Minority-Owned Charleston Restaurants
June 6, 2020
I’m deeply saddened by what is happening in our country. I acknowledge that I am privileged because of my skin color. I’d like to use my voice and platform to encourage change and to help end social injustice. I am educating myself every day on how best to do that, and want to start by encouraging people to put their money back into the Black community.
Charleston as a city is deeply rooted in Black history and culture. The Gullah community that developed here when the West African dialects blended with English remains an important part of our Lowcountry culture today, and you can see it nearly everywhere you look.
Here is a list of minority-owned Charleston restaurants that we should make a point to support:
Rodney Scott’s BBQ
Rodney Scott’s BBQ is one of the best barbecue restaurants in Charleston, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a warmer welcome! Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ in Charleston, SC in 2017 was born out of a friendship between Rodney Scott and Nick Pihakis and their mutual respect for the time and technique required to make great barbecue. All the food here is incredible, from the barbecue to the array of sides. As Rodney says himself, “There are no strangers at Rodney Scott’s.”
Address: 1011 King St, Charleston, SC 29403
Dell’z Uptown is one of a few of Charleston’s dedicated vegetarian and vegan restaurants. In a quaint shop with wood and metal accents in West Ashley, Dell’z offers vegetarian and vegan wraps, pizzas, salads, and more!
Address: 1617 Ashley River Rd, Charleston, SC 29407
Swank Desserts is a specialty dessert shop located in the heart of downtown Summerville. Chef Danetra was born and raised in Virginia Beach, VA, where she decided early in life to pursue a career in the culinary industry. An internship with Magnolia’s Restaurant brought her to Charleston, and she fell in love with the charm of the city. After several years working and honing her art for sweet treats, Chef Danetra created a business plan as a part of College of Charleston’s Hospitality and Tourism Management capstone course and Swank Desserts was born! They sell a variety of delectable pastries and desserts from their bake shop, and also offer custom orders for events and weddings.
Address: 110 A S Cedar St, Summerville, SC 29483
Candi Love’s Bakery
Candi Love’s Bakery has cupcakes, ice cream, cake pops, cookies, chocolate-covered strawberries, banana pudding and more baked goods to choose from. Look out for their seasonal flavors, like Pumpkin Cheesecake. Their delicious and beautifully-decorated cupcakes are the standout at their location in the Citadel Mall.
Address: 2070 Sam Rittenberg Blvd Ste D-552, Charleston, SC 29407
This family-owned restaurant has been serving up soul food specialties to the Charleston community for over 40 years. Salmon, shrimp, and shark steak are Hannibal’s Kitchen’s best-sellers during the breakfast and lunch rush. Hannibal’s has continued to be involved in the betterment of the community, partnering with St. Julian Devine Community Center and the Eastside Neighborhood Council to sponsor street festivals, Community Cookout, and youth activities including the Phillip Simmons Basketball Programs, and Midnight Basketball Programs.
Address: 16 Blake St, Charleston, SC 29403
Gillie’s Seafood truly makes it feel like you’re sitting down for supper at your grandparents’ house. Scratch-made comfort food and seafood specialties populate the menu. Chef and Owner Sean Mendes even appeared on Food Network’s “Bite Club”!
Address: 805 Folly Rd, Charleston, SC 29412
This bare-bones counter-serve restaurant is popular for unpretentious, homestyle Southern soul food. Bertha’s Kitchen is a Charleston institution, even winning the James Beard Award for America’s Classic in 2017. Bertha’s Kitchen offers Southern classics like fried chicken, collard greens, and lima beans, all in the warm atmosphere of a neighborhood restaurant.
Address: 2332 Meeting Street Rd, Charleston, SC 29405
Nigel’s Good Food
Nigel’s Good Food puts Charleston cuisine in the spotlight, with Lowcountry classics and comforting soul food on the menu as well as owner and chef Nigel Drayton’s award-winning oyster stew. Feast on delicious food while admiring the walls filled with images of historic Charleston.
Address: 3760 Ashley Phosphate Rd, North Charleston, SC 29418
Nana’s Seafood and Soul
Nana’s Seafood and Soul is lauded for its down-home preparation of fried fish and other soul food dishes, not to mention the bang for your buck! Serving up portions of fried whiting, pork chop sandwiches, devil crab and more, Nana’s Seafood and Soul is real deal comfort food.
Address: 176 Line St, Charleston, SC 29403
Graft is a wine bar and wine shop located in uptown Charleston. Co-owners Femi Oyediran and Miles White opened Graft as a celebration of good wine, community, great times, and the best music. Oyediran was also named “Sommelier of the Year” by Food and Wine Magazine in 2019. Their gorgeous store is the perfect place to sit and sip or pick up a bottle of wine for your dinner at home.
Address: 700b King St, Charleston, SC 29403
Basil is one of my absolute favorite places to eat in Charleston. Basil is the realization of the lifelong dream of Henry and Chai Eang, brothers who immigrated to the United States from turbulent 1970s Cambodia. From speaking not a word of English, to creating award-winning dining experiences throughout the Carolinas, the duo has married hard work with passion to bring authentic Thai cuisine to their new home. Their Thai food is absolutely delicious, and they have several locations throughout the Carolinas.
Address: 460 King St, Charleston, SC 29403
Munkle Brewing Company
Munkle Brewing Company is bringing traditional Belgian style beer to the Charleston area. Owner Palmer Quimby was inspired to open the brewery by his uncle Rob, who started brewing beer during his time at St. Gregory’s Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in Michigan. The brewery has an indoor-outdoor bar with billiards tables and plenty of seats, making it the perfect beer lover’s getaway!
Address: 1513 Meeting Street Rd, Charleston, SC 29405
Located on upper King Street, Mesu blends Mexican and Asian cuisine into one restaurant for a menu full of fun and flavor. Bold flavors, exotic plates, and well-crafted cocktails come together to form a unique culinary experience! Visit Mesu and fulfill your sushi and taco cravings at the same time.
Address: 570 King St, Charleston, SC 29403
Bourbon N’ Bubbles
Bourbon N’ Bubbles is a luxury restaurant and bar situated on the corner of King and Spring Streets. As the name indicates, their specialties are high-quality bourbon and champagne, but they also have a selection of small plates, select entrees, and hand-crafted cocktails.
Address: 570 King St, Charleston, SC 29403
If you love hibachi or Korean food, Mama Kims is the place to go. The well-established location on King Street has been around for over 10 years and serves up authentic Korean dishes with a smile from owner Mama Kim Brown herself. The restaurant has a memorable slogan, too: “Rock out with your wok out.”
Address: 349 King St, Charleston, SC 29401
Fresh Future Farm
Fresh Future Farm is a nonprofit urban farm and grocery store located in North Charleston. Germaine Jenkins founded Fresh Future Farm to address the health, wealth, and quality of life disparities in underserved North Charleston communities, and transformed a vacant lot into the area into an urban oasis. The farm also offers natural farming classes, tours, and cultural events.
Address: 2008 Success St, North Charleston, SC 29405
Republic Garden & Lounge
Located in the heart of Charleston’s upper King Street district, Republic Garden & Lounge is a modern venue setting the Gold Standard in hospitality through great food, great drinks, luxurious surroundings and exceptional personalized service. With live entertainment every day of the week, the city’s best happy hour transforms into an evening swarm of Champagne and cocktails.
Address: 462 King St, Charleston, SC 29403
Martha Lou’s Kitchen
For 30 years, Martha Lou’s Kitchen has been serving up roll-your-eyes-it’s-so-good soul food in style. Don’t let the little pink building fool you; Martha Lou’s Kitchen has been praised by the New York Times, The Travel Channel and even Martha Stewart as one of Charleston’s finest restaurants. From fried chicken to lima beans and mac & cheese, they’ve got the best home-cookin’ around.
Address: 1068 Morrison Dr, Charleston, SC 29403
Address: 1285 Old Gilliard Rd, Ridgeville, SC 29472
Photo Credit: John Apsey