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Charleston’s Best Mid-priced Restaurants?

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We are visiting Charleston this coming weekend and my husband will be working there through next Wed or Thursday. We have reservations at Husk for Monday night but that will probably be our only splurge. So help us choose good, affordable options for the rest of the time. By affordable, I mean most entrees in the teens rather than mid-20s – 30s. (Well, I guess we can handle one more splurge if the food is truly extraordinary.)

Prefer places that have local flavor and/or are off beat. Love hole-in-the-wall and home cooking but can only handle so much heavy, rich Low Country fare and fried stuff. A couple of these are OK, but would like to vary it with fresh seafood, unique soups & sandwiches, and even some good local ethnic. Oh, and forget brew pubs, sports bars, and any place with a battery of TVs. Don’t like beer.

Been checking the Board and other websites, so would appreciate feedback on the following options:

Saturday night we’ll be staying in Mt Pleasant, so thinking about: Graze, Stack’s Coastal Kitchen, Boulevard Diner, Gullah Cuisine or maybe even SeeWee.

The rest of the time, we’ll be in the Historic District.
Sunday Brunch: Toast, Queen Street Grocery, or maybe High Cotton or Magnolia’s

Sunday Dinner: Jestine’s Kitchen, Fat Hen or Mercato

Weekday Lunches (I’ll be on my own and in the historic district without a car): Butcher & Bee, Mary Lou’s, Two Borough’s Larder, Sweetwater Café, or SNOB

Maybe the Macintosh Bacon Happy Hour one day

Weeknight Dinners: Virginia’s on King, The Grocery, La Fourchette,, Osteria La Bottiglia, Cru Café, Mercato, the Glass Onion (is the Tuesday Fried Chicken Dinner worth it?)

Oh, and any outstanding dishes you would recommend?

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  1. Any of your Mount Pleasant choices are great. Where are you staying? Be aware: Highway 17/Johnny Dodds is under construction, so choosing a place close to where you stay might be a good idea. It will be hard to name specific dishes, as many of these have menu changes daily. It's not all fried and rich, but at Seewee the fried stuff is what they do best. Gullah Cuisine has a great lunch buffet. I don't normally like buffets, but theirs is extensive and fresh. You'd have a chance to sample many lowcountry staples at once.

    Any of your Sunday brunch choices will be great. I'm partial to High Cotton, because of that nice Island cocktail ;)

    I had brunch at Fat Hen on Sunday. It was delightful. The duck sausage and apple gratin Improved my mood. I had to go car shopping. Boo.

    SNOB has great lunch specials. I'm assuming you mean Martha Lou's? it's a hike from the HD. I have yet to visit B&B or 2 Borough's. Both are on my short list but that durn job gets in my way.

    The weeknight dinner choices are good too. I say just look at the menus and see what sounds good to you. I can tell you that the sausage at Glass Onion (Bonnie's links, I think) is so good I wished for it while I was in Germany. I love la Fourchette and you might enjoy it as a change of pace.

    Have a great time. Let us know if you have more questions when you get here. The weather is great, but lots of pollen, so prepare for that.

    1. Oh and I have to say I love Stack's. Nice food without the HD prices. Afterwards you could drive out to the beach.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Sue in Mt P

        Thanks, Sue. We are staying at the Hampton Inn -- both the Mt Pleasant /IOP one and the one in the Historic District. Is the construction all along Hwy 17? Do you think we will need reservations at these places on Saturday night?

        1. re: TerryG

          I don't think you'll need reservations.

          Not to muddy the waters, but since you will be on the IOP connector on Saturday night. think about going to Huck's on IOP you can sit outside and look at the ocean), 17 North (excellent patio), or Seewee. Gullah Cuisine is better at lunch (IMHO only).

          And yes, the construction is all along 17. Bleh. It's awful. Time your trip into the HD between rush hours. Trust me.

        2. re: Sue in Mt P

          Just noticed Stack's is a lunch only place. Oh, scratch that. I just saw the dinner menu.

          1. re: TerryG

            I had remarkable meals at Two Boroughs Larder and Butcher and Bee this week. At Butcher and Bee they served pastrami wings: wings that tasted amazingly like pastrami. Highly recommended. Their sandwiches were excellent as well, but the wings were absolute genius!

            TBL was really great as well. They served gutsy dishes that reminded me of Momofuku. Their beef belly tartare was layered and subtle. The best dish we had there was the shisito peppers with duck skin. It was rich, balanced and perfectly executed. It provided a counter point to another fried skin dish in Chucktown.

            Charleston is a great food city, better than most (anywhere?) in the Southeast.

            1. re: Tom from Raleigh

              Sounds wonderful, Tom. Wish we had those kinds of options here in Raleigh. That "other fried skin dish" wouldn't have been at Husk, would it?

        3. I am a fan of TBl: Two Boroughs Laurder., especially their Duck Cannelloni. But now matter what, an inventive menu at respectable prices.