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The Grey
Quentin Bacon Courtesy of The Grey

12 Restaurants Worth a Drive Out of Charleston

The best stops within two hours of the Holy City

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The Grey
| Quentin Bacon Courtesy of The Grey

It’s road trip season and time to get out of Charleston. Columbia, McClellanville, Savannah, and Holly Hill all make for a quick hour or two drive for a lunch or dinner on the weekend or holiday. If you’re traveling this summer, keep this guide handy for some of the best pulled pork, fried shrimp platters, and pimento cheese burgers close to the Holy City.

Note: Map points are listed in geographical order and are not ranked. Did we miss your favorite spot? Show it some love in the comments, send us an email, or start a forum thread in its honor.

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B’s Cracklin’ BBQ

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Bryan and Nikki Furman reopened B’s Cracklin’ BBQ in a new location after a a faulty Coca-Cola machine caught fire and destroyed the Savannah building the eatery had operated out of since it opened in fall 2014. Now, locals know to visit B's for whole hog, heritage breed barbecue, chicken, ribs, brisket, and house-made sides with local ingredients.

Back In The Day Bakery

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For lunch, baked goods, or coffee drinks, Back in the Day Bakery makes for a cozy stop on Bull Street. Visit for buttery biscuits filled with cheese and eggs and bacon, along with many, many other sweet and savory glories.

The Grey

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"Game-changing" was the phrase used by Eater restaurant editor Bill Addison when describing The Grey in his review of Savannah restaurants. Chef Mashama Bailey moved back to town after years cooking in New York to open the bus-depot-turned-restaurant stunner. Look for new takes on Southern staples such as foie gras and grits with summer figs or roasted yardbird with chow chow and potato puree. The cocktails are equally as luscious.

T. W. Graham & Co. Seafood Restaurant

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Old school seafood shack T.W. Graham pulls in customers looking for fried shrimp, steamed baby clams, and “Gert’s famous crab balls.” The dining room is a bit rickety and mismatched, coleslaw and sauces come in plastic cups, the kitchen serves fried platters in red diner baskets, and sweet tea is delivered to tables in tumblers. It’s not fancy, but most of the best fish houses aren’t.

Buckshot’s Carry Out

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Buckshot's exudes Southern comfort influenced by personal, traditional, and new, ongoing family recipes. Inspired by Lowcountry crops and local waterways, the restaurant strives to combine relatable, yet rich dishes. The fried chicken is crispy and the peach cobbler is fresh.

Buckshot’s
Jay B.

Frank’s Restaurant & Bar

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Summer resort Pawleys Island is home to fine dining stalwart Frank’s Restaurant & Bar. Crisp white linens and candlelight set the mood for an evening of classics like she crab soup with sherry and cornmeal-encrusted grouper served over yellow grits with shrimp.

Scott's Bar-B-Que

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Even though pitmaster Rodney Scott has set up a restaurant in Charleston, it’s always fun to visit the original for wood-smoked whole hog with the secret family sauce. Don’t forget to grab a bag of skins for the ride home.

Sweatman's Barbeque

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Get to Sweatman’s Barbeque keeps a stocked buffet of barbecue favorites like pulled pork, mac and cheese, ribs, hash and rice, and other Southern sides. Go to the take out room for more selection, like skins. Always save room for banana pudding.

Big T's Bar-B-Que

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In rural Richland County, South Carolina, not far from Congaree National Park, on a quiet two-lane road sits the flagship restaurant of Big T's Bar-B-Que. Larry or "Teddy" "Big T" Brown has served barbecue to the greater Columbia, S.C. area for over 30 years. Pulled pork is mixed with a sweet, tangy mustard-based sauce characteristic of the area. Departing from typical old-school barbecue menus, there is also fried fish, fried chicken, burgers, and pork chops. But, as is the case across S.C., there is also barbecue hash. Written by Robert Donovan

Rockaway Athletic Club

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The lack of signage on the Rockaway Athletic Club makes this bar feel like a secret hideaway. Order two things here: a cheap beer and the Rockaway Burger. Melted pimento cheese rests on top of thick slab of slightly charred beef sandwiched between two pillowy buns. All burgers are served with lettuce, tomato, mayo, and raw or grilled onions. This filling stack will only set you back $5.75.

True BBQ

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The chopped pork at True BBQ is deeply smoky and served with a choice three sauces. There's the creatively-named, tomato-based "Sexy Lady" and mustard-based "Pretty Lady," or there's the more workday named "Vinegar Red." Turkey legs, chicken, ribs, and pork chops all share space on the smoker with the Boston butts. Fresh-made sides, like mac and cheese and collards, with a glass of classic, teeth-shaking sweet tea all live up to True BBQ's "great product" motto. Written by Robert Donovan

Hite’s Bar-B-Que

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Find pulled pork, hash, and spare ribs with a choice of mustard or ketchup-based sauce at roadside hut Hite’s Bar-B-Que. There’s no seats in the small space, so order at the counter and haul your takeout to a nearby picnic table or your car.

B’s Cracklin’ BBQ

Bryan and Nikki Furman reopened B’s Cracklin’ BBQ in a new location after a a faulty Coca-Cola machine caught fire and destroyed the Savannah building the eatery had operated out of since it opened in fall 2014. Now, locals know to visit B's for whole hog, heritage breed barbecue, chicken, ribs, brisket, and house-made sides with local ingredients.

Back In The Day Bakery

For lunch, baked goods, or coffee drinks, Back in the Day Bakery makes for a cozy stop on Bull Street. Visit for buttery biscuits filled with cheese and eggs and bacon, along with many, many other sweet and savory glories.

The Grey

"Game-changing" was the phrase used by Eater restaurant editor Bill Addison when describing The Grey in his review of Savannah restaurants. Chef Mashama Bailey moved back to town after years cooking in New York to open the bus-depot-turned-restaurant stunner. Look for new takes on Southern staples such as foie gras and grits with summer figs or roasted yardbird with chow chow and potato puree. The cocktails are equally as luscious.

T. W. Graham & Co. Seafood Restaurant

Old school seafood shack T.W. Graham pulls in customers looking for fried shrimp, steamed baby clams, and “Gert’s famous crab balls.” The dining room is a bit rickety and mismatched, coleslaw and sauces come in plastic cups, the kitchen serves fried platters in red diner baskets, and sweet tea is delivered to tables in tumblers. It’s not fancy, but most of the best fish houses aren’t.

Buckshot’s Carry Out

Buckshot's exudes Southern comfort influenced by personal, traditional, and new, ongoing family recipes. Inspired by Lowcountry crops and local waterways, the restaurant strives to combine relatable, yet rich dishes. The fried chicken is crispy and the peach cobbler is fresh.

Buckshot’s
Jay B.

Frank’s Restaurant & Bar

Summer resort Pawleys Island is home to fine dining stalwart Frank’s Restaurant & Bar. Crisp white linens and candlelight set the mood for an evening of classics like she crab soup with sherry and cornmeal-encrusted grouper served over yellow grits with shrimp.

Scott's Bar-B-Que

Even though pitmaster Rodney Scott has set up a restaurant in Charleston, it’s always fun to visit the original for wood-smoked whole hog with the secret family sauce. Don’t forget to grab a bag of skins for the ride home.

Sweatman's Barbeque

Get to Sweatman’s Barbeque keeps a stocked buffet of barbecue favorites like pulled pork, mac and cheese, ribs, hash and rice, and other Southern sides. Go to the take out room for more selection, like skins. Always save room for banana pudding.

Big T's Bar-B-Que

In rural Richland County, South Carolina, not far from Congaree National Park, on a quiet two-lane road sits the flagship restaurant of Big T's Bar-B-Que. Larry or "Teddy" "Big T" Brown has served barbecue to the greater Columbia, S.C. area for over 30 years. Pulled pork is mixed with a sweet, tangy mustard-based sauce characteristic of the area. Departing from typical old-school barbecue menus, there is also fried fish, fried chicken, burgers, and pork chops. But, as is the case across S.C., there is also barbecue hash. Written by Robert Donovan

Rockaway Athletic Club

The lack of signage on the Rockaway Athletic Club makes this bar feel like a secret hideaway. Order two things here: a cheap beer and the Rockaway Burger. Melted pimento cheese rests on top of thick slab of slightly charred beef sandwiched between two pillowy buns. All burgers are served with lettuce, tomato, mayo, and raw or grilled onions. This filling stack will only set you back $5.75.

True BBQ

The chopped pork at True BBQ is deeply smoky and served with a choice three sauces. There's the creatively-named, tomato-based "Sexy Lady" and mustard-based "Pretty Lady," or there's the more workday named "Vinegar Red." Turkey legs, chicken, ribs, and pork chops all share space on the smoker with the Boston butts. Fresh-made sides, like mac and cheese and collards, with a glass of classic, teeth-shaking sweet tea all live up to True BBQ's "great product" motto. Written by Robert Donovan

Hite’s Bar-B-Que

Find pulled pork, hash, and spare ribs with a choice of mustard or ketchup-based sauce at roadside hut Hite’s Bar-B-Que. There’s no seats in the small space, so order at the counter and haul your takeout to a nearby picnic table or your car.

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