The Hottest Restaurants in Charleston Right Now, March 2017
More often than not, tipsters, readers, friends and family of Eater have one question: Where should I eat right now? What are the new restaurants? What’s everyone talking about? While the Eater 38 is a crucial resource covering old standbys and neighborhood essentials across the city, it is not a chronicle of the “it” places of the moment. Enter the Eater Heatmap, which will change continually to highlight the spots crowds are flocking to at the moment or generating a big buzz. The map welcomes Rodney Scott BBQ, Pancito & Lefty, and Feathertop to the list. Folks are asking, “Have you been yet?” Try one of these newbies today.
Note: Map points are not listed by rank…
1 Butcher & Bee
Butcher & Bee is back with a bigger space, more parking, more hours, and a cocktail/beer/wine program. It’s everything you loved about the King Street location, but with more, including dinner service.
Ever since pitmaster John Lewis came to town with his brand of Texas barbecue and knee-weakening brisket, people have hungered for his restaurant to open. With the doors to Lewis Barbecue unlocked, the crowds are free to indulge in beef ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and other meaty delights. Give the agua frescas a try too.
The new outpost of beloved cheese shop goat.sheep.cow offers more wines, meats, and dairy for guests in addition to a dining room. Now guests can enjoy a glass of chardonnay or slice of prosciutto in the space.
Pitmaster Rodney Scott opened his whole hog barbecue restaurant in North Central, and Charleston has reached full pulled pork frenzy. Lines are out the door every day for the smokey delights that made Scott famous.
Mexican eatery Pancito & Lefty has been gathering buzz for the past two years while Charleston waited for the opening. Now that restaurateur Jimmy Poole and chef Robert Berry have unlocked the doors, throngs of taco-seekers are filling in to sample the mezcal, tamales, and pozole.
Slightly removed from the hustle and bustle of downtown Charleston, North Charleston Performing Arts Center is a great option to see major concerts, family shows, symphonies, and art festivals. The theater is also home to the Lowcountry’s only Best of Broadway series, entering its 17th season. It’s worth the extra time to poke around Charleston: Start your day in the French Quarter at Park Cafe for breakfast, which will leave you with enough time to make your way to the main event afterwards.
If you haven’t been to Little Jack’s Tavern yet, then you’ve probably at least seen one of the hundreds of photos of the throwback booths on your social media feeds. From restaurateurs Tim Mink and Brooks Reitz, this new addition to North Central was poised to be a hit before it even opened. Old-school interiors combined with classic, comfortable fare, and half-price martinis during lunch make for a win. Everyone’s saying to try the burger.
Scarecrow opened last month with a stunning dining room and a massive wood-fired grill. The menu keeps most items under $30 and utilizes seasonal products and produce. With fall upon Charleston, you’ll find warming, comforting dishes like whole quail with chestnut stuffing, beef short ribs with bone marrow custard, and North Carolina trout with vermouth butter.
Thanks to Sunday night suppers with popular food truck Short Grain, vegetable-heaven restaurant Feathertop has seen a resurgence of crowds. Charleston lines up every weekend to sample chef Shuai Wang’s Chinese fare.
Restaurant owner Steven Niketas shut down new American concept The Westendorff in October of last year to transition the address to a Charleston version of the family Greek concept Stella’s. The newcomer is a partnership between Niketas and friends Johnny and Katrina Giavos, who have ran the original Stella’s with chef Stella Dikos. According to the wave of early adapters this week, the gamble to go Greek is winning over fans on the peninsula.
Downtown’s latest restaurant Pawpaw features a menu of Southern small plates, handmade pastas, and wood-fired local ingredients. Look for hush puppies with lemon-dill dipping sauce, pecan-smoked salmon with toast points, capers, and remoulade, shrimp and grits with crispy okra, bacon, and roasted tomato gravy, short rib with spinach stuffed agnolotti and black truffle pecorino, and more.
Only 18 patrons have a chance to sample Sean Brock’s ideal McCrady’s each evening through a ticket system. Brock says that this is the most intense food he’s ever created. He’s trying to cultivate a unique, intriguing, and stimulating experience for each guest. The food reads simple, like uni and paw paw, but the results are beyond sophisticated.
McCrady’s Tavern premiered in the former McCrady’s dining room at 2 Unity Alley in August. The Sean Brock concept draws from the Gilded Age of dining with a lively atmosphere and “craveable” food. The menu is full of old-school items like calf’s head soup, marrow bones stuffed with escargot, veal blanquette, a tavern burger, and more. The restaurant opens for lunch, brunch, and dinner.
After 3:00 p.m., Normandy Farm Bakery turns into Bar Normandy. Chef Alex Lira has created a small, affordable, ever-changing menu of snackable plates, like baccala, $2 oysters, or a salad of lunchbox peppers and potatoes. Former FIG server Philip Michael Cohen runs the beverage program, which includes well-curated wines and inexpensive local beers (plus a $2 PBR). They want to bring good food and drinks to Broad Street at an affordable price.
Harleston Village Italian restaurant Le Farfalle unlocks the floodgates to fresh pasta earlier this month in an airy space on Beaufain Street. Chef Michael Toscano and team will showcase “various regions throughout Italy, as well as ingredients bountiful to the South.” There’s small plates, seasonal vegetables, pasta, a $90 steak for two, and Italian-inspired entrees.