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Restaurant Gurus on the Biggest Dining Surprises of 2015

What shocked you in 2015?

Chick's Fry House created a stir.
Chick's Fry House created a stir.
Erin Perkins
Erin Perkins is the editor of Eater Carolinas, covering the food and restaurant scene across North and South Carolina.

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.

Q. What was the biggest dining surprise of 2015?

Kinsey Gidick, managing editor for the Charleston City Paper:
When the events of June 17 shocked our city with nine innocent people murdered at Emanuel AME, I wasn't surprised that F&B members were some of the first to come forward to help. But what blew me away was the speed with which they put a fundraiser together — seven days after the shooting, the Belmond Hotel's A Community United event was organized. A lot of the credit for that goes to the leadership of Charleston Grill GM Mickey Bakst. But it would never have been possible without the dozens upon dozens of F&B volunteers. The event raised over $500K for the victims' families and was just another example of Charleston's extraordinary food and beverage community.

Hanna RaskinFood writer and critic for the Post & Courier and author of Yelp Help: How to Write Great Online Restaurant Reviews:
The rocky opening of Chick's Fry House. From the closing of Union Provisions onward, events this year made clear that it takes more than big names and big money to win over Charleston diners.

Hayley Phillips, assistant editor for The Local Palate:
Wet Willies closing. J/K. The chef at Mercantile and Mash switching up the DAY before their opening. St. Albans closing. Jason Stanhope winning the James Beard for Best Chef Southeast. Bad Bitches Charleston Pop-Up tearing it up!

Emma Humphries, Instagram superstar and photographer for Eater Charleston:
Persimmon Cafe quickly became one of my favorite restaurants.

Peg Moore, contributor and food critic for The Mercury:
That restaurants seem stuck in the ultra casual gas station ambience.

Erin Perkins, editor Eater Charleston:
The amount of bickering over Chick's Fry House on the "I Live in Wagener Terrace" Facebook page. Whether you loved it or hated it, you could argue all day long in that group if you wanted. I've never seen so many people so passionate about fast-casual fried chicken.