After nearly a week of intensive reader voting, today we announce the winners of the eighth annual Eater Awards, celebrating the chefs and restaurants that made the largest impact on all 24 Eater cities over the past twelve months.
Here now are the establishments — from food halls and barbecue spots to tasting menu dining rooms and restaurants within bakeries — that have taken the Charleston food world by storm. Thank you to everyone who voted last week, and congratulations to the winners of the readers’ choice and editors’ choice awards. Read on to learn more about this year’s best of the best. Editor's Choice winners will receive an illustrious tomato can trophy via FedEx, along with a full feature on Eater in the coming year.
Chef of the Year
Rodney Scott’s BBQ, North Central
Ask anyone in Charleston about the name Rodney Scott, and they’ll probably tell you that he smokes some of the best whole hogs in the state. Scott expanded his beloved barbecue outpost in Hemingway, S.C., to Charleston this year, and the lines were out the door. Scott’s new place came with old favorites, like pork rinds and pulled pork, but it also came with a killer ribeye sandwich and addictive fried catfish.
Chef of the Year Readers’ Choice Winner: Alex Lira, Bar Normandy
Restaurant of the Year
Bar Normandy, South of Broad
Dynamic duo and food world vets Philip Michael Cohen and Alex Lira started taking over Normandy Farm Bakery a bit over a year ago with their idea for a small, affordable, yet very food-forward pop-up dubbed Bar Normandy. Throngs of food and beverage industry insiders immediately took to the place because the plates were unique, the oysters were cheap, and the hospitality was abundant.
Chef Lira created a small, affordable, ever-changing menu of snackable plates, and Cohen put forth one of the wittiest wine lists around. After a nod in Bon Appetit for best new restaurant, the crowds filled in behind the F&B folks to sample this spot tucked away in a Broad Street bakery.
Restaurant of the Year Readers’ Choice Winner: Stella’s
Design of the Year
McCrady’s, French Quarter
When chef Sean Brock reopened his new vision for an all-tasting-menu McCrady’s, he thought out all the details — from the tableware to the open kitchen to the soundtrack — everything piece went into place to make the new space feel relaxed, yet refined. The dining room has a mood of futuristic, yet absolutely Lowcountry, which very much follows Brock’s dinner courses. The sleek design plays into the overall experience at McCrady’s.
Design of the Year Readers’ Choice Winner: goat.sheep.cow north
Pastry Chef of the Year
Cynthia Wong, Butcher & Bee
Pastry Chef Cynthia Wong joined the team at Butcher & Bee in 2016. Since then fans have sought out her phatty cakes, sea-salt chocolate chip cookies, and more recently, her ice cream take on “fried chicken.” Wong is also a four-time semifinalist for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef.
Pastry Chef of the Year Readers’ Choice Winner: Katy Keefe, McCrady’s and McCrady’s Tavern
Hottest Restaurant of the Year
While food halls were taking over the rest of the country, restaurateurs Michael Shemtov and Jonathan Ory decided Charleston could benefit from a grown-up cafeteria as well. The expansive space opened with stalls for chefs to try out new menus and experiment. The rotating cast of kitchen creations gives visitors a chance to try something new each time they visit.
Currently, patrons can choose from Vietnamese eatery Pink Bellies, Indian space Sambar, Tex-Mex stall Juan Lewis, Japanese and Chinese stall Slider Gold, Bad Wolf Coffee, poke eatery Koa Bowl, and Brooklyn-style Slice Co. The outdoor tables at Workshop quickly became the hottest spot to Instagram from, and the courtyard is always full of families and brunch-seekers on the weekends.
Hottest Restaurant of the Year Readers’ Choice Winner: Juliet