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?
Jai Jones, food writer and photographer
Vern’s (41 Bogard Street, Charleston). Dano and Bethany Heinze created something really special that feels like it’s been part of the Cannonborough/Elliotborough forever even though it opened just a few months ago.
Cele and Lynn Seldon, Seldon Ink
Scoundrel (18 North Main Street, Greenville, South Carolina). Although we haven’t been yet, I’m dying to try it. Joe Cash’s fried potato bite that he served at Euphoria’s Roast & Toast was the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. And I can’t wait to see (and taste) more!
Between the Trees in the Grand Bohemian Lodge in Greenville (44 East Camperdown Way).
Eric Ginsburg, Eater Carolinas contributor, covering NC
So many! In my Raleigh backyard, I have to say Lawrence Barbecue (900 Park Offices Drive), Cheeni Indian Food Emporium (1141 Falls River Avenue), Bendito (now closed), and East Bower Cider. (2020 Progress Court). I’m also stoked about new Senegalese restaurant Saint Louis Saveurs (337 W Wendover Avenue) in Greensboro and the indigenous-owned 7 Clans Brewing (66 Sweeten Creek Road) in Asheville. I am eager to check out Rocks + Acid Wine Shop (712 Market Street) in Chapel Hill and DK Bones BBQ (2006 East Green Drive) in High Point.
Barbara Skidmore, Eater Carolinas contributor, covering SC and Savannah
• The Garage at Victory North (2605 Whitaker Street, Savannah)
• Sullivan’s Fish Camp (2019 Middle Street, Sullivan’s Island)
• Mr. Crisp (1501 East North Street, Greenville)
Hanna Raskin, editor and publisher of The Food Section
Who isn’t going to say Vern’s (41 Bogard Street, Charleston) Count me in that camp, but also want to mention the Hut on McMillian Avenue. With bagelries and pork roll specialists opening all around, it’s nice to know that Lowcountry home cooking hasn’t vanished entirely from the new restaurant scene. Try the smothered turkey wings and limas.
Erin Perkins, editor Eater Carolinas
I basically refreshed Neng Jr.’s (701 Haywood Road, Asheville) Instagram account every day until the opening was announced and then booked a trip straight to Asheville to try it. In Charleston, the exciting newcomer was definitely Vern’s (41 Bogard Street).
Jason B James, photographer and Eater Carolinas contributor
Neng Jr.’s (701 Haywood Road, Asheville), Bar Rollins (194 Jackson Street, Charleston), and Sixby (Savannah) all brought fresh ideas to the table.
Jenn Rice, Eater Carolinas contributor, covering NC
I’ve been counting down to the opening of Rocks + Acid (712 Market Street) in Chapel Hill as I’m dying to absorb all of Paula de Pano’s wine knowledge and drink all of the beautiful wines. I was also stoked about the resurfacing of QueenBurger (359 Blackwell Street) in Durham, as it is one of my favorite burgers in the Triangle. And also La Bodega (32 South Lexington Avenue, Asheville), as I’ve spent so much time in Spain this year that it feels like my home away from home ... jamon and sherry are always waiting.
Kay West, Eater Carolinas contributor, covering Asheville
No question, Neng Jr.’s (701 Haywood Road, Asheville). The anticipation for Silver Cousler Iocovozzi’s tiny 17-seat gem was through the roof and fully realized when it opened last summer. Leave your expectations for what’s on the menu at the alley door, ascend the red stairway and prepare to marvel and delight in every dish.
Matthew Lardie, Eater Carolinas contributor, covering NC
Without a doubt, it was Neng Jr.’s (701 Haywood Road, Asheville). I had been waiting for Silver to open their restaurant and my first meal there lived up to all expectations.
Stephanie Burnette, Eater Carolinas contributor
Historic Overbrook is becoming a great downtown neighborhood in Greenville. Fork and Plough (1629 East North Street) nails brunch, in my book, so the addition of Harry’s Hoagies (1700 East North Street) for lunch and Perch (1501 East North Street) for dinner/drinks makes Overbrook feel like a fresh place to hang out.
Stephanie Burt, writer and host of The Southern Fork
I was extremely publicly effusive about Vern’s (41 Bogard Street, Charleston), but that was real. While Charleston is fortunate to have a dearth of restaurant openings, many of them seem similar. Vern’s feels grounded, anchored, and yet at the same time, a playground for Dano playing with local ingredients. There are good people on staff all around, and that wine list? Yes.