What’s Next- A Charleston Restaurant Report

Rodney, Sean & Anthony

Great seeing Charleston so beautifully represented on Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown this week, and to see so many friends pop up (I’m talking to you BJ Dennis!) As suggested in the episode, growth in Charleston seems to continue unabated, as does the continued growth of our dining scene here in the Holy City.

Last week, the National Restaurant Association released its annual forecast of what’s hot for 2016. Based on surveys of 1,600 professional American Culinary Federation chefs, the list predicts the Wired, Tired and Expired categories in Food and Beverage for the coming year. For those of us here locally, which of these resonate? Is something missing from this list?

1 Locally sourced meats and seafood

2 Chef-driven fast-casual concepts

3 Locally grown produce

4 Hyper-local sourcing

5 Natural ingredients/minimally processed food

6 Environmental sustainability

7 Healthful kids’ meals

8 New cuts of meat

9 Sustainable seafood

10 House-made/artisan ice cream

11 Ethnic condiments/spices

12 Authentic ethnic cuisine

13 Farm/estate branded items

14 Artisan butchery

15 Ancient grains

16 Ethnic-inspired breakfast items

17 Fresh/house-made sausage

18 House-made/artisan pickles

19 Food waste reduction/management

20 Street food/food trucks

Though dated from October, here also is the latest Charleston Restaurant Report released by Kennedy Partners, a Mt.Pleasant commercial real estate and consulting firm. My question is this: which of these align with predicted national trends, which are irrelevant and which projects will inspire us all with detail on sourcing, technique and innovation?


The restaurant + bar population in the Charleston area continues to grow at a brisk pace. More than 25 restaurants opened in the most recent quarter, and another 50+ are on my extended “coming soon” list of restaurants in the development pipeline. About half of those are scheduled to open in the next 3 months, while the rest will linger on in the typical purgatory of overly-optimistic operator deadlines, underestimated project hiccups, and always cumbersome final inspections. As a whole, this is good news for consumers (and vendors) as the increasing number and variety of restaurant offerings provides lots of new choices.

The following list reflects 3rd Quarter 2015 market activity (July – September, 2015):


Belgian Gelato (Mt. Pleasant)

Carolima’s (Goose Creek)

ChuckTown Seafood Café (N. Charleston)

Cortaditos (Downtown – former Ike’s Hot Chicken & Fish)

Counter Culture Coffee (Downtown)

Dell’z at Midtown (Downtown)

Eleve (Downtown)

Ellis Creek Fish Camp (James Island)

Huriyali Gardens (Downtown)

Iron Dog Diner (N. Charleston)

Jimmy John’s (West Ashley)

Low Country Fish Camp (Summerville)

Mercantile and Mash (Downtown)

Morgan’s Market (Mt. Pleasant)

Parlor Deluxe (Downtown – former Sweet Radish Bakeshop)

SIP Charleston (Mt. Pleasant)

Starbucks (West Ashley – former Bojangles)

Stereo 8 (James Island – former Roadside Kitchen)

Sweet Lulu’s Bakery (Mt. Pleasant)

Tattooed Moose (Johns Island)

The Kitchen (Mt. Pleasant – former Bricco Bracco Cucina)

The Westendorff (Downtown)

Thrive Organic Eatery (Downtown – former Georgean’s Carribean Soul)

Tropical Smoothie Café (Daniel Island)

Uncle Maddio’s Pizza (N. Charleston)

Vintage Coffee Café (Mt. Pleasant)

Wayback Burgers (Goose Creek)

Wayback Burgers (Summerville)

Black Bean Co. (James Island)

Bocci’s (Downtown)

Buddy Roe’s Shrimp Shack (Mt. Pleasant)

Huddle House (Mt. Pleasant)

King Dusko (Downtown)

Priya (Downtown)

Saint Alban (Downtown)

Social (Downtown)

Subway (West Ashley)

5 Church (Downtown – former Mad River Grille)

Another Broken Egg (Mt. Pleasant – former Pawleys Front Porch)

Anson (Downtown)

Bearded Café & Coffee (Downtown)

Blondie’s Bagels (Daniel Island – former Alchemy)

Chipotle (N. Charleston)

Cove Oyster Bar & Grill (N. Charleston – former Wreckfish)

Crooked Crown (Downtown) 441 Meeting

Crust (Summerville)

Cure (James Island – former J Paulz)

Dairy Queen (Goose Creek – former Tenichi Steak House)

Dunkin’ Donuts (Summerville)

Eclectic Café & Vinyl (Downtown)

Gnome Café (Downtown)

Harold’s Cabin (Downtown)

Home Team BBQ (Downtown)

Istanbul Shish Kabobs (Mt. Pleasant – former Huddle House)

La Lola (Downtown)

Little Jack’s Tavern (Downtown – former Saint Albans)

Maybank Public House (James Island)

Pancito + Lefty’s (Downtown – former Zappo’s Pizza)

Poogan’s Smokehouse (Downtown – former Social)

Raising Cane’s (N. Charleston)

Sawyers (Mt. Pleasant – former Buddy Roe’s)

Star Taco (Mt. Pleasant – former FED)

Starbucks (West Ashley – former Andolini’s)

Stems & Skins (N. Charleston)

The Darling (Downtown – former Union Provisions)

The Hen and The Goat (James Island – former Black Bean Co.)

The Workshop (Downtown)

Tijuana Flats (Summerville)

Urban Cookhouse (Mt. Pleasant)

Verde (West Ashley – former Subway)

Lotus (N. Charleston)

Wok Box (Summerville)

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