2011 10:30 AM

          Please see my above post - we have reservations in Charleston at Fig, Cru, Hominy Grill (for lunch) and slightly north of broad for lunch. In addition, we were going to eat at Tomato Shed Cafe for a local lunch near Kiawah. Will probably go to either Fat Hen or Wild Olive one night for dinner. So I was recs for Hucks Low County Table (dinner) and Shem creek bar and grill (lunch). Please let me know if I am on the right track and if we should go with this plan. I am the food organizer for this trip for two couples. Thanks!!!

          -----
          Fat Hen
          3140 Maybank Hwy, Johns Island, SC 29455

          Hominy Grill
          207 Rutledge Ave, Charleston, SC 29403

          Wild Olive
          2867 Maybank Highway, Johns Island, SC 29455

          1. re: mboxermd
            Jeff C. Jun 14, 2011 10:41 AM

            Your downtown Charleston picks are solid. I don't know the Fat Hen or Wild Olive, so I'll let others advise you on those. Huck's is overrated, IMO, although others here have spoken lovingly of it. The Shem Creek Bar & Grill is a tourist trap, but it does have views of the docks and water. If you want outside of the peninsula, I would consider The Glass Onion in West Ashley.

            1. re: mboxermd
              danna Jun 14, 2011 10:46 AM

              ah...i didn't recognize your name from the other post. It appears you have your food plans well under control. This sounds like a fine itenirary. I can't speak for Shem creek bar and grill, but if you've seen several recs for it, then I'm sure it's fine.

              Between meals, I recommend taking a look at spooky Fort Moultrie (on Sullivan's Island) and having a boat drink at Coconut Joe's (for the breezy porch) before walking the few steps to Hucks. If you're active, you can rent beach bikes in the commercial area of IOP and ride over to Fort Moultrie...you have to come off the beach to go over the bridge between the two islands.

              -----
              Coconut Joes
              1120 Ocean Blvd, Isle of Palms, SC 29451

              1. re: mboxermd
                Sue in Mt P Jun 14, 2011 04:20 PM

                You did great with your planning. Slightly North of Broad (we call it SNOB, but it's not snobby) is great for lunch. I like Shem Creek Bar and Grill, but for Manhattanites maybe not so much. You can sit by the marsh and smell the plough mud-some of us like that- but you might not. They have great collards at lunch and it's ok. Shem Creek is sad for locals: the shrimp boats still can't go out. Boo.

                -----
                Slightly North of Broad
                192 East Bay St., Charleston, SC 29401

                Bar and Grill
                4005 New Bern Ave, Raleigh, NC 27610

            2. Sue in Mt P Jun 14, 2011 01:22 PM

              Durn, y'all I get busy for one minute and miss it all.

              And truthfully, all y'all are right. I actually like Shem Creek but that's because it's near my house. It's a great place to meet friends and sit outdoors. It's pretty at sunset. I don't know if it's worth the hour it would take to get from Kiawah. There's a Red's Ice House at Shem Creek and one at Bohicket on Seabrook, which is closer for the OP.

              If I were going to drive from Kiawah and wanted a restaurant with a water view east of the Cooper, I'd probably pick the Boathouse on IOP and watch the dolphins eat some fish while enjoying a rooftop cocktail. The food is usually great there as well. The view at Shem Creek is not as good as the one at Vickery's (where you are high up and can see the harbor past the marsh) but the food, while just fine, is not as emblematic of lowcountry food as some other places.

              I went to Fat Hen last night and it was really fine, fine ,fine. I love pate in a Frenchy place. Details to follow.

              OP, you're right. Make the drive over the bridges. You won't regret any of it. Hope you have fun.

              -----
              Fat Hen
              3140 Maybank Hwy, Johns Island, SC 29455

              Red's Ice House
              98 Church St, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464

              15 Replies
              1. re: Sue in Mt P
                danna Jun 14, 2011 01:28 PM

                good point. the drive over the bridge is worth it just for the drive over the bridge!

                Do you actually EAT at Red's Ice house? I've heard bad things from friends forced to go there after bike races by peer pressure ;-)

                Can't wait to read the Fat Hen review...please try to make the duck fat fries imagry as vivid as you can ;-) p.s. did I tell you about my vegetarian friends at Fat Hen?

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                Fat Hen
                3140 Maybank Hwy, Johns Island, SC 29455

                1. re: danna
                  Sue in Mt P Jun 14, 2011 01:39 PM

                  danna, i ate at Red's once when it first opened. I won't do it again It's a drankin' place, lol. They do have good buckets of oysters in winter. I guess my point was don't drive an hour to go to Red's.

                  Bad news :( Fat Hen fries the fries in peanut oil. I clogged my arteries in other ways. And no you didn't tell me about your friend, but the vegetarian menu looked really good.

                  1. re: Sue in Mt P
                    danna Jun 15, 2011 05:43 AM

                    no way!! have they always? I know I've read that here before, and from the deliciousness...i sure thought there was something special about them.

                    No, the veg-heads weren't real happy. I don't think there was a veg menu when we were there. There is no mention of bacon in the grits on the menu. They were really enjoying their grits....until someone went "hey, what are these little flecks?" ;-)

                2. re: Sue in Mt P
                  m
                  mboxermd Jun 15, 2011 12:48 PM

                  Just to clarify - would you recommend trying the Boathouse on IOP for a sunset dinner and drinks one night or just go for lunch. It seems to be about an hour drive from Kiawah island. Also have you heard of Hucks low country table and any reviews of that place? Thanks

                  1. re: mboxermd
                    Sue in Mt P Jun 15, 2011 05:19 PM

                    Boathouse is only open for lunch on Sunday, I think. In the past they have done lunch during summer, but their website says Sunday only.

                    Huck's Lowcountry Table is great. And they ARE open for lunch. Go during the week, as parking on front beach at IOP will be tough on the weekend.

                    1. re: Sue in Mt P
                      m
                      mboxermd Jun 16, 2011 07:26 AM

                      Thanks Sue - I have made sunset dinner reservation at Huck's Lowcountry for a Thursday night!

                      1. re: mboxermd
                        danna Jun 16, 2011 09:03 AM

                        forgive me if you already knew this...but Huck's is on the ocean, not the marsh. The sunset will not be a big factor in your view.

                        BTW, Hucks has 1/2 price wine nights on Tues and Wed. (just to complicate things!)

                        1. re: danna
                          Sue in Mt P Jun 16, 2011 09:06 AM

                          That's right. Huck's has outdoor seating on the ocean side. There are buildings on either side so the view is not panoramic. But it's up on the second floor and the breeze is nice. I hope you like it as much as we do. danna, maybe you need to be here on a Tues or a Wed......

                    2. re: mboxermd
                      k
                      katymm Jun 16, 2011 09:04 AM

                      You made great choices for meals downtown! I love to eat out in Charleston and Mt. Pleasant. I would second the previous recommendation for Glass Onion in West Ashley, it is one of my favorite places to go. On Shem Creek I would suggest Vickery's. The food is decent but the view is great and many times I have eaten there and seen dolphins. The Wreck has great seafood (classic fried style generally) and also has a great dockside deck. Wreck is cash only though. If you are looking for somewhere to have an early pre-dinner glass of wine Bin 152 is fantastic.

                      -----
                      Glass Onion
                      1219 Savannah Hwy, Charleston, SC 29407

                      Bin 152
                      152 King St, Charleston, SC 29401

                      1. re: katymm
                        m
                        mboxermd Jun 16, 2011 09:21 AM

                        Thanks katymm - I was thinking about the Glass Onion for lunch - based upon the map it looks to be just before Charleston and not as far of a ride from Kiawah but please correct me if I am wrong. We are in the area for five days - one dinner at Hucks in IOP - do you think we should head over to Shem Creek for a lunch as well or just stick to Charleston and Kiawah for our lunches? Everyone has been VERY helpful with this planning - you southerners are very nice!

                        -----
                        Glass Onion
                        1219 Savannah Hwy, Charleston, SC 29407

                        1. re: mboxermd
                          k
                          katymm Jun 16, 2011 10:45 AM

                          If you want to get out and see the Mount Pleasant area then yes Shem Creek would be on that list. I would suggest you take a drive from Charleston up Coleman Blvd to Shem Creek area. Then if you have time the Old Village of Mt. Pleasant is worth a visit, there are some great houses, an old fashioned soda fountain/drugstore (Pitt Street Pharmacy), and a nice pier/walking area (on Pitt Street) that has views of the Charleston harbor. All within a 5 minute drive from Shem Creek. It is a neighborhood so not very touristy.

                          Glass Onion is great, they use local ingredients where possible. I once had the most amazing goat cheese cheesecake there.

                          We Charlestonians love our food and restaurant scene, you will not be disappointed!

                          -----
                          Glass Onion
                          1219 Savannah Hwy, Charleston, SC 29407

                          1. re: katymm
                            m
                            mboxermd Jun 16, 2011 06:05 PM

                            Katymm - Are there any other side trips that you would recommend for us New Yorkers - we will be based on Kiawah Island staying at a townhouse on the beach for four nights - we want to take it all in!!!! So far we have a few trips into Charleston daytime and dinner time - one or two trips to IOP - one golf day - is there anything else that should not be missed that is an easy enough drive from where we are staying - nontouristy would be preferred. Thanks!!!

                            1. re: mboxermd
                              Sue in Mt P Jun 16, 2011 06:44 PM

                              There are lots of interesting things to do near Kiawah, but the Chowhound people will remove posts that aren't food related. Four days is not long and Kiawah is beautiful. Think about posting on Tripadvisor, where you'll get all kinds of advice about local attractions.

                              1. re: mboxermd
                                lynnlato Jun 19, 2011 11:12 AM

                                I just got back from a week in Kiawah and there isn't much to do there - which is basically it's appeal. However, you must rent bikes and roam the island. It's the best way to get around and you can go to The Sanctuary for drinks or ice cream, The Straw Market to workout at the gym, visit the cyber cafe and have a cup of coffee or have more ice cream there also. Monday night they have an oyster roast at Mingo Point with pork bbq, beans, corn on the cob, cole slaw, etc. This is a popular event, however we didn't do it. Reservations are recommended. Night Heron Park has tons of activities every day/night and they have the swimming pool with an outdoor bar and grill. We had drinks there and the kids had lunch by the pool. The food and drinks are just what you expect - nothing remarkable. Watch out for the seagulls - they are very aggressive and will steal your food if you blink your eyes. On the island, we had a really nice dinner at La Tela in Fresh Fields. Great arugula salad with thinly sliced pear, pecorino romano cheese and lightly dressed with a nice champagne vinaigrette. The exotic mushroom pizza with truffle oil and pecorino romano was very good - the crust was so thin and had nice char marks from the wood-fired oven. Great service too. I was really pleasantly surprised. Just a few miles outside of Kiawah I can't say enough good things about The Fat Hen (this place would do well in Manhattan, it's that good. And I've eaten at many of the best places in NYC) and also JB's Smoke Shack. Get takeout at JB's, they've got good smoked cue and ribs that are insanely good (Wylie Dufresne eat your heart out) and all the Southern fixins. We got a family pack for four which included chopped pork, cole slaw, mac n' cheese, and an extra rack of ribs and it was $46 bucks. It was SO much food.

                                Eat well and relax and enjoy yourselves!

                                p.s. DO NOT do all your grocery shopping at the grocery store in Fresh Fields. I strongly suggest you hit the Piggly Wiggly in Johns Island, which you will pass on your way to Kiawah. It's maybe 10-15 miles from Kiawah. They are MUCH cheaper than the Fresh Fields market and they fresh local shrimp at $5/lb less than Fresh Fields.

                                -----
                                Fat Hen
                                3140 Maybank Hwy, Johns Island, SC 29455

                            2. re: mboxermd
                              Sue in Mt P Jun 16, 2011 02:04 PM

                              Glass Onion is a great choice and your information is correct. I wish GO was closer to me. I'd go there all the time.

                              -----
                              Glass Onion
                              1219 Savannah Hwy, Charleston, SC 29407

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