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Restaurant Experts Talk About 2014 Surprises

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In keeping with Eater tradition, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types and bloggers. To kick it off in Charleston, Eater asked the group eight questions, ranging from the restaurants they frequent most to the biggest surprises of the year. Responses are in no particular order, and readers are encouraged to leave answers in the comments.

Erin Perkins is the editor of Eater Carolinas, covering the food and restaurant scene across North and South Carolina.

Q. What was the biggest dining surprise of 2014?

Marion Sullivan, Culinary Institute of Charleston, food editor Charleston Magazine, columnist Post & Courier:

Eric Doksa, food and beer writer and restaurant critic for the Charleston City Paper:
I can’t say enough about the quality and consistency of the dishes at 167 Raw. It’s one of those places I have to tell everyone about after each and every visit. Ko Cha was pleasant surprise as well.

Hanna Raskin, Food writer and critic for the Post & Courier and author of Yelp Help: How to Write Great Online Restaurant Reviews:
I was surprised that entrepreneurs still think they can glitz their way into Charleston diners’ good graces. I’m not privy to the ledger books of Union Provisions, Charleston Distilling Company and Michael’s on the Alley, so maybe all three are doing better business than I think. But my sense is the culinarily-sophisticated crowd here appreciates high-level performance, not expensive architectural details.

Brian Wilder, editor The Rakish Perspective and contributor to Eater Charleston:
No surprises. Nothing shocking. Nothing too different. Not sure if that's a good thing or not.

Timmons Pettigrew, author of Charleston Beer and contributor to Eater Charleston:
Spring Street becoming the next great thoroughfare for food.

Erin Perkins, editor Eater Charleston:
The shuttering of long-standing Carolina's was a shock. It was even more surprising to me that readers weren't more upset. I expected an outcry, but there was only minor whimpering.