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McCrady's
McCrady's
Bill Addison

25 Oldest Restaurants in Charleston Worth a Visit

From 1930 to 1999.

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McCrady's
| Bill Addison

Charleston is one of the oldest cities in America, but doesn't boast many long-standing restaurants. For a quick history of Holy City dining rooms, writer Robert Moss has a brief timeline, starting in the early 20th century. Most of what's still around today began when the Spoleto Festival USA came to town. With the influx of performers and patrons came a hunger for continental cuisine. After a French trend moved through, Lowcountry menus became popular. A mixture of fine dining, Southern cooking, and — above all — hospitality has survived through the years.

Everyone on this map opened before 2000. If we missed anyone, let us know in the comments. Establishments are presented in alphabetical order.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. 82 Queen

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82 Queen St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 723-7591
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Owner Steve Kish claims that 82 Queen, opened in 1982, was one of the first restaurants in Charleston to offer Lowcountry cuisine. It's certainly one of the oldest. The fine dining restaurant can still bring in over 300 covers a day and the old world patio remains a playground of twinkling lights for evening customers.

2. Bertha's Kitchen

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2332 Meeting Street Rd
North Charleston, SC 29405-6114
(843) 554-6519
Established in 1979, iconic soul food stop Bertha's Kitchen is known for their fried chicken and fish, and heralded for their Southern sides. Everyone from famous chefs and food writers to locals and tourists seems to make the trek to Bertha's to take in the now-famous dishes created by the late founder Albertha Grant.

3. Blind Tiger Pub

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36 & 38 Broad St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 577-0088
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Housed in a building dating back to 1803, The Blind Tiger looks older than it actually is. The bar, started in the late 80s, has changed hands several times, but remains a gathering spot for Broad Street lawyers, history buffs, and returning College of Charleston students. It was once voted the bar where you're "Most Likely to Pick up a Republican."

4. Bowens Island Restaurant

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1870 Bowens Island Rd
Charleston, SC 29412
(843) 795-2757
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Seafood shack Bowens Island has served up steaming oysters since 1946. The restaurant has survived fires, hurricanes, and changing tastes to remain a go-to for bivalve lovers seeking the smell of pluff mud while they slurp on fresh catches.

5. Charleston Grill

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224 King St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 577-4522
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Charleston Grill is fine dining at its best. Located in the stunning Belmond Charleston Place, the Grill is home to one of the most elegant menus in Charleston. The seasonal menu has four categories: Pure, Southern, Cosmopolitan and Lush, but you can mix and match and create the perfect meal. Chef Michelle Weaver has been with the restaurant since 1997.

6. Dave's Carry Out

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47 Morris St
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 577-7943
The little corner fish shack Dave’s Carry-Out is unassuming with their plastic tablecloths and styrofoam platters, but they have consistently served up big plates of fried fresh catches and fixin’s since 1987. The current address is their third location, but the shrimp platters and deviled crab recipes are the same.

7. Fulton Five

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5 Fulton St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 853-5555
Italian restaurant Fulton Five is consistently voted "Most Romantic" year after year. The slightly hidden entrance and intimate interiors of the restaurant (built in 1991) are a hit with locals and couples looking for a quiet date night.

8. Gaulart & Maliclet French Café Fast and French Inc.

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98 Broad St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 577-9797
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Gaulart & Maliclet, better known as Fast & French, transports patrons to Europe for less than $10 a plate. Choose the special of the day, and you'll be treated to a sandwich or light entrée with a soup, fresh fruit, and a glass of wine. The atmosphere of the cozy café has remained a mainstay on Broad Street since 1985.

9. Hank's Seafood

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10 Hayne St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 723-3474
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The youngest restaurant on this list, Hank's Seafood opened in 1999 to critical acclaim. The menu serves classic, fresh from the ocean dishes, like Seafood a la Wando or curried shrimp, and traditional fried shrimp plates. Chef Frank McMahon sought to recreate Charleston fish houses of the past and succeeded with Hank's.

10. Hannibal's Kitchen

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16 Drake St
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 722-2256
Hannibal's Kitchen has served the Charleston community for over 40 years. The casual soul food restaurant is located on the Eastside of town, away from the normal tourist path, but locals know that this is the place to seek out for okra soup, shark steak, and a lima bean plate.

11. Henry's House

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54 N Market St
Charleston, SC
(843) 723-4363
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The Henry's of today barely resembles the restaurant from 1930, but it's still worth a visit to see one of the original landmark restaurants of Charleston. Gone is the famous cheese spread recipe of the past, but some Lowcountry favorites, like crab cakes and she crab soup, remain.

12. Hominy Grill

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207 Rutledge Ave
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 937-0930
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Hominy Grill is a must stop for tourists and locals alike, which is a rare achievement for a restaurant. Chef Robert Stehling opened the grit-serving eatery in 1996. Try the Charleston Nasty if you're there for brunch — the gravy-covered fried chicken biscuit is the definition of comfort food.

13. Hyman's Seafood

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215 Meeting St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 723-6000
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Yes, Hyman's has gotten a bit of reputation as a "tourist only" place by locals, but they've served a consistent product since 1987. As Post and Courier stated in 2007, "Hyman's is part of Charleston as Charleston is part of Hyman's." Plus, where else are you going to send your great-Aunt when she comes to visit? She probably read about Hyman's at the airport.

14. Magnolias

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185 E Bay St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 577-7771
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East Bay eatery Magnolias welcomed guests in 1990 with nouveau-Lowcountry cuisine — something they dubbed "Uptown Down South." Dishes like boiled peanut hummus and collard green and tasso ham egg roll remain on the menu today. Current executive chef Don Drake has been with the restaurant since 1991.

15. Marina Variety Store Restaurant

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17 Lockwood Dr
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 723-6325
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Marina Variety Store has the feeling of a roadside diner, but it happens to overlook the boats parked in the Ashley River. The coffee mugs are kitschy, the menus have facts about South Carolina, and they've served some of the same dishes since 1963. It's not avant-garde, but it is comfortable, like a favorite pair of boat shoes. Go for breakfast and grab a booth.

16. Martha Lou's Kitchen

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1068 Morrison Dr
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 577-9583
Since 1983, the tiny pink restaurant on Morrison Drive has been home to some of the best fried chicken in the South. Macaroni and cheese, collard greens, catfish … you name a true Southern comfort food and Martha Lou’s will probably have it. Wash it down with a glass of iced cold sweet tea for pure Southern bliss.

17. McCrady's

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2 Unity Aly
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 577-0025
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The legend of McCrady's is that George Washington once dined there. The McCrady's that we know today started more around 1999 with chef Micheal Kramer. In 2006, The Neighborhood Dining Group took over and chef Sean Brock built the fine dining reputation seen today. The luxurious, dark wood space is worth a visit alone — but you really should stay for the food.

18. Peninsula Grill

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112 N Market St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 723-0700
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Dining at the Peninsula Grill is a special, opulent experience. Jackets are preferred in the velvet-lined dining room, but not required to indulge in the classics from chef Graham Dailey. If you simply want to dip your toe in luxury, before diving in, stop by the champagne bar for a slice of their world-famous coconut cake. Peninsula Grill joined the dining scene in 1997.

19. Poogan's Porch

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72 Queen St.
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 577-2337
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Established in 1976, Poogan's Porch has been a place to go for Charleston hits like shrimp and grits and she-crab soup ever since. The restaurant is housed in a grand Victorian home, so guests get a taste of the genteel Southern life.

20. Slightly North of Broad

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192 E Bay St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 723-3424
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Slightly North of Broad opened in 1993 with Lowcountry fare on the menu and continues to be a haven for comfortable cuisine. Chefs Frank Lee and Russ Moore put out innovative plates with local produce, in addition to the familiar fare of yesteryear.

21. The Barbadoes Room Restaurant

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115 Meeting St
Charleston, SC 29401
Nestled in the Mills House Hotel, The Barbadoes Room has seen some changes since their opening in the 70s. Once a hotspot in the early days of Spoleto, the bar is a little quieter than it once was, but the updated restaurant menu utilizes local products to offer guests options like Joyce Farms crispy chicken livers or okra salad served with Battery Creek cheese. It offers so much more than the average hotel dining room.

22. The Boathouse at Breach Inlet

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101 Palm Blvd
Isle of Palms, SC 29451
(843) 886-8000
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The Boathouse rooftop bar has been the home to one of the best views of the water since 1997. Local seafood is the draw for many vacationers and beach bound locals. Take in the sights with the day's fresh catch and a glass of wine.

23. The Griffon Pub

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18 Vendue Range
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 723-1700
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The little dive bar near Waterfront Park started in 1996, which was also when the practice of stapling dollar bills to the wall began. The Griffon has deals on beer and some of the best fish and chips around. Go for a pint if you're near East Bay.

24. Saffron Cafe & Bakery

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333 E Bay St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 722-5588
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Saffron Cafe has served Charleston since 1986. The East Bay Street staple has a little bit of everything: breakfast, pastries, Mediterranean-influenced menu items, and hookahs on the patio.

25. Gene's Haufbrau

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817 Savannah Hwy
Charleston, SC 29407
(843) 225-4363
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Established in 1952, Gene's Haufbrau is the area's oldest bar still in operation. It's a dive with the standard selection of bar snacks, pool tables, and an extensive beer list with plenty of local selections on tap. Lots of character (and characters) in this establishment.

1. 82 Queen

82 Queen St, Charleston, SC 29401
Owner Steve Kish claims that 82 Queen, opened in 1982, was one of the first restaurants in Charleston to offer Lowcountry cuisine. It's certainly one of the oldest. The fine dining restaurant can still bring in over 300 covers a day and the old world patio remains a playground of twinkling lights for evening customers.
82 Queen St
Charleston, SC 29401

2. Bertha's Kitchen

2332 Meeting Street Rd, North Charleston, SC 29405-6114
Established in 1979, iconic soul food stop Bertha's Kitchen is known for their fried chicken and fish, and heralded for their Southern sides. Everyone from famous chefs and food writers to locals and tourists seems to make the trek to Bertha's to take in the now-famous dishes created by the late founder Albertha Grant.
2332 Meeting Street Rd
North Charleston, SC 29405-6114

3. Blind Tiger Pub

36 & 38 Broad St, Charleston, SC 29401
Housed in a building dating back to 1803, The Blind Tiger looks older than it actually is. The bar, started in the late 80s, has changed hands several times, but remains a gathering spot for Broad Street lawyers, history buffs, and returning College of Charleston students. It was once voted the bar where you're "Most Likely to Pick up a Republican."
36 & 38 Broad St
Charleston, SC 29401

4. Bowens Island Restaurant

1870 Bowens Island Rd, Charleston, SC 29412
Seafood shack Bowens Island has served up steaming oysters since 1946. The restaurant has survived fires, hurricanes, and changing tastes to remain a go-to for bivalve lovers seeking the smell of pluff mud while they slurp on fresh catches.
1870 Bowens Island Rd
Charleston, SC 29412

5. Charleston Grill

224 King St, Charleston, SC 29401
Charleston Grill is fine dining at its best. Located in the stunning Belmond Charleston Place, the Grill is home to one of the most elegant menus in Charleston. The seasonal menu has four categories: Pure, Southern, Cosmopolitan and Lush, but you can mix and match and create the perfect meal. Chef Michelle Weaver has been with the restaurant since 1997.
224 King St
Charleston, SC 29401

6. Dave's Carry Out

47 Morris St, Charleston, SC 29403
The little corner fish shack Dave’s Carry-Out is unassuming with their plastic tablecloths and styrofoam platters, but they have consistently served up big plates of fried fresh catches and fixin’s since 1987. The current address is their third location, but the shrimp platters and deviled crab recipes are the same.
47 Morris St
Charleston, SC 29403

7. Fulton Five

5 Fulton St, Charleston, SC 29401
Italian restaurant Fulton Five is consistently voted "Most Romantic" year after year. The slightly hidden entrance and intimate interiors of the restaurant (built in 1991) are a hit with locals and couples looking for a quiet date night.
5 Fulton St
Charleston, SC 29401

8. Gaulart & Maliclet French Café Fast and French Inc.

98 Broad St, Charleston, SC 29401
Gaulart & Maliclet, better known as Fast & French, transports patrons to Europe for less than $10 a plate. Choose the special of the day, and you'll be treated to a sandwich or light entrée with a soup, fresh fruit, and a glass of wine. The atmosphere of the cozy café has remained a mainstay on Broad Street since 1985.
98 Broad St
Charleston, SC 29401

9. Hank's Seafood

10 Hayne St, Charleston, SC 29401
The youngest restaurant on this list, Hank's Seafood opened in 1999 to critical acclaim. The menu serves classic, fresh from the ocean dishes, like Seafood a la Wando or curried shrimp, and traditional fried shrimp plates. Chef Frank McMahon sought to recreate Charleston fish houses of the past and succeeded with Hank's.
10 Hayne St
Charleston, SC 29401

10. Hannibal's Kitchen

16 Drake St, Charleston, SC 29403
Hannibal's Kitchen has served the Charleston community for over 40 years. The casual soul food restaurant is located on the Eastside of town, away from the normal tourist path, but locals know that this is the place to seek out for okra soup, shark steak, and a lima bean plate.
16 Drake St
Charleston, SC 29403

11. Henry's House

54 N Market St, Charleston, SC
The Henry's of today barely resembles the restaurant from 1930, but it's still worth a visit to see one of the original landmark restaurants of Charleston. Gone is the famous cheese spread recipe of the past, but some Lowcountry favorites, like crab cakes and she crab soup, remain.
54 N Market St
Charleston, SC

12. Hominy Grill

207 Rutledge Ave, Charleston, SC 29403
Hominy Grill is a must stop for tourists and locals alike, which is a rare achievement for a restaurant. Chef Robert Stehling opened the grit-serving eatery in 1996. Try the Charleston Nasty if you're there for brunch — the gravy-covered fried chicken biscuit is the definition of comfort food.
207 Rutledge Ave
Charleston, SC 29403

13. Hyman's Seafood

215 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401
Yes, Hyman's has gotten a bit of reputation as a "tourist only" place by locals, but they've served a consistent product since 1987. As Post and Courier stated in 2007, "Hyman's is part of Charleston as Charleston is part of Hyman's." Plus, where else are you going to send your great-Aunt when she comes to visit? She probably read about Hyman's at the airport.
215 Meeting St
Charleston, SC 29401

14. Magnolias

185 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401
East Bay eatery Magnolias welcomed guests in 1990 with nouveau-Lowcountry cuisine — something they dubbed "Uptown Down South." Dishes like boiled peanut hummus and collard green and tasso ham egg roll remain on the menu today. Current executive chef Don Drake has been with the restaurant since 1991.
185 E Bay St
Charleston, SC 29401

15. Marina Variety Store Restaurant

17 Lockwood Dr, Charleston, SC 29401
Marina Variety Store has the feeling of a roadside diner, but it happens to overlook the boats parked in the Ashley River. The coffee mugs are kitschy, the menus have facts about South Carolina, and they've served some of the same dishes since 1963. It's not avant-garde, but it is comfortable, like a favorite pair of boat shoes. Go for breakfast and grab a booth.
17 Lockwood Dr
Charleston, SC 29401

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16. Martha Lou's Kitchen

1068 Morrison Dr, Charleston, SC 29403
Since 1983, the tiny pink restaurant on Morrison Drive has been home to some of the best fried chicken in the South. Macaroni and cheese, collard greens, catfish … you name a true Southern comfort food and Martha Lou’s will probably have it. Wash it down with a glass of iced cold sweet tea for pure Southern bliss.
1068 Morrison Dr
Charleston, SC 29403

17. McCrady's

2 Unity Aly, Charleston, SC 29401
The legend of McCrady's is that George Washington once dined there. The McCrady's that we know today started more around 1999 with chef Micheal Kramer. In 2006, The Neighborhood Dining Group took over and chef Sean Brock built the fine dining reputation seen today. The luxurious, dark wood space is worth a visit alone — but you really should stay for the food.
2 Unity Aly
Charleston, SC 29401

18. Peninsula Grill

112 N Market St, Charleston, SC 29401
Dining at the Peninsula Grill is a special, opulent experience. Jackets are preferred in the velvet-lined dining room, but not required to indulge in the classics from chef Graham Dailey. If you simply want to dip your toe in luxury, before diving in, stop by the champagne bar for a slice of their world-famous coconut cake. Peninsula Grill joined the dining scene in 1997.
112 N Market St
Charleston, SC 29401

19. Poogan's Porch

72 Queen St., Charleston, SC 29401