Today, we’re excited to announce the winners of the 2019 Eater Awards, celebrating the chefs and new restaurants that made a major impact on the dining scene this year. In each of Eater’s cities, including here in Charleston, the local editorial staff chose finalists and ultimately a winner in each of three categories, taking into account nominations submitted by readers over a monthlong period. Restaurants had to have opened in the past year (including the last few months of 2018) to be eligible and must be located in Eater Charleston’s standard geographic radius. The winners will each be receiving a traditional Eater tomato can trophy and a feature story in the coming year.
Please join us in celebrating this year’s incredible group of winners. Without further ado, here they are.
Restaurant of the Year
1977 Maybank Highway
After months of popular pop-ups, the team behind Sichuan concept Kwei Fei decided to make it permanent on James Island. Opened in December 2018, the space became popular for spicy hits like mapo tofu and lamb dumplings. Restaurateurs Dave and Tina Schuttenberg keep it fun with a killer soundtrack and punk-rock-inspired sensibility.
At a time when Charleston was being overrun with overpriced, faux-Southern menus, Kwei Fei brought something completely fresh to the table.
Design of the Year
The Royal Tern
3005 Maybank Highway
Of course there’s seafood towers, wood-fired oysters, and barbecue shrimp at the Royal Tern, but don’t forget to take in the stunning interiors. The new Johns Island addition comes from former Coast chef David Pell and industry vets John and Ben Williams.
The sleek and modern dining room at the Royal Tern is stunning with subtle nautical touches, high ceilings, and dramatic lighting.
Bar of the Year
334 Meeting Street
Mid-century modern dreamsicle Citrus Club sits high above Charleston with Instagram-enviable views and fun tropical drinks that won’t leave you with a sugar hangover. This rooftop bar has the highest elevation downtown, some of the best bar staff around, and an air of poshness that makes it a sought-after spot for a perfect evening out with friends.