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 your top restaurant standbys of 2016?
Vanessa Wolf, food writer and critic for Charleston City Paper:
Artisan Meat Share, Leon's Fine Poultry and Oysters, Xiao Bao Biscuit, 167 Raw
Marion Sullivan, Culinary Institute of Charleston and food editor Charleston Magazine:
McCrady's Tavern, Little Jack's Tavern, The Grocery
Miguel Buencamino, Holy City Handcraft and Eater Charleston contributor:
Edmund’s Oast, XBB, Jack of Cups (Folly)
Robert Donovan, photographer and contributor to Eater Charleston:
Edmund's Oast, XBB, Spero, AMS, FRHTBBQ, Obstinate Daughter
Erin Perkins, editor Eater Charleston:
To be honest, there’s so many new places opening that I rarely allow myself to “frequent” somewhere. The cashier at Spring Rolls on King Street has my lunch order of Thai hot and sour soup and a salad memorized however — I run there from my office when I forget to bring lunch (which is often).
Jenny Ouellette, writer:
Little Jack's Tavern has my vote for top standby — even though it's pretty brand new. It feels like it has been around decades, and I keep going back over and over again —mostly for the Tavern Burger. Get the single: the ratios of cheese to meat to bread to sauce are just right.
Kinsey Gidick, managing editor for the Charleston City Paper:
Come to find out Seanachai is more than just a killer Irish pub. The Johns Island bar has a great menu and I've spent many a night this year listening to fiddle bands or cover acts while attempting to eat Seanachai's massive burger. It's excellent and worth the drive out to the island.
Will Chesak, Eater Charleston contributor:
The Ordinary, Spero, Butcher & Bee, Pigman Goods Frank Satan Handmade Hotdogs, Torres Superettes
Peg Moore, contributor and food critic for The Mercury:
My appreciation is increasing for older restaurants — Hominy Grill, Muse, Charleston Grill, Magnolias, Peninsula Grill, Circa 1886, FIG, Hank’s, Oak, and Fulton Five.
Sydney Gallimore, Queen of the Food Age and Thrillist Contributor:
Obstinate Daughter, Halls Chophouse, Persimmon Cafe, Tattooed Moose
Hanna Raskin, Food writer and critic for the Post & Courier:
Returning to standbys isn’t in my job description, but I made multiple trips to FIG (when out-of-town friends visit); Short Grain (when our schedules coincide) and Little Jack’s (when I want red meat.) Still, my top standby is probably the new Caviar & Bananas counter at the airport, which all by itself makes air travel 23 percent more pleasant.
Suzanne Cohen, critic for Charleston City Paper:
I was consistently so satisfied every time that I went to CO this year that it would be hard to not mention them. Also, I know I sound cliched saying this but I have yet to find a place that will take the place of FIG in my heart. I can't think of another restaurant where the mere suggestion of it induces goosebumps and an unnatural amount of enthusiasm.
Brian Stetson, Eater Charleston photographer:
Short Grain, Bar Mash
Stephanie Barna, founding editor Charleston City Paper:
FIG and The Ordinary will always be at the top of my list.