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The 2020 Takeout, Delivery, and Outdoor Dining Standouts for North and South Carolina

Carolinas food insiders discuss the meals that kept them going this year

Jackrabbit Filly
Mike Ledford
Erin Perkins is the editor of Eater Carolinas.

In keeping with Eater tradition, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. To kick it off in the Carolinas, Eater asked the group eight questions, ranging from the restaurants they frequented for takeout to the saddest surprises of the year. Responses are in no particular order, and readers are encouraged to leave answers in the comments.

Q. What were your regular go-to destinations for takeout and delivery in 2020? [or outdoor dining]

Eric Ginsburg, Eater Carolinas contributor, covering NC
More than anywhere else, I ordered takeout from these Durham restaurants: Guasaca (South American), Ex-Voto (Mexican), Vine Sushi & Thai, Mediterra Grill (Mediterranean), Michoacán Mexican, NaanStop Indian Cuisine, Saltbox Seafood Joint, and Pad Thai Cuisine.

Mike Ledford, Eater Carolinas photographer
Rodney Scott’s, Dashi, Park Pizza, D’Alesandro’s, Nick’s Gyros and Phillys, and the Codfather

Hanna Raskin, Food writer and critic for the Post & Courier
I have been waiting seven years to answer this question! When I was reviewing restaurants, the only places I got to visit multiple times in one year were those under review. But one small upside of 2020 is I got to be a regular at several neighborhood spots (and by regular, I mean multiple times in one week): Daps for breakfast; Babas for lunch and Renzo for dinner.

D.R.E. James, Eater Carolinas contributor, covering SC
Dave’s Carry-Out. They’ve always been mostly a takeout spot ( as their name suggest) so they really didn’t miss a beat .

Matthew Lardie, Eater Carolinas contributor, covering NC
I stopped regularly at Alley Twenty Six in Durham — they changed the menu pretty regularly so there was always something new to try! Tandoori Bites was a go-to delivery place too, they have locations in Durham, Fayetteville, and Wilmington.

Barbara Skidmore, Eater Carolinas contributor, covering SC and Savannah
Delivery: Baguette Magic and their Delivery Bag-ettes — pastries, family meals, bread delivered with contactless drop off. Takeout: Baker & Brewer Pan pizza and salad to go menu on the weekend plus growler fill.

Brooks Reitz, Restaurateur (Melfi’s, Little Jack’s Tavern, Leon’s Oyster Shop)
Leon’s for outdoor dining — we haven’t done much takeout since COVID hit.

Marion Sullivan, food editor Charleston Magazine
The Grocery, FIG, The Ordinary, Butcher & Bee, and Rodney Scott’s.

Stephanie Burt, writer and host of The Southern Fork:
I really didn’t do that much takeout and eating out, but I must say Jackrabbit Filly. I ate there (and posted about it so frequently on Instagram) in the first three months of the year that a colleague asked me if they had installed a cot for me in the back. But I love it because it’s always innovative, comforting, a new generation of the “mom and pop,” and it’s a style of cuisine that I can’t begin to approach in my home kitchen, so I just sit back and revel in the enjoyment of all the combos and flavors.

KJ Kearney, Founder of Black Food Fridays
I went to Le Creme and Commonhouse Aleworks, both in North Charleston, A LOT! As they were a few places that had ample outdoor seating. As far as takeout is concerned: Nana’s Uptown and Neon Tiger were very good to me in 2020. And I’d be remiss to no shout out, what became my favorite to-go spot: Ma Gloria’s Trinidadian Restaurant! The shrimp curry with roti was an automatic nap inducer.

Kenneth Andrews, Eater Carolinas contributor
Edmund’s Oast really seemed to nail down their delivery process early after everything had to shut down, and I had some great meals from them right from my front door. I mean it was 2020 and I was eating an Artisan Meat Share Nutty Knuckle! I even baked up the classic EO mac and peas right in my own kitchen!

Dave Schuttenberg, chef/owner of Kwei Fei and Micho
We continue to obsessively order Chinese takeout from our local on JI, Great Wall. Having spent so much time in the restaurant this year, focusing on navigating the pandemic, we did see many other independent restauranteurs and their staff at Kwei Fei, and always made it a point to say thank you, by returning the favor. So we didn’t have a ton of “regular” places. We really tried to visit as many as possible.

Erin Perkins, editor Eater Carolinas
This year, it was a lot of home cooking, but takeout from Tu and FIG were phenomenal. Jackrabbit Filly was our last meal in a restaurant before shutdown, and it was one of the first we tried when indoor dining was allowed again with all the proper precautions. I look forward to trying all the new restaurants that opened this past year once things are a bit calmer.

Wyatt Dickson, pitmaster/owner of Picnic and Wyatt’s Whole Hog Barbecue
Oakwood Pizza Box and Jersey Mike’s. I guess I’m a simpleton.

Jenn Rice, Eater Carolinas contributor, covering NC
Oakwood Pizza Box, Chido Taco (so many large quesos and lengua tacos), PICNIC, lots of Chinese food from Five Star, Union Special on the regular, and way too many pints of Two Roosters ice cream. Jolie proved to serve the dreamiest version of to-go food by way of French picnic staples in early pandemic days.

Scott Crawford, chef/owner of Crawford and Son
My family and I have loved getting take out from bakeries! They were instantly very good at it — always so easy to order from online and pick up. We went to Boulted, Layered Croissanterie, and Union Special Bread; they were our go-to’s for celebrating birthdays or when someone was coming in town. We’d have Sunday brunch at home with a lot of sweet and savory pastries, and it felt very special.