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 were the top restaurant newcomers of 2016?
Peg Moore, contributor and food critic for The Mercury:
Little Jack’s Tavern. Restaurants here traditionally had white tablecloths and gracious décor. This more formal sensibility is returning and getting rave reviews in other foodie cities. New restaurants here cling to the casual gas station ambience that is so passé and does not relate gracefully to Charleston traditions. Little Jack’s gracefully moves beyond the super-casual mode with green and white tablecloths and a mahogany ambience.
Sydney Gallimore, Queen of the Food Age and Thrillist Contributor:
Henrietta's & The Living Room at the Dewberry, Luke's Craft Pizza (for being the one new pizza restaurant actually worth eating), and Feathertop.
Erin Perkins, editor Eater Charleston:
Lewis Barbecue seems to be having a great year. And all though it’s very new, Sean Brock’s McCrady’s seems to be *the* restaurant to hit up — everyone wants to know, “Have you been?”
Kinsey Gidick, managing editor for the Charleston City Paper:
Lots of my hopes were dashed this year — bootcut jeans only kinda made a comeback, Apple abandoned the iPhone headphone socket (how am I gonna fake jog now?), and, oh yeah, we elected a misogynist, Tweet-happy pumpkin for President. So yeah, I spent a lot of 2016 comfort eating, and the places I found myself at again and again all happen to be new. The corn pudding at Lewis Barbecue calmed me when my air conditioner went out for the third time this summer. The whipped feta at Butcher & Bee coated my soul like a creamy shellack when I had to edit yet another story about the Michael Slager and Dylann Roof trials, and the Ploughman's Lunch at the new goat.sheep.cow.north sated the empty feeling in the pit of my stomach that ached each time I considered life in the U.S. over the next four years. When none of that worked, I took the Hunter S. Thompson approach and treated Le Farfalle's truffles like mescaline to dull the pain.
Will Chesak, Eater Charleston contributor:
Le Farfalle, Lewis Barbecue, La Morra Pizzeria, Little Jack's Tavern, Stems & Skins
Hanna Raskin, Food writer and critic for the Post & Courier:
Is there a word limit? What a year. Alphabetically, Butcher & Bee; Lewis Barbecue; Little Jack’s Tavern and McCrady’s Tavern. On the beverage front, The Living Room for cocktails; Stems & Skins for wine and Welkin for coffee.
Suzanne Cohen, critic for Charleston City Paper:
I would say it's a tie between Lewis BBQ and the new location of Butcher & Bee. That whole area in the Upper Peninsula is on fire right now. Also, the newest goat. sheep. cow.! Very excited for them.
Brian Stetson, Eater Charleston photographer:
Luke's Pizza, Le Farfalle
Stephanie Barna, founding editor Charleston City Paper:
I really love La Farfalle. I think of all the out-of-town restaurateurs, the Toscanos are eager to become a part of the fabric of Charleston and not just impose their ideas of what they think we want.
And Bar Normandy is a freaking gem. Great wine, delicious food, and a seriously laid back attitude. I love Bar Normandy!
Vanessa Wolf, food writer and critic for Charleston City Paper:
Le Farfalle, Lewis Barbecue
Marion Sullivan, Culinary Institute of Charleston and food editor Charleston Magazine:
Looks like the taverns have it: McCrady's and Little Jack's.
Miguel Buencamino, Holy City Handcraft and Eater Charleston contributor:
Lewis Barbecue, Le Farfalle, Little Jack’s, Scarecrow, Poke Tea House, 2Nixons
Robert Donovan, photographer and contributor to Eater Charleston:
Unfortunately 2016 was a big travel year for me so a lot I've hit are out of town but Little Jacks Tavern, Home Team Downtown, Lewis, La Morra Pizzeria stand out.
Jenny Ouellette, writer:
Le Farfalle is one of my favorite newbies. Every bite is filled with so much flavor, and it's great for many occasions — whether you're in for a special meal or simply an after-work meet up.