Getting Down at the H&R

One block up and one block over from my usual haunt at Old Village Post House Inn sits a rather diminutive looking cinder block building. The H&R Sweet Shop, open since 1945, shares the space with a hat shop.

It’s been on my list for several years- right in front of me, yet I never made it by. Then, last week I had to go in for meetings on an otherwise off day. By the time I finished, it was well past lunch time and I was HONGRY. “I’m going,” I thought, and so I made my way to the H&R.

H&R Mr. CoffeeThere, I met a man I’d seen many times walking up and down the street where we park. Mr. Coffee has a spry wit, is always a dapper dresser and always has a fantastic hat, turban or chapeau. The interior space is sparse and dimly lit. A few tables and chairs are around, but the action is at the counter, where Mr. Coffee will get excited telling you why Art Blakely is a better drummer than Max Roach, why Miles was better before he went electronic,  or why Sun Ra was just plain old cracked out. I’m here to tell you what- Mr. Coffee is the man!

There’s a few decorations around, including a photo montage from back in the day when the Sweet Shop was a gig for local musicians. Mr. Coffee features a different meat & three type entree Monday through Friday. But the JAM is the burger. That’s how I first became aware of the place- from Jane & Michael Stern’s Road Food review (which seems to be oddly missing from the interweb these days), and from a write up on Eater Charleston’s Burger Week a few years back. It’s a beast of a thing, smothered in caramelized onions, but it’s really, really well seasoned. I asked him if he had Tony Chachere’s or something on there- he said no- “Greek Seasoning! I like my food well flavored! You see, Sir, the kids these days, they don’t know what good food is.” It’s $4.75. Fries are extra but- get this- they’re crinkle fries, my favorite.

So take the time to go by. Sit at the counter and visit with Mr. Coffee. Let him turn you on to some jazz, and prepare to be schooled by someone wiser and a whole lot hipper than you.

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About Chef Forrest Parker

A devoted evangelist of all things South Carolina, Chef Forrest Parker is a long time licensed tour guide for the City of Charleston and was named a 2016 SC Chef Ambassador by Governor Nikki Haley. More to come...
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