Uneeda cheese pizza.jpg

Cheese pizza at Uneeda Sicilian at Rutledge Avenue and Huger Street in Charleston on Thursday, August 30, 2018. Wade Spees/Staff

The boxes have been flattened, the welcome mat has been placed outside the door and the keys are in your hand. Congrats on the move to Charleston, we're happy to have you in the Palmetto State. 

There's a lot of novelty and nostalgia in one of America's most historic cities, and the restaurants and bars are no exception. We want to make you feel like a local in rapid time. 

Full disclosure, I moved here in March. But with the help of the veteran writers and foodies at The Post and Courier, I've found some spots in the Upper King Street area that have made me feel like a life-long resident.

These are the essentials any new renter or homeowner needs: pizza, brunch, a date spot, etc. Some of these are unassuming, some of them are bold, but all of them are delicious. And even if you've lived here your whole life, you might make one of these spots your new haunt. 

Welcome to the peninsula, we hope y'all stick around awhile.  

Pizza Spot: Uneeda Sicilian

Where: 624-1/2 Rutledge Ave.

When: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday through Sunday. 

Why: Sicilian pizza is like walking a tightrope: Too much sauce can tip the flavor scale. Turns out, their employees know the perfect balance. With toppings such as Italian sausage and broccoli rabe, it's the perfect mix of savory while still leaving you stuffed on thick chunks of dough and cheese. 

What you're ordering: The two cheese slices for $5 or an entire sweet onion and rabe pizza to take back to your new digs for $28. 

Soul Food

Dave's Carry-out at 42 Morris Street in downtown Charleston. Wade Spees/Staff Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Takeout: Dave's Carry-Out 

Where: 42 Morris St., No. C

When: 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday. 

Why: This is a hidden gem, a local's locale. It's seafood served unpretentiously in a foam container. Follow the smell of fried shrimp wafting in the air to the pastel blue building. There are only two card tables to sit at, but that doesn't matter. Place your order by phone, walk up 20 minutes later and grab your bag of deep-fried golden treasure. The scallops are perfectly cooked, not too mushy and not too crispy, and the stuffed devil crab packs the perfect punch. 

What you're ordering: The Seafood platter: fried shrimp, fish, scallops and devil crab for $14. 

A look at Harold's Cabin (copy)

Harold's Cabin is now open at the corner of President and Congress Streets. Wade Spees/Staff Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Weekend Brunch: Harold's Cabin 

Where: 247 Congress St.

When: 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 

Why: This isn't your grandfather's cabin. It's eclectic, with a comforting garden and even a live beehive on the roof. It is hipster yet Southern, comforting yet unique and provides classic Lowcountry breakfast staples without making your blood pressure spike. 

What you're ordering: The pimento cheese biscuit and a cinnamon cold brew for $10. 

Work Lunch: Eastside Bagel 

Where: 8 Line St., No. D

When: 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Sunday. 

Why: Starting a new job isn't easy. Sometimes you're working on a deadline and don't have a ton of time for lunch. Eastside Bagel is quick and has mastered the art of the made-to-order sandwich without compromising an ounce of taste. This Midwest-inspired sandwich shop fits right in with its charming, tucked away building among Charleston-style shotgun homes. 

What you're ordering: The Oxford, of course. It's turkey, lettuce, American cheese and house mayo or mustard on a plain bagel. Best part? It's $5. 

Barsa Restaurant

Seafood paella at Barsa restaurant on Line Street at King. Wade Spees/Staff Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Date Spot: Barsa Tapas Lounge & Bar

Where: 630 King St.

When: Noon-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; noon-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. 

Why: A string-lit patio is the perfect backdrop to a romantic evening with your partner. The tapas are made for sharing and provide an intimate moment when dining out. Also, the Spanish-inspired cuisine is marvelous. Barsa's paella, cooked for 30 minutes at least to create a small layer of char for flavor, steals the show. 

What you're ordering: A medium order of the chicken and chorizo paella for $32 as well as a bottle of wine to split. It's time to celebrate your new hometown.

Reach Thomas Novelly at 843-937-5715. Follow him @TomNovelly on Twitter. 

Thomas Novelly reports on crime, growth and development as well as military issues in Berkeley and Dorchester counties. Previously, he was a reporter at the Courier Journal in Louisville, Kentucky. He is a fan of Southern rock, bourbon and horse racing.