Long-standing Gullah restaurant Bertha's Kitchen is a hometown hero today as a James Beard Foundation America's Classics Award winner. The North Charleston restaurant has been a favorite of locals in search of limas, fried chicken, and red rice for over 30 years.
Here, the James Beard Foundation explains the win:
On North Meeting Street, the flavors of the Lowcountry boldly emanate from this robin’s-egg-blue spot, where Albertha Grant first opened shop in 1980. Her presence is still felt each time a cook hefts a stewpot to the stove and tosses in a seasoning hunk of sidemeat. Vibrant family portraits by Charleston muralist Charles DeSaussure line the walls. Today, her daughters Julia Grant, Linda Pinckney, and Sharon Coakley serve fried whiting, fried pork chops, red rice, prioleau rice, stewed chicken neck with gizzards and lima beans. Regulars queue the cafeteria line before eleven each morning. Construction workers exit with foam clamshells of Gullah excellence. Okra soup, a dark garlicky stew, thick with tomatoes, and clods of pork in a richly aromatic broth, is worth the trip alone. This soulful restaurant connects modern diners with traditional food ways and shines as a paragon of the region’s living culinary history.
Bertha's Kitchen will receive the award on May 1 in Chicago at the James Beard Awards Gala.