Don’t y’all go wanderin’ around hungry after a stroll through the market only to get sucked into a place that’s not worth your while. Here are a few of our favorite places to go for lunch, and seeing as how our headquarters are on the market, you can be sure we’re a pretty good source!
Magnolias – 185 East Bay Street
For upscale Southern cuisine, head to Magnolia’s on East Bay Street for lunch. While it’s also a treat to dine at night, a mid-day stop is just as delicious — and you get to pay the lunchtime prices! Some of the Southern staples you can’t go wrong with include: chicken livers, pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes, fried mac and cheese (you read that right!), boiled peanut hummus, black-eyed pea salad, and blue crab bisque — and that’s just for starters. You can also grab a burger or a crab cake sandwich or get really onboard with one of their down-south entrees, like shellfish and grits, Lowcountry bouillabaisse, fried flounder, cedar-planked salmon, or blackened catfish. Are you walking there yet? How are you not walking there yet?
Blossom – 171 East Bay Street
Another downtown Charleston staple is Magnolia’s sister restaurant, Blossom. This place really prides itself on its seafood, offering chilled oysters, lump crab tostadas, yellow fin tuna poke, smoked peel-and-eat shrimp, and king crab cocktail on the raw bar. Some other delicious faves include beef carpaccio, chicken wings, baked oysters, and fried artichoke hearts. You’ll also find soups, salads, and sandwiches, plus entrees, like batter-fried chicken, pan-roasted Mahi Mahi, shrimp and grits, and Carolina mountain trout. You may not necessarily need a lunchtime reservation, but if you plan to visit during the spring or summer months, better safe than sorry!
Dixie Supply Co. – 62 State Street
Dixie Supply is an unsuspecting gem located right by a convenience store on State Street. The menu changes often, and the daily specials are always posted on the website so you can plan your meal in advance. As I write this in on a Saturday morning in May, the menu looks something like this: fried oysters with rice and collard greens, crab cake sandwich, kale, pesto, provolone, and tomato omelet, State Street biscuit, tomato pie, chicken and waffle sandwich, sweet potato bisque, fried green tomato-and-shrimp sandwich, chili, gumbo, banana nut pancakes, and lots more. Need we say more?
Nick’s BBQ – 288 King Street
You can’t leave Charleston without a taste of some ‘cue, especially if you’re not accustomed to a bit of Southern pig on a bun. Nick’s is famous for more than just barbecue, though. Ask any regular, and they’ll tell you the cheddar biscuits are soul-saving and the deviled eggs are a religious experience. You can also choose from chicken tenders and wings, soups, salads, and potatoes, burgers and sammies, and, of course, slap-your-mama-good BBQ. You can indulge in pulled pork, beef brisket, smoked turkey, hot links, and smoked BBQ chicken plates and more. Want a night in at the condo? Order a take-home family dinner, and enjoy a home-cooked meal in your own quarters.
Charleston Crab House – 41 S. Market Street
For seafood in a super casual, fun atmosphere that’s kid-friendly, head to the Crab House on the market. One look at the menu and it’s clear they’ve left nothing out: burgers, sandwiches, soups, salads, crab-a-tizers — you name it. But for a taste of what they do best, have a gander at the Crab House specialties: Broad Street seafood pasta, Carolina platter, fried lobster tails, shrimp and grits, grilled seafood trio, soft-shell blue crabs, crab cakes, and more. There’s also a raw bar, steampots, fried seafood galore, and plenty of meats to satisfy the carnivore in the family. Sit on the rooftop patio to enjoy your grub with a Southern breeze and some good, old-fashioned people-watching.
Lowcountry Bistro – 49 South Market Street
From the owners of the renowned institution of 82 Queen we have the Lowcountry Bistro. And let’s get this out of the way: the Coleman Farms chicken and waffle is a must-have here. The crispy, bone-in chicken takes three days to get to their liking: brined for 24 hours and made into confit before frying it up. Then they place it atop a sweet potato, bacon, and cornbread waffle (ridiculous, right?) with a dollop of pecan butter and a bourbon reduction to finish it off. If you still need more convincing, the bistro also does a great jambalaya, shrimp and grits, reuben, Frogmore stew, Lowcountry paella, mussels, fried green tomato BLT, and, another personal fave, the Carolina Crab Melt: pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes, an English muffin, and crab veloute. Dee-lish!