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Eating in Charleston, Columbia, & Santee w/ kids

We will be staying in Santee the week of Memorial Day and are trying to plan, as best we can, where we'll be eating during our stay. We'll be spending 3 days in Charleston, 1 in Columbia, and 1 in Santee. There are 7 of us (me, Mr. 4man, our boys (ages 4,7,&9), and my parents). We will have a car so travel isn't a problem. We'd like to stay in the $10-$15 entree price range and kid-friendly atmosphere since our boys will be with us the whole time. (no Husk, FIG, SNOB...sigh) Here's what I've got figured out so far, further advice and suggestions please!

Sunday - Spending the day in downtown Charleston, looking for lunch suggestions in walking distance of the Market. Jestine's, Charleston Crab House, Aaron's Deli???

Monday (Memorial Day) - Heading out to Patriot's Point. Trying to decide if we should get breakfast coming in (Charleston's Cafe) or dinner on the way out (Poe's Tavern or Queen Anne's Revenge)??

Tuesday - Spending the day at the zoo in Columbia. Not much luck finding anything in our price range that sounds good for dinner (something other than BBQ). Julia's German Stammtisch??

Wednesday - Back to Charleston for a day at Folly Beach. Trying to decide where to go for dinner. I'm leaning toward Fat Hen. My dad wants to go to Home Team BBQ since they'll have live Blues that night. Maybe Bowens??

Thursday - Leaving Santee, planning to stop at McCabe's BBQ for late lunch/early dinner.

Sorry for the super long post!

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  1. Sunday: I like Jestine's, but it's small. Your group might enjoy Fleet Landing.
    http://www.fleetlanding.net/
    The view of the harbor is nice. You might see dolphin, so be sure to watch.

    Monday: Are you staying on Daniel Island? There's heavy construction on Highway 17 between Patriot's Point and 526, which is how you'd get out there to Queen Anne's Revenge.. Boulevard Diner has good breakfast, and it's just a few blocks away. Poe's would be fun and easier to access. Another good dinner place is Mustard Seed in Mt Pleasant. Locklear's is nice too. Great she crab soup.

    Tuesday: Sorry, I know little about Columbia.

    Wednesday: I love Fat Hen. LOVE. Home Team is fine. But Bowen's would be a real lowcountry treat that your whole family would enjoy. Take bug spray.

    Thursday: McCabes is outstanding but call before you go to make sure they are open.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sue in Mt P

      Thanks Sue! Fleet Landing looks great...especially if my boys might see a dolphin. We'll be driving in each day from Santee so it looks like we'll check out Poe's or Mustasrd Seed. I'm jsut going to have to convince them to go to Fat Hen, everything I've heard has just been fantastic. Hopefully McCabes will be open :) I really appreciate your input!

      I hope someone can offer advice on Columbia...or else we might have to switch to one more day in Charleston just to try more restaurants!

      1. re: tl4man

        The traffic into and out of Charleston on weekdays during rush hours is brutal. You may need to get breakfast somewhere on the way in.

    2. In Columbia I would highly recommend Mojito's Tropical Cafe on Gervais near its intersection with Assembly. Excellent Cuban fare and delighful atmosphere. Your boys will love the photos of vintage automobiles that adorn the walls. The owners make you feel like family. Other suggestions include Hunter-Gatherer (brew pub with great food - it would not be inappropriate for the children for an early supper), M Vista (upscale Asian) and Nonnah's (known for desserts but they also serve lunch and dinner). All of these are in the Vista. You can finish up with a walk through the State House grounds, just a half block from Mojito's. Please don't skip Columbia - the zoo is outstanding!

      2 Replies
      1. re: catheriw

        I've seen a few good things about Mojito's. Any idea if they have a menu online that I could check out? My boys are looking forward to the zoo :)

        1. re: tl4man

          Here's a link to Mojito's menu: http://www.free-times.com/File/Mojito...
          My brother, a Manhattanite, visited a year or so ago and enjoyed it so much at lunch that we went back a second time for dinner. We split the Cubano for lunch and also had the Sangria salad and a side of plantains. For dinner we enjoyed the cilantro lime chicken and the pulled pork. If you go, be sure to order dessert!

      2. In Columbia, I suggest Mediterranean Tea Room on Devine St. Great (fresh and healthy) food and very affordable. Julia's German Stammtisch is good, but it is very small and if you don't get there as soon as they open, you have to wait a very long time for a table. It may be hard to get a table for your group of 7.
        Downtown, there is a Mellow Mushroom and a Jason's Deli. Although they are chains, they are affordable, kid-friendly, and the food is decent.

        9 Replies
        1. re: artichoke72

          Or maybe Pawleys Front Porch for burgers?
          Motor Supply or Hunter Gather would both be great!

          1. re: LaLa

            I've seen some great things about Motor Supply...too bad I don't think it will work for the kids. I'll have to check out Pawley's. Thanks for the suggestions!

            1. re: tl4man

              I have taken my eight year old there no problem... but.maybe its different with a bunch though...lol

              1. re: LaLa

                Just thinking it's a bit pricey to take all the kids...and worried a little about the younger 2 after a full day of sight-seeing.

            2. re: LaLa

              Meant to mention that Libby's in Lexington has GREAT burgers too! I have never been impressed with Pawley's. Guess it got talked about on tv and that gives it a lot of clout.

            3. re: artichoke72

              Thanks for the info on Julia's. Long waits definitely aren't going to work for us! We're not necessarily opposed to chains...especially since we don't have either one of those in Ohio. I'll have to check out the menus.

              1. re: tl4man

                I think Colombia Is the largest city in SC.I am suprised that we don't hear more from the capital city.

                1. re: mollybelle

                  I was curious about that and googled. if you combine Charleston, North Charleston and Mt. Pleasant ...then Charleston is about 2 1/2 times bigger than Cola.

                  1. re: danna

                    Wow,would have never suspected.Good detective work!

            4. We Are in Columbia /Lexington, SC and love to eat! The zoo has 2 entrances. Enter on the West Columbia side as it is quieter, and pretty. You will be entering on the Botanical Garden Side and take a tram across the river.
              If you do go to that way, there are some easy hole in the wall restaurants in Lexington which is about 5 miles up the road. Libby's is about 2 yrs old and has THE BEST pizza! Mediterranean grill is right up the road on the left and is part of a hotel. Both of these would be listed on Main Street in Lexington, SC. I know you don't want BBQ, but Hudson's on Sunset Blvd. is GREAT. I can not believe no one talks about it. Do NOT like palmetto pig, shealy's not real pit cooked and Doc's was ok to me.
              Now...we just discovered the coolest place at the entrance to Santee State Park. Lone Star restaurant ! All home cooked, buffet on Sundays ...Now, we went for lunch on Sunday. Kids and family will love as they moved 3 old buildings www.lonestarbbq.net to make up the restaurant. Looks like an old mercantile. Not sure about hours, etc. so look them up. Not much in Santee from what we could tell. We stayed at lakeside marina and resort which we loved. Great place to check out for future, as boats are right there along with paddle boats and canoes. Each cottage has a grill.

              Zorbas in St. Andrews ( 7 miles from zoo) has great Greek.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Cindyroo42

                Lone Star is a must in Santee - and will have blue grass music Sat - Sun - outside bring a chair - or blanket. Santee has a local owned chinese restaurant and deli in center across from CVS. Clarks has great food and a bar for the men. As well as Oasis - west on Rt 6 .
                Charleston - lunch - Bay Street Deli - has great salad bar and sandwiches - located on Bay Street.
                If going to Folly Beach - there are several good seafood places on the road into beach. Consider
                Isle of Palms beach also -- closer - and has a bathhouse and parking. Several restaurants on the beach - and on Coleman Blvd. there is Page's Okra Grill (yummy fried okra) and seafood -- and Restaurants at Shem Creek - several on the creek - great seafood - and kid friendly --
                and The Boulevard Dinner all on Coleman.
                Columbia, The Vista has it all - deli - seafood - steak -- all great for kids. The Vista is downtown - 1 block from the Capitol. easy to find from the zoo - come in on I 26 and take Huger - to Gervais. Have a great time --