Salty Mike’s an underappreciated hangout

Rob Young Roast beef club sandwich from Salty Mike’s.

Much praise is given to the Marina Variety Store Restaurant by the Charleston City Marina. And for good reason; it’s a Charleston landmark serving (a darn good) breakfast, lunch and dinner since 1963.

But perhaps underappreciated is MVSR’s little brother: Salty Mike’s Deck Bar, a favorite of fishermen, college kids and locals alike.

A noontime lunch may not be in the offing here, but you can certainly grab a late bite. The abridged menu contains items from MVSR.

Now upstairs at the Variety Store, you can order Sunday brunch, she-crab soup and shellfish chowder, or a number of seafood platters such as scallops, crunchy flounder filet and shrimp and sausage jambalaya.

But on the deck below at Salty Mike’s, the choices play to the bar crowd, including chicken tenders, pimiento cheese dip, quesadillas, club sandwiches and juicy burgers.

And impressive burgers ($6.95) they build, each clocking in at a beefy half-pound, colored with ripe lettuce and tomato and large, crinkle-cut, dill pickles on a big, soft bun.

Also worth eating: the bar’s housemade pimiento cheese sandwiches ($5.95), and its killer club sandwiches ($6.95), cut into triangles and layered with lettuce, tomato, onion, plus ham, turkey or roast beef.

Sure, the restaurant’s manual system – staff has to run orders upstairs to the Marina Variety’s kitchen – slows service during peak hours. But it is undoubtedly sincere, as bartenders scramble to sling Natty Light and PBR specials, and distribute hamburgers and popcorn shrimp in Styrofoam containers.

And maybe that just means more time to enjoy the open air, a game of pool and a seascape look at the Ashley River and Charleston City Marina.