Q: Hi Hanna. I have family coming into town to visit. They love to eat weird and new things (to excess) and are hard to impress. Reading your article about the new offerings at The Joe this season got me thinking that maybe you would know of local restaurants that could impress my family with offerings that are sort of “over the top” such as fried shrimp-and-grits-on-a-stick rather than the fine, artisanal food that is in such an abundance.
A: Ah, the downside of living in a dining mecca. Sometimes you just want something deep-fried on a stick.
Novelty food isn’t really the area’s forte, but there’s an array of brow-raising, artery-challenging items on the menu at Fill, Mount Pleasant’s new piano bar, including deep-fried bacon croissants and cinnamon roll waffles. You also could try the new Charleston Bird food truck in Mount Pleasant, which serves huge fried chicken sandwiches topped with mashed potatoes and gravy, plus pickle sauce and pimento cheese. The Bac’n Me Crazy food truck often has extravagant concoctions on its menu, too.
Are doughnuts too tame? Glazed’s current lineup includes a caramel corn bar (just like a longjohn, but stuffed with popcorn cream and topped with caramel corn), doughnuts topped with rice pudding and a Monte Cristo of ham, cheese and jam bookended by glazed doughnut halves.
If your relatives stay up late, you could try Tricera Coffee: The King Street coffee shop last month introduced a weekend menu featuring dishes delicately described as “new and creative fare.” In practice, that means bagelnini (just like panini, but made with bagels) and bacon cheeseburgers sandwiched between doughnuts.
Your best bet might be Acme Lowcountry Kitchen on the Isle of Palms, which serves at least a dozen different kinds of shrimp-and-grits, all of which are made with local shrimp. The varieties I’ve tried strike a nice balance between madcap and delicious.
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