Answers from Our Experts (1)
Charleston’s restaurant scene exhibits Darwinism at its finest. Dozens of almost-good-enough establishments come and go each year, while the cream of the crop remains afloat. Three consecutive Best Chef Southeast James Beard Award winners came out of Charleston (Robert Stehling of Hominy Grill in 2008, Mike Lata of FIG in 2009, and Sean Brock of McCrady’s and Husk in 2010), raising the bar for kitchens across town.
The presence of Johnson and Wales culinary school contributed to the boom in Charleston restaurants during the 1990s, a tradition that continues with culinary schools established at the Art Institute and Trident Technical College. Quality dining is so entrenched in the Holy City now that people often visit just to eat. There’s enough of a scene to support stores like King Street’s Heirloom Book Company, a bookstore focused specifically on cookbooks and culinary inspired literature.
The city offers fine dining of every style (i.e. Trattoria Lucca for Italian, Halls Chophouse for steaks), but when it comes to Southern cuisine, Charleston has established itself as the standard bearer.