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9 Iconic Greasy Spoons Across Charleston

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Charleston's most visible greasy spoons aren't just places people linger around in late-night, hoping to sop up all that was consumed earlier in the evening. This list of culinary classics highlights a range of affordable Southern eats: the meat-and-threes, the chicken and waffles, the grits, the rice and all sorts of fried goodness. While the Holy City is still mourning the loss of some of its best straight-up diners, these are the places to stop for Lowcountry standbys right now, including a few chefs' favorites.

Note: These are in no particular order, and the list is likely incomplete. Make a case for your favorite below, and keep in mind Charleston's seafood-y dives will be toasted on their own later in the week. Send over your nominations now.


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Jack's Cafe

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Perhaps king of the current diner scene, Jack's Cafe is a true downtown institution. Some swear by Jack's 1/4 pound burgers, others prefer the secret menu, which includes something called The Hangover. There's a biscuit, gravy, chicken and much more.

Page's Okra Grill

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Page's on Coleman Boulevard has the down home thing down pat. Folks head to their patio for shrimp and grits, okra gumbo and, yes, chicken and waffles. They're slightly newer to the scene, but they still serve blue plate specials and plenty of pies, cakes and puddings for dessert.

Early Bird Diner

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Rising up in West Ashley after Alex's closed, Early Bird Diner is known for feeding the many "brunch zombies" (their words) and being one of the only locally-owned diners that's open into the wee hours. They'll tell you the signature plate is the chicken and waffles, but some Eater readers prefer The Messy, which mixes curry, eggs and potatoes.

Marie's Diner

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At Marie's, the lunch special is $7.78, with tea included (but, alas, that doesn't include tax), and the options rotate daily. Look for staples like fried chicken, fried pork chop and meatloaf, plus the usual slew of sides. Fans of the North Charleston lunch room will advise adding a peach cobbler to the mix for just $1.

Bertha's Restaurant

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People will argue whether or not Bertha's is a greasy spoon, but almost everyone can agree on the genius of this soul food establishment. Many of the best chefs in town call it a favorite for its fried chicken, mac and cheese, turkey prioleau and lima beans. [Photo: Rémy Thurston]

Ye Ole Fashioned Ice Cream and Sandwich Cafe

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At the six Ye Ole locations across the Lowcountry, the ice cream sundaes cost nearly as much as the burgers. Which is to say, the sandwiches are cheap, and the ice cream is a long-time crowd-pleaser (especially the banana split).

Dixie Supply Bakery and Cafe

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Downtown's Dixie Supply Bakery and Cafe might be tiny, but the tea is sweet and the tomato pie is the specialty. There's also a fried green tomato and local shrimp BLT on wheatberry bread, which will set you back just under $10.

Boulevard Diner

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With its signature red roof and the oversized burger out front, the lone Boulevard Diner that's left has all the trappings of an old-school eatery. McCrady's chef Jeremiah Langhorne heads there for the biscuits and gravy (they're "always delicious there") and the Southern vegetable sides, like okra, collards, red rice and more.

JB's Smokeshack

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The only barbecue greasy spoon on the list, JB's is known for its roadside buffet. They might have a pig on their sign, but last year City Paper's food critic Robert Moss called their chicken "the real treat."

Jack's Cafe

Perhaps king of the current diner scene, Jack's Cafe is a true downtown institution. Some swear by Jack's 1/4 pound burgers, others prefer the secret menu, which includes something called The Hangover. There's a biscuit, gravy, chicken and much more.

Page's Okra Grill

Page's on Coleman Boulevard has the down home thing down pat. Folks head to their patio for shrimp and grits, okra gumbo and, yes, chicken and waffles. They're slightly newer to the scene, but they still serve blue plate specials and plenty of pies, cakes and puddings for dessert.

Early Bird Diner

Rising up in West Ashley after Alex's closed, Early Bird Diner is known for feeding the many "brunch zombies" (their words) and being one of the only locally-owned diners that's open into the wee hours. They'll tell you the signature plate is the chicken and waffles, but some Eater readers prefer The Messy, which mixes curry, eggs and potatoes.

Marie's Diner

At Marie's, the lunch special is $7.78, with tea included (but, alas, that doesn't include tax), and the options rotate daily. Look for staples like fried chicken, fried pork chop and meatloaf, plus the usual slew of sides. Fans of the North Charleston lunch room will advise adding a peach cobbler to the mix for just $1.

Bertha's Restaurant

People will argue whether or not Bertha's is a greasy spoon, but almost everyone can agree on the genius of this soul food establishment. Many of the best chefs in town call it a favorite for its fried chicken, mac and cheese, turkey prioleau and lima beans. [Photo: Rémy Thurston]

Ye Ole Fashioned Ice Cream and Sandwich Cafe

At the six Ye Ole locations across the Lowcountry, the ice cream sundaes cost nearly as much as the burgers. Which is to say, the sandwiches are cheap, and the ice cream is a long-time crowd-pleaser (especially the banana split).

Dixie Supply Bakery and Cafe

Downtown's Dixie Supply Bakery and Cafe might be tiny, but the tea is sweet and the tomato pie is the specialty. There's also a fried green tomato and local shrimp BLT on wheatberry bread, which will set you back just under $10.

Boulevard Diner

With its signature red roof and the oversized burger out front, the lone Boulevard Diner that's left has all the trappings of an old-school eatery. McCrady's chef Jeremiah Langhorne heads there for the biscuits and gravy (they're "always delicious there") and the Southern vegetable sides, like okra, collards, red rice and more.

JB's Smokeshack

The only barbecue greasy spoon on the list, JB's is known for its roadside buffet. They might have a pig on their sign, but last year City Paper's food critic Robert Moss called their chicken "the real treat."

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