Because I don't want to eat at Fort Sumter's commissary
March 26, 2014 7:09 AM   Subscribe

Four+ days in Charleston and Savannah at the end of April. We've got a good list of things to see and do, now I turn to the HiveMind for food suggestions.

FeedMe is the new AskMe

This is the working Google map based on research, friends' suggestions but since the Hive has been great for Vermont and Washington, D.C. I wanted to check here as well.

Four adults, mostly omnivores as we can always find something. We'll have a car in both cities. Only criteria is no chains that exist in NYC and or Albany, NY as we want it to be something cool that we'll associate with this trip. In the past we've enjoyed: Jardin Nelson (Montreal), Johnny's Half Shell (D.C.), E.B. Strong's and L'Amante (Burlington, VT).

Lunches will likely be on the go based on whatever we're see/doing when we get hungry but we'd probably like at least two nicer dinners. Ideally no more than $150 for the four of us (we don't really drink) but we don't travel together much and don't mind splurging a little.

Also, anything we're missing, sightseeing wise on the Google map? Three of us have been to Savannah 25 yrs ago, none of us have been to Charleston. Definite interest in history and gardens. The only musts are the Girl Scout House and Fort Sumter. I know the map is wildly ambitious, but it's for ideas. I've seen this question and this one, which I cribbed from and

As an aside, I miss Shoneys from southern road trips and I'm sad there's none closer than 20 miles to either city. Any other fun southern-ish insane breakfast places like that? Shoneys may be more myth from childhood memories.

Thank you!
posted by TravellingCari to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
For a cheap breakfast along the lines of Shoney's, have you been to a Waffle House? The hash browns are better than the waffles.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 7:50 AM on March 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Restaurants in Charleston:

Husk—fancy-ish southern food, insanely good, does lunch. If you imbibe, they have excellent drinks as well. Get reservations as soon as you have the inclination to go.

SNOB (Slightly North of Broad), good for brunch-ish things (though I haven't been there in a couple of years)

Xiao Bao Biscuit has foods from various Asian regions; I haven't been there, but I've heard tremendous things.

Seconding Waffle House's hash browns for something authentically Southern.
posted by Maecenas at 7:56 AM on March 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

I went to Savannah for the first time a couple of months ago and coming back north, I detoured to go through the historic district (residential area) in Beaufort, SC. Very beautiful and incredible homes. (And I spent several years in Wilmington, NC and now live in Mt. Pleasant, SC, so just when you think you've seen all of the amazing historic/waterfront southern homes, until you've seen the ones in Beaufort...)

Restaurant-wise, I honestly don't eat out much here in Mt. P, but I did try the new Southerly Restaurant a couple of months ago for lunch and it was delicious! (This would be when you are in the Isle of Palms part of your itinerary). That restaurant also has a huge "home goods/kitchen gadget" store next door, Southern Season, which is awesome to browse through (they have everything) but stupid expensive.

Hope this helps. Have fun!
posted by foxhat10 at 7:57 AM on March 26, 2014

Go to Mrs. Wilkes in Savannah for an early lunch. It opens at 11, I recommend lining up at 10:30.

Check Roadfood.
posted by brujita at 8:02 AM on March 26, 2014

Halo in Charleston

The Sentient Bean in Savannah
posted by Sassyfras at 8:02 AM on March 26, 2014

I think Roadfood hasn't aged well. Garden and Gun is my new best source for just about anyplace in the South.
Savannah, but maybe a bit dated.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:18 AM on March 26, 2014

Best answer: Hi, Savannah resident here.

Not a huge fan of Shoneys, but you might enjoy Cracker Barrell, which is a very southern chain I'm a fan of.

Food wise in Savannah, I'd recommend:
Downtown: J. CHristopher's, Mrs. Wilkes, Vic's on the River, Jazz'd, Crystal Beer Parlor, Roly Poly, GooseFeathers

Heading out to the Islands: the Crab shack, Tubby's Tankhouse

Not Downtown or Islands, heading Southside:
Pearl's Seafood,Sweet Potatoes or Driftaway Cafe.

Check out this listing of restaurants, put out by the local Alt Weekly type newspaper.

Check out Bonaventure Cemetary, it's beautiful, along with the Telfair Museum. Mostly, it's a matter of walking around downtown, Savannah has a lot of history to it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:23 AM on March 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Please do yourselves a favor and plan to arrive early for breakfast/brunch one day at Hominy Grill in Charleston. Mellow Mushroom is a chain that doesn't have locations where you are and is a good spot for pizza. I also really like Basil for Thai food.
posted by singinginmychains at 8:58 AM on March 26, 2014

Response by poster: I'm so hungry already!
Thanks all. You've hit the nail on the head re: our tastes. And I appreciate the additional resources to check.
posted by TravellingCari at 9:01 AM on March 26, 2014

Best answer: As a different sort of recommendation, Charleston and Savannah both have enough good food that I'd feel comfortable walking around town with a guidebook and, when the hunger strikes, just seeing what decent-scoring place is nearby.

The thing about Cracker Barrel is that they have a recent history of discrimination against gay and racial-minority employees along with racial-minority customers -- like in the 90s and 00s. They claim to have taken steps to remedy this, but I don't know how effective they are or how much CB or restaurant owners have actually seen the light versus are trying to get those meddlesome feds off their back.

If everyone is from NYC/Albany, and pork isn't prohibited to anyone, then... well, if you're looking for a unique experience you can't really get anywhere else, you gotta get some SC style barbecue (which I am embarrassed to say I haven't tried). You want it sauced with either the mustard-based sauce that's unique to SC or the vinegar-based sauce that you can find across the lowlands and piedmont of both Carolinases -- you can get barbecue with a tomato-based sauce at home. If there is a choice of sides, YOU WANT THE MOTHERFUCKING HUSH PUPPIES. Oh God I'm actually salivating now thinking about hush puppies.

I'm sure the Savannah area has good barbecue too, but unless there's a style that's local to Savannah, the barbecue in Georgia and Florida is pretty generic and not notably different from the vaguely Memphis style you'd get at Red Hot and Blue or (by reputation) Dinosaur BBQ.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:02 AM on March 26, 2014

The best place for ribs in Savannah is Randy's BBQ, which is only takeout. It has the mustard based type sauce discussed in the previous comment. Here's a video about the place. Like I said, it's not a sit down kind of place, but if you want to grab some chicken and ribs and then go eat in Forsyth park or Daffin Park, that could work.

Blowing Smoke does smoked meat and is quite good, but not traditional BBQ. Bub-Ba-Q is a new place I haven't tried yet, but others have praised it. Angel's BBQ is also very good, a hole in the wall place run by a guy that loves BBQ.

Another great place to eat in Downtown Savannah is Zunzi's, which only has outdoor seating, but would be great for lunch. Wonderful combination of Swiss, Italian, South African and Dutch flavors and styles.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:31 AM on March 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Pork neckbones and Lima beans is Charleston-specific soul food.

The latest volume of Roadfood just came out, but I haven't had a chance to look at it yet. They also have forums on their website.
posted by brujita at 9:45 AM on March 26, 2014

Leave Charleston and make the short drive to Shem Creek and try the she crab soup in any of the riverfront resturants there. One of my favorite things to do in the whole USA! Do they stlll pour drinks from those little airplane bottles?
posted by three blind mice at 2:23 PM on March 26, 2014

Best answer: Yeah, I'm seconding eating anywhere at Shem Creek -- just don't go at rush hour, or it will take you forever to get over the Ravenel Bridge. I like it better than downtown Charleston because it's more casual and cheaper. (And, thank goodness, they got rid of the dumb little mini bottles of booze in SC, and you can get normal-sized, normal-priced booze now.)

Also, when you're in Charleston, you have to go see Angel Oak. It's a short drive (15 min?) from downtown, on Johns Island, and it's an experience. DO NOT MISS IT. Pictures do not do it justice.

Since you say you're interested in history, I would also suggest the Old Slave Mart museum -- it's not "exciting" per say, but it's really informative.

I also really like the Battery and going on house tours there
posted by lesli212 at 2:57 PM on March 26, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks all!

I see what you mean re: Husk, with a little flexibility we have a booking for dinner. Thank you, Open Table.

Telfair Museum - must be amazing, comes up every single time I ask a question ab out Savannah. Awesome.

Waffle House sounds perfect for a breakfast. It's not that Shoney's was good, so much as it was a hallmark of every drive to the Carolinas and Florida, usually halfway mark on Day 2.

Lots of food for thought - pun intended. Please do keep them coming. I'll be watching and I'll be back post-trip to note what we did and make suggestions for future traveles.
posted by TravellingCari at 8:12 PM on March 26, 2014

Response by poster: You are amazing. You (once again) nailed our foot tastes. Some notes and follow up for future readers.

We had:
*Slightly North of Broad (late lunch)
*Poogan's Porch
* Husk

All amazing. All dinner save for Slightly North which was just reflective of when we were in the area vs. a conscious choice. I heard Blossom isn't as good as Magnolia (couldn't get in) but I was super pleased. Husk and Poogan's Porch are next to one another. Other food: Art's (lunch, Mt.Pleasant between Patriot's Point and Boone Hall), Fudgery, Ben & Jerry's and an ice cream place on Vendue between East Bay and Waterfront Park.

Pirates House (late lunch)
Goosefeathers (Breakfast)
Belford's (Dinner)

As a different sort of recommendation, Charleston and Savannah both have enough good food that I'd feel comfortable walking around town with a guidebook and, when the hunger strikes, just seeing what decent-scoring place is nearby.

This is eactly what we did in Savannah (and Charleston for lunch) and it worked perfectly because we didn't need to book. Thank you.

Some notes:
*Ms. Wilkes - I'd have loved to and *EVERYONE* recommended it, but with only ~26 hours in Savannah we couldn't dedicate the wait.
*Plan ahead. The Ft. Sumter Ferry we wanted to take was sold out. We were able to rebook for the next day so non issue, but good to be aware of if you have more limited time
*Good walking shoes! Both cities are so wonderfully walkable and it's a shame not to take advantage of those, however cobblestones can be tough if you don't have good shoes.

Best answers for what we saw/did, but really all best.
Thanks again!
posted by TravellingCari at 8:24 PM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

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