Charleston-area restaurant openings are starting to slow to an almost manageable pace, mostly for reasons that are causing agita for the local food-and-beverage sector: Rents are high, prospective employees are scarce and competition is close to cutthroat.
But the upshot for visitors is it’s easier to catch up on everything that has transpired since the close of the 2019 festival. The following restaurants, listed roughly in order of priority for culinary tourists with a limited number of meal slots, are all still shy of their one-year anniversaries. Still, all of them make up for what they lack in age with deliciousness aplenty. Have fun.
Delaney Oyster House
Shamil Velazquez last week was named a Best Chef Southeast semifinalist by the James Beard Foundation for the wonders he’s worked with seafood at the latest restaurant from Neighborhood Dining Group (Husk, Minero).
The owners of the star-crossed Cannon Green re-conceived their fetching Spring Street space as a tasting menu parlor, featuring drinks and dishes invigorated by a surprising amount of good humor.
Vandy Vanderwarker, formerly of The Ordinary, struck out on his own last year; fortunately for eaters infatuated with bistro cooking, he brought along his mastery of classical technique.
Shuai and Corrie Wang of the much-beloved Short Grain Food Truck roamed around town in pop-up mode before settling down in Park Circle with a menu of comforting Chinese-American dishes that reference Shuai Wang’s childhood.
It’s not a short drive out to Kiawah, but it’s quite possibly one worth taking for this fried chicken and soft-serve ice cream.
The second location of an esteemed Washington, D.C., tapas bar, Estadio Charleston has assembled a crew of local talents to interpret its offerings for the Lowcountry, including Alex Lira, late of Bar Normandy, and Brandon Underwood, last at Renzo.
Officially, VIP opened prior to last year’s Wine + Food Festival, but you may not have gone looking for its shrimp-and-grits because Hominy Grill was still open then.
Big Bad Breakfast
Like Estadio, Big Breakfast isn’t unique to Charleston: John Currence has opened locations of his popular breakfast chain across the South. But like VIP Bistro, it’s assumed tremendous local importance in a Hominy Grill-less landscape.
Same popular place, brand new location. The no-reservations seafood joint earlier this year moved into a much bigger space on King Street. Just look for the lines.