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 newcomer on the scene excited you this year?
KJ Kearney, Founder of Black Food Fridays
Neon Tiger for sure. Their vegan pizzas don’t leave you with a “I’m missing out on meat” feeling because the flavor combinations were so out of this world!
Hanna Raskin, Food writer and critic for the Post & Courier
Chasing Sage. They’re doing tremendous work from a cooking perspective, but food aside, the team’s commitment to a takeout-only model despite financial consequences bodes well for the local future of hospitality, which entails looking out for a guest’s welfare.
Eric Ginsburg, Eater Carolinas contributor, covering NC
Lula and Sadie’s from chef Harry Monds (formerly of Table Thyme and Bull City Street Food) is a promising new Southern restaurant where nothing disappoints. While Southern restaurants abound, the quality and creativity of Monds’ cooking is a rarer treat.
Stephanie Burt, writer and host of The Southern Fork:
Delaney Oyster House. Everything I’ve had there has been excellent, and I love a well-edited menu!
Kenneth Andrews, Eater Carolinas contributor, covering SC
Jackrabbit Filly came out of the gates swinging and never stopped. Anyone who has followed them this year has seen so many fun and innovative dishes come out of that kitchen that I don’t think they could question how lucky Charleston is to have this restaurant in town.
Mike Ledford, Eater Carolinas photographer
Matthew Lardie, Eater Carolinas contributor, covering NC
It was great to see the Durham Food Hall finally open!
Barbara Skidmore, Eater Carolinas contributor, covering SC and Savannah
Little Miss Ha — moving from the workshop to Mount Pleasant perfecting the takeout and dumpling game.
Brooks Reitz, Restaurateur (Melfi’s, Little Jack’s Tavern, Leon’s Oyster Shop)
Bar George — I love a tightly edited menu and a stake in the ground that says “this is what we do well.” Their oysters are fantastic and the chicken is one of my favorites.
Dave Schuttenberg, owner/chef at Kwei Fei and Micho
Tina [David’s wife] and I are super into the sandwiches from Bodega, which is remarkable, because typically Tina hates sandwiches. Maryam’s Pakastani flavors over at Ma’am Saab are so nicely balanced, and their home-style approach to cooking really speaks to us. Most recently, Tina and I ordered the menu at new red sauce pop-up Lupara Fine Italian Foods. The lasagna was outstanding. Can’t wait to see what those boys do from here.
Erin Perkins, editor Eater Carolinas
I really like what Bar George is doing on James Island. The menu is deceptively simple with Peruvian rotisserie chicken, oysters, and fancy hot dogs, but that chicken is one of the best items I’ve eaten all year. It’s perfectly crisp on the outside and comes with a side of amazingly tangy and fresh green sauce. You’ll never be able to eat those grocery store roast birds after this.
Jenn Rice, Eater Carolinas contributor, covering NC
I am really excited for Jake Wood to finally open Lawrence Barbecue in 2021. He’s proved to be resilient for months now and I can’t wait to see what comes to life for the team at Boxyard RTP.