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Leslie McKellar

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Jack of Cups Blends Asian, Southern, Mexican, and Italian With Comforting Results

A look inside the Folly Beach favorite

Erin Perkins is the editor of Eater Carolinas.

A curry shared with a friend’s father from Bangladesh led to a whole new world for restaurateurs Lesley Carroll and Nick Della Penna. “We were blown away by his dishes, and that’s really where this all started,” recalls Carroll. They team immediately began to learn all they could about the techniques and spices of curries. When a space became available on Folly Beach, they knew the small kitchen would be a perfect fit for a curry restaurant. Started in 2014, Jack of Cups took the idea of curries and blended it with Japanese, Southern, and other flavors to come up with a wholly unique menu. Carroll dives deep into cookbooks and YouTube videos to discover interesting techniques and flavors she can add to the offerings at the eatery.

Carroll’s plates change with the season and are always eclectic. For example, the new spring menu recently came out, and it includes wasabi hummus, golden beet dumplings with ginger and cilantro, pork belly tacos, Indian sour curry, shakshuka, meatballs, and coconut banana pudding, among many other items.

Jack of Cups routinely puts on special dinners full of whimsy and unique flavors from all parts of the globe, like Japan, Mexico, and Italy. Here, Eater photographer Leslie McKellar captured an Alice in Wonderland-themed evening with tom yum soup, goat cheese and beet ravioli in a ginger bechamel, local salad with benne toast, Mexican chile and shredded pork pie, and a chai chocolate cake to end the evening.

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