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Softie on a doughnut
Bar George

The Ultimate Guide to Finding Soft Shells in Charleston, 2021

An extensive list of every restaurant offering the seasonal softie

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Softie on a doughnut
| Bar George

Soft shell season is finally upon the Lowcountry. Charleston residents and visitors go absolutely mad for softies each year, whether they be fried, pan seared, or on a sandwich with bacon, lettuce, and tomato. As the short-season delicacy makes it to local restaurant menus, we’ll put them on this map, along with a description of the dish. These specials won’t last for very long, so double check with the eatery to see if they’ve sold out. Go forth and crunch into a few crabs around town — legs and all.

Serving softies? Send a note to carolinas@eater.com; Eater will periodically update this guide throughout the season.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Fat Hen

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3140 Maybank Hwy
Johns Island, SC 29455
(843) 559-9090
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Chef Fred Neuville will sauté a soft shell for you at the Fat Hen.

Fat Hen/Facebook

2. The Royal Tern

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3005 Maybank Hwy
Johns Island, SC 29455
(843) 718-3434
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Johns Island seafood eatery Royal Tern has a fried softie with snow peas, peppers, onions, and a ginger garlic sauce.

3. Bar George

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1956 Maybank Hwy UNIT E
Charleston, SC 29412
(843) 793-2231
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Hip James Island bar/restaurant Bar George has its supply of softies in. Look for the crabs served pan fried with rouille, broiled asparagus, and a splash of lemon. The kitchen also makes a sandwich with softies on a sourdough doughnut with rouille, spring onion, and lettuce.

4. Jackrabbit Filly

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4628 Spruill Ave #101
North Charleston, SC 29405
(843) 460-0037
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Jackrabbit Filly offers a tempura soft shell crab served on fried rice with short grain rice, Sea Island red peas, local green tomatoes, sweet soy, peanuts, and crispy shallots. 

5. Florence's Lowcountry Kitchen

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90 Folly Rd Blvd Suite B-4
Charleston, SC 29407
(843) 507-8285
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Florence’s Lowcountry Kitchen serves a buttermilk-fried crab, with tomato, lettuce, and lemon dill aioli on a brioche bun, served with slaw and red rice.

6. Rebel Taqueria

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1809 Reynolds Ave
North Charleston, SC 29405
(843) 619-0104
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Rebel Taqueria puts its deep-fried sofites in a taco with crema and slaw.

7. Gillie's Seafood

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805 Folly Rd
Charleston, SC 29412
(843) 297-8615
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Soul food spot Gillie’s announced that it has soft shell crabs.

8. Bohemian Bull

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1531 Folly Rd
James Island, SC 29412
(843) 225-1817
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Burger spot Bohemian Bull has a fried soft shell crab with a roasted garlic aioli, arugula, and fried green tomatoes served on a toasted sesame bun.

9. Edmund's Oast Brewing Co.

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1505 King St #115
Charleston, SC 29405
(843) 718-3224
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Instead of beef patties, Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co. uses soft shell crabs in its ode to the McDonald’s Big Mac with special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun. 

10. Estadio

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122 Spring St
Charleston, SC 29403

Tapas restaurant Estadio offers a softie on the menu.

Estadio Robert Donovan

11. Xiao Bao Biscuit

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224 Rutledge Ave
Charleston, SC 29403

Asian comfort food spot Xiao Bao Biscuit plates up springtime softies.

Xiao Bao Biscuit
Xiao Bao Biscuit
Xiao Bao Biscuit

12. Home Team BBQ

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126 Williman St
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 225-7427
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Home Team serves a softie on a Hawaiian bun with red chili remoulade with tomato and lettuce.

13. Bistronomy By Nico

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64 Spring St
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 410-6221
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French/Asian restaurant Bistronomy has a softie with sambal and lemongrass ratatouille.

14. Pink Bellies

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595 King St Suite 1
Charleston, SC 29403

Open Thursday through Sunday for takeout, Pink Bellies offers a soft shell bun mi served on a house-made milk bun, shrimp pate, tartar sauce, bread and butter pickles, and dill.

15. The Grocery

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4 Cannon St
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 302-8825
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The Grocery is the king of the soft shell preparation. There’s sandwiches, plus the three-way set up that the restaurant is known for.

16. Felix Cocktails et Cuisine

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550 King St #100
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 203-6297
Visit Website

French restaurant Félix currently offers a buttermilk-fried soft shell crab from Abundant Seafood. The special changes daily. Yesterday, the lunch special came with lemon herb aioli, arugula, and tomato on a toasted bun, with a side of truffle fries.

17. The Ordinary

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544 King St
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 414-7060
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Oyster emporium the Ordinary serves a softie with ramp scampi, celery root, and capers.

The Ordinary
The Ordinary
Audra Rhodes

18. Indaco

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526 King St
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 727-1228
Visit Website

Italian eatery Indaco serves a crispy softie with black maltagliati pasta, Calabrian chili, Castelvetrano olive, caper, lemon, and basil.

Indaco (not the location of the ramen)
Indaco
Provided

19. The Darling Oyster Bar

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513 King St
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 641-0821
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Popular King Street eatery the Darling has its shipment of softies.

The Darling
The Darling
Erin Perkins

20. Halls Chophouse

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434 King St
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 727-0090
Visit Website

There have been reports of soft shell sandwiches at fancy steakhouse Halls.

21. Le Farfalle

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15 Beaufain St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 212-0920
Visit Website

Italian restaurant Le Farfalle offers a fried soft shell with a broccoli rabe panzanella, spring onion, and tomato vinaigrette.

Le Farfalle Brian Stetson

22. Charleston Grill

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224 King St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 577-4522
Visit Website

At Charleston Grill, the kitchen fries the seasonal delicacy in a light batter made with Pellegrino and espelette pepper, then they serve it with ramps and sea beans, dressing it with a sauce made from brown butter.

charleston grill

23. Delaney Oyster House

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115 Calhoun St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 594-0099
Visit Website

At high-end fish house Delaney, there’s a honey walnut soft shell crab on the menu with grilled broccolini, sour garlic, and orange.

 

24. FIG

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232 Meeting St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 805-5900
Visit Website

At fine dining restaurant FIG, soft shell crabs are sautéed with turnip velouté, asparagus, and grenobloise.

25. Cru Cafe

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18 Pinckney St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 534-2434
Visit Website

Southern restaurant Cru Cafe features buttermilk-fried soft shell with a warm vichyssoise and a blistered heirloom cherry tomato salad with arugula, red onions, and charred corn tossed in a basil dressing.

26. Slightly North of Broad Restaurant

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192 E Bay St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 723-3424
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Classic restaurant SNOB serves fried soft shell crabs with curried butter beans, kale, tomato, and Carolina Gold rice middlings.

27. Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar

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186 Concord St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 722-8100
Visit Website

The softie BLT is back at Fleet Landing. There’s views of the water and a crunchy crab here.

28. The Kingstide

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32 River Landing Dr
Daniel Island, SC 29492
(843) 216-3832
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The soft shell at the Kingstide is served with Vietnamese salsa verde and chorizo carrots.

29. Nico | Oysters + Seafood

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201 Coleman Blvd
Mt Pleasant, SC 29464
(843) 352-7969
Visit Website

Of course Mount Pleasant seafood restaurant Nico has soft shell crabs. These guys are served in a sandwich.

Nico/Facebook

30. Kanpai Japanese Restaurant

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1035 Johnnie Dodds Blvd suite b-9
Mt Pleasant, SC 29464
(843) 388-8001
Visit Website

Sushi restaurant Kanpai has its shipment of soft shells.

31. High Thyme Cuisine

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2213 Middle St C
Sullivan's Island, SC 29482
(843) 883-3536
Visit Website

Sullivan’s Island eatery High Thyme serves soft shell crab over corn and an arugula salad.

32. Savi Cucina + Wine Bar

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1324 Theater Dr
Mt Pleasant, SC 29464
(843) 606-1856
Visit Website

Italian eater Savi Cucina + Wine Bar has its supply of soft shell crabs.

33. Pier 41

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1039 SC-41
Mt Pleasant, SC 29466
(843) 388-4229
Visit Website

At Pier 41, chef Brannon Florie tempura fries the soft shell crab and serves it with coconut red curry, boiled peanuts, broccoli, fingerling potatoes, Thai basil, and cilantro. 

1. Fat Hen

3140 Maybank Hwy, Johns Island, SC 29455
Fat Hen/Facebook

Chef Fred Neuville will sauté a soft shell for you at the Fat Hen.

3140 Maybank Hwy
Johns Island, SC 29455

2. The Royal Tern

3005 Maybank Hwy, Johns Island, SC 29455

Johns Island seafood eatery Royal Tern has a fried softie with snow peas, peppers, onions, and a ginger garlic sauce.

3005 Maybank Hwy
Johns Island, SC 29455

3. Bar George

1956 Maybank Hwy UNIT E, Charleston, SC 29412

Hip James Island bar/restaurant Bar George has its supply of softies in. Look for the crabs served pan fried with rouille, broiled asparagus, and a splash of lemon. The kitchen also makes a sandwich with softies on a sourdough doughnut with rouille, spring onion, and lettuce.

1956 Maybank Hwy UNIT E
Charleston, SC 29412

4. Jackrabbit Filly

4628 Spruill Ave #101, North Charleston, SC 29405

Jackrabbit Filly offers a tempura soft shell crab served on fried rice with short grain rice, Sea Island red peas, local green tomatoes, sweet soy, peanuts, and crispy shallots. 

4628 Spruill Ave #101
North Charleston, SC 29405

5. Florence's Lowcountry Kitchen

90 Folly Rd Blvd Suite B-4, Charleston, SC 29407

Florence’s Lowcountry Kitchen serves a buttermilk-fried crab, with tomato, lettuce, and lemon dill aioli on a brioche bun, served with slaw and red rice.

90 Folly Rd Blvd Suite B-4
Charleston, SC 29407

6. Rebel Taqueria

1809 Reynolds Ave, North Charleston, SC 29405

Rebel Taqueria puts its deep-fried sofites in a taco with crema and slaw.

1809 Reynolds Ave
North Charleston, SC 29405

7. Gillie's Seafood

805 Folly Rd, Charleston, SC 29412

Soul food spot Gillie’s announced that it has soft shell crabs.

805 Folly Rd
Charleston, SC 29412

8. Bohemian Bull

1531 Folly Rd, James Island, SC 29412

Burger spot Bohemian Bull has a fried soft shell crab with a roasted garlic aioli, arugula, and fried green tomatoes served on a toasted sesame bun.

1531 Folly Rd
James Island, SC 29412

9. Edmund's Oast Brewing Co.

1505 King St #115, Charleston, SC 29405

Instead of beef patties, Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co. uses soft shell crabs in its ode to the McDonald’s Big Mac with special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun. 

1505 King St #115
Charleston, SC 29405

10. Estadio

122 Spring St, Charleston, SC 29403
Estadio Robert Donovan

Tapas restaurant Estadio offers a softie on the menu.

122 Spring St
Charleston, SC 29403

11. Xiao Bao Biscuit

224 Rutledge Ave, Charleston, SC 29403
Xiao Bao Biscuit
Xiao Bao Biscuit
Xiao Bao Biscuit

Asian comfort food spot Xiao Bao Biscuit plates up springtime softies.

224 Rutledge Ave
Charleston, SC 29403

12. Home Team BBQ

126 Williman St, Charleston, SC 29403

Home Team serves a softie on a Hawaiian bun with red chili remoulade with tomato and lettuce.

126 Williman St
Charleston, SC 29403

13. Bistronomy By Nico

64 Spring St, Charleston, SC 29403

French/Asian restaurant Bistronomy has a softie with sambal and lemongrass ratatouille.

64 Spring St
Charleston, SC 29403

14. Pink Bellies

595 King St Suite 1, Charleston, SC 29403

Open Thursday through Sunday for takeout, Pink Bellies offers a soft shell bun mi served on a house-made milk bun, shrimp pate, tartar sauce, bread and butter pickles, and dill.

595 King St Suite 1
Charleston, SC 29403

15. The Grocery

4 Cannon St, Charleston, SC 29403

The Grocery is the king of the soft shell preparation. There’s sandwiches, plus the three-way set up that the restaurant is known for.

4 Cannon St
Charleston, SC 29403

Related Maps

16. Felix Cocktails et Cuisine

550 King St #100, Charleston, SC 29403

French restaurant Félix currently offers a buttermilk-fried soft shell crab from Abundant Seafood. The special changes daily. Yesterday, the lunch special came with lemon herb aioli, arugula, and tomato on a toasted bun, with a side of truffle fries.

550 King St #100
Charleston, SC 29403

17. The Ordinary

544 King St, Charleston, SC 29403
The Ordinary
The Ordinary
Audra Rhodes

Oyster emporium the Ordinary serves a softie with ramp scampi, celery root, and capers.

544 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

18. Indaco

526 King St, Charleston, SC 29403
Indaco (not the location of the ramen)
Indaco
Provided

Italian eatery Indaco serves a crispy softie with black maltagliati pasta, Calabrian chili, Castelvetrano olive, caper, lemon, and basil.

526 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

19. The Darling Oyster Bar

513 King St, Charleston, SC 29403
The Darling
The Darling
Erin Perkins

Popular King Street eatery the Darling has its shipment of softies.

513 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

20. Halls Chophouse

434 King St, Charleston, SC 29403

There have been reports of soft shell sandwiches at fancy steakhouse Halls.

434 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

21. Le Farfalle

15 Beaufain St, Charleston, SC 29401
Le Farfalle Brian Stetson

Italian restaurant Le Farfalle offers a fried soft shell with a broccoli rabe panzanella, spring onion, and tomato vinaigrette.

15 Beaufain St
Charleston, SC 29401

22. Charleston Grill

224 King St, Charleston, SC 29401
charleston grill

At Charleston Grill, the kitchen fries the seasonal delicacy in a light batter made with Pellegrino and espelette pepper, then they serve it with ramps and sea beans, dressing it with a sauce made from brown butter.

224 King St
Charleston, SC 29401

23. Delaney Oyster House

115 Calhoun St, Charleston, SC 29401

At high-end fish house Delaney, there’s a honey walnut soft shell crab on the menu with grilled broccolini, sour garlic, and orange.

 

115 Calhoun St
Charleston, SC 29401

24. FIG

232 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401

At fine dining restaurant FIG, soft shell crabs are sautéed with turnip velouté, asparagus, and grenobloise.

232 Meeting St
Charleston, SC 29401

25. Cru Cafe

18 Pinckney St, Charleston, SC 29401

Southern restaurant Cru Cafe features buttermilk-fried soft shell with a warm vichyssoise and a blistered heirloom cherry tomato salad with arugula, red onions, and charred corn tossed in a basil dressing.

18 Pinckney St
Charleston, SC 29401

26. Slightly North of Broad Restaurant

192 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401

Classic restaurant SNOB serves fried soft shell crabs with curried butter beans, kale, tomato, and Carolina Gold rice middlings.

192 E Bay St
Charleston, SC 29401

27. Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar

186 Concord St, Charleston, SC 29401

The softie BLT is back at Fleet Landing. There’s views of the water and a crunchy crab here.

186 Concord St
Charleston, SC 29401

28. The Kingstide

32 River Landing Dr, Daniel Island, SC 29492

The soft shell at the Kingstide is served with Vietnamese salsa verde and chorizo carrots.

32 River Landing Dr
Daniel Island, SC 29492

29. Nico | Oysters + Seafood

201 Coleman Blvd, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464
Nico/Facebook

Of course Mount Pleasant seafood restaurant Nico has soft shell crabs. These guys are served in a sandwich.

201 Coleman Blvd
Mt Pleasant, SC 29464

30. Kanpai Japanese Restaurant

1035 Johnnie Dodds Blvd suite b-9, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464

Sushi restaurant Kanpai has its shipment of soft shells.

1035 Johnnie Dodds Blvd suite b-9
Mt Pleasant, SC 29464

31. High Thyme Cuisine

2213 Middle St C, Sullivan's Island, SC 29482

Sullivan’s Island eatery High Thyme serves soft shell crab over corn and an arugula salad.

2213 Middle St C
Sullivan's Island, SC 29482

32. Savi Cucina + Wine Bar

1324 Theater Dr, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464

Italian eater Savi Cucina + Wine Bar has its supply of soft shell crabs.

1324 Theater Dr
Mt Pleasant, SC 29464

33. Pier 41

1039 SC-41, Mt Pleasant, SC 29466

At Pier 41, chef Brannon Florie tempura fries the soft shell crab and serves it with coconut red curry, boiled peanuts, broccoli, fingerling potatoes, Thai basil, and cilantro. 

1039 SC-41
Mt Pleasant, SC 29466

Related Maps