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 2016?
Hanna Raskin, food writer and critic for the Post & Courier:
If this survey was being graded, I’d guess the correct answer was the closing of Two Boroughs Larder, but nothing surprised me more this year than McCrady’s. I was surprised when it closed; I was surprised when the Tavern turned out to be the more exciting of its two successors; and I was so wonderfully surprised by the Tavern’s calf’s head soup.
Suzanne Cohen, critic for Charleston City Paper:
Hands down the renovation at McCrady's. When I first heard that they were going to divide the restaurant into two concepts I thought it was the most exciting thing to happen on East Bay Street in years. I love that they're bringing modern cuisine to a broader audience by showcasing both the upscale and the everyday from the same kitchen.
Brian Stetson, Eater Charleston photographer:
Home Team Downtown — the whole experience is a step above the rest without losing sight of their roots. The specials and rotating plates are delicious!!
Vanessa Wolf, food writer and critic for Charleston City Paper:
Escargot marrow bone at McCrady's Tavern
Robert Donovan, photographer and contributor to Eater Charleston:
The McCrady's rework
Erin Perkins, editor Eater Charleston:
Chef Damon Wise peacing out after only a few months of his big restaurant openings. I chased this story for years (yes, years), so it was a bit surreal when the texts started coming in about him leaving.
Jenny Ouellette, writer:
That both Harold's Cabin and Lewis Barbecue actually, finally, really opened. And that they were both worth the wait.
Kinsey Gidick, managing editor for the Charleston City Paper:
I'll admit I was surprised when Sean Brock flipped the switch on McCrady's and changed the restaurant into two entirely new places. For such a historic staple in Charleston's dining scene, it was a ballsy move and I think the verdict is still out on whether or not the change will pay off.
Will Chesak, Eater Charleston contributor:
Josh Keeler to 492
Marion Sullivan, Culinary Institute of Charleston and food editor Charleston Magazine:
Josh Keeler at 492
Miguel Buencamino, Holy City Handcraft and Eater Charleston contributor:
The McCrady's Project
Peg Moore, contributor and food critic for The Mercury:
Little Jack’s was a happy surprise.
Sydney Gallimore, Queen of the Food Age and Thrillist Contributor:
McCrady's turning into McCrady's Tavern. Talk about a 180.
Stephanie Barna, founding editor Charleston City Paper:
I think the Scarecrow, Feathertop, Wise Buck triumvirate was an interesting development to watch. Hugely ambitious but without much support or excitement from the community. I was surprised at how quickly one of the principals dropped out of the project once it opened.