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LOCAL Bites

JACK HURLEY, LINKING THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT, CLASSIC AMERICAN FOOD, AND THE MODERN PALATE

on Tuesday, 16 October 2012. Posted in LOCAL Bites, Personalities, Magazine, Follow This!, Eat This Fall! 2012

By: Kathleen Curry

 

jack headThe US fast food market wasn't always dominated by national franchises. If you were born in the 1960s or later, like yours truly, you haven't known it any other way. On a local scale, Jack Hurley of Jack's Cosmic Dogs (JCD) is determined to change that. 

 

Originally from Burlington, Vermont, Hurley has linked fixtures of his youth to the present for 11 with a hotdog stand and its ever-evolving menu. The original location is on Hwy 17 North, the other two are on Folly Road and Hwy 61. In 1991, Hurley moved to the Isle of Palms with his wife Priscilla, and sons Morgan and Skylar. Something sparked when he saw a roadside building off Highway 17 North."If a place ever looked like a hot dog joint, that was it." Its menu would feature homemade chili, freshly made coleslaw, longneck Nehi soda, hand-cut fries, soft serve ice cream, shakes, malts, moon pies, and draft root beer, in addition to hotdogs. Its interior would be a bright cheery diner with booths and two-seater tables, and wacky antiques from Hurley's personal collection, like a robot, a plastic tea set chandelier, a kids go cart, and rockets are inside and outside.  On another wall, next to a framed and autographed copy of a Men’s Journal article about JCD (more on that later), there’s a framed 1970 program for William & Mary Football team. Hurley played offensive end; he was coached there by the young Lou Holtz, Marv Levy, & Bobby Ross. ‘Years later, Hurley got a photo with Holtz, and Holtz autographed the program.  ‘Does Hurley see parallels between sports and entrepreneurship? He says, “Competitive sports develops a great work ethic, makes you want to win, and you develop ease with working all types of people to get that win.”  Outside, there’s a JCD authentic airstream trailer with rockets on top; it is used for catering events. Inside and out, the whole package blends well with a retro-style logo designed by Gil Shuler and animated hotdog paintings by Mario Valdes. 

Triangle Char and Bar: Try Finding a Spot, Then Try Everything

on Tuesday, 16 October 2012. Posted in LOCAL Bites, Magazine, Restaurant Spotlight, Eat This Fall! 2012

   tri3It’s tough to find parking in the Avondale district.  It just is.  An unfortunate truth, but it speaks to the vibrant nature of the area.  Few places on the Charleston map jam together such an eclectic mix of styles and tastes in a two-block radius, and right smack-dab in the middle you will find perhaps the most famous former gas station in West Ashley.

A year and a half ago, I was at Triangle Char and Bar, fulfilling an annual bucket list.  I have to make it at least once a year to that bustling outdoor café area for drinks and heavy hors d’oeuvres (kinda like urban tailgating).  The thing is, I never thought twice about returning with any more frequency than that, as Avondale Station (an avant-garde Cuban experiment) and a prototypical version of Triangle didn’t ask me to come back anytime soon as a result of some previous experiences.  

How Great Thou Art; James Island’s cozy little room

on Wednesday, 15 August 2012. Posted in LOCAL Bites, Magazine, From the Cellar, Dine or Dash, Eat This! Summer 2012

 

By Patrick Graham

 

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When I arrived on James Island in the summer of 1999, my first residence was just down the street from the Terrace Plaza in the 1900 block of Maybank Highway.  For a little while, I was frequenting this mini-shopping center for its ubiquitous laundromat that seemed to consume all of us washer & dryer have-nots in the area, but I always found the rest of the square to be a curious oddity, one laden with culture in the midst of a community that was evolving from a backwater suburb to one of the more desirable locales in the area.  The little art theater and an upscale furniture store anchored the place, and soon the other storefronts began to reflect the spirit of sophistication that was beginning to permeate the island’s western end.

 

Dog Days, Vol. III: A.W. Dawgs

on Wednesday, 15 August 2012. Posted in LOCAL Bites, Magazine, Follow This!, Eat This! Summer 2012

By Patrick Graham

 

awd25I have never been a little brother.  I am the elder of my parents’ two children, and I have known many little brothers.  In my experience, it is not uncommon for the younger of the two to strike out on his own and strive to be nothing like his senior sibling, especially after taking a crack at emulating that big brother as a result of an innate sense of reverence.  Few role models present themselves as easily or more prominently early on in a boy’s life.

 

Such may be the case for the relationship between A.W. Dawgs and A.W. Shuck’s.  If you’ve been in downtown Charleston’s Market area for more than a half an hour, you probably know about A.W. Shuck’s.  The catchy name and better-than-average reviews have helped tourists find the usual sought-after seafood plates and plentiful outdoor seating, and the locals have been coming around for more than thirty years.  But just last month, the raw bar that included the storefront at 70 State Street was converted into a hot dog joint, and thus the transformation of the rebellious little brother was realized.

Sushi at New Heights in Mount Pleasant at Fuji Sushi Bar & Grill

on Wednesday, 15 August 2012. Posted in LOCAL Bites, Magazine, Restaurant Spotlight, Do This!, Eat This! Summer 2012

By: Robin Riebman

 

photo 1-7Inventive dishes and fabulous service set Fuji Sushi Bar and Grill, in Mount Pleasant, apart from your average sushi bar.

 

After winding my way through a maze of a shopping center and walking through a small jumble of outdoor tables, I was caught off guard by the relatively chic décor inside Fuji Sushi. The majority of the surfaces are dark lacquered wood and the windows are covered with wooden screens and bamboo shades, yet the room seems light and cheery. The wooden shelves behind the bar create an attractive display for the generous selection of sake, wine and liquor. For sports fans or current Olympic junkies, the dining area and bar each have a flat screen TV, strategically placed in opposite corners of the restaurant. The atmosphere is casual enough for a quick lunch break, and classy enough to feel special on date night.

 

Dog Days, Vol. II: Perfectly Franks

on Wednesday, 25 July 2012. Posted in LOCAL Bites, Magazine, Follow This!, Eat This! Summer 2012

PF12Dog Days.  The name is derived from the lingering appearance of the brightest star in the night skies of summer.  Sirius, the main attraction in the constellation Canis Major, or Big Dog, is a prominent throughout the days of June, July, and August.  It’s no coincidence that the hot dog gets a special place on summertime tables.  As cuisine has evolved to a high level in the Lowcountry, so has the hot dog.  I present you EatThisCharleston.com’s Dog Show.

 

Dog Days, Vol. II: Perfectly Franks

 

By Patrick Graham

 

Summerville is a bit off the beaten path for most people in the metro area, and it's not uncommon for me to have issues with a city's layout if I haven't been there that many times.  It's my own fault, as the Ville isn't that far, it has a cute little downtown, and it contains many little gems for one to discover if you look hard enough.  Perfectly Franks is one of those gems, and the layout issue I was alluding to is the "parking lot" along North Main.  Regulars of this famed hot dog joint are figuratively pointing and laughing at me right now, and some are actually pointing at their computer monitors or smartphones and laughing at their screen.  The stack of cars begins right in front of PF's main entrance and continues up the main drag, and as popular as this place is, I knew that an open 8 x 16 foot box of asphalt was going to be a bit of a challenge, even on an off Tuesday.  I eventually beat the odds and landed a spot directly in front of one of the most popular eateries in Dorchester County (my mother has "parking karma"...sometimes it works for me).

Dog Days, Vol. I: Skoogie’s Chicago Style Deli

on Friday, 13 July 2012. Posted in LOCAL Bites, Magazine, Restaurant Spotlight, Follow This!, Eat This! Summer 2012

skoodogedited

Dog Days.  The name is derived from the lingering appearance of the brightest star in the night skies of summer.  Sirius, the main attraction in the constellation Canis Major, or Big Dog, is prominent throughout the days of June, July, and August.  It’s no coincidence that the hot dog gets a special place on summertime tables.  As cuisine has evolved to a high level in the Lowcountry, so has the hot dog.  I present you EatThisCharleston.com’s Dog Show.


By Patrick Graham

 

If there is one thing that the Second City brings to the dinner table every night, it’s delicious (albeit unhealthy) food.  Deep dish pizza may be the healthiest thing that Chicagoland can offer in the sense that it contains all four food groups if you play your cards right.  Sausage and its brethren with the last name of “Wurst” are popular items in the meat group in northern Illinois, so the fact that the area boasts a good hot dog or two should not be a surprise.  Skoogie’s Chicago Style Deli on Coleman Boulevard has brought Polish sausage and geographically

correct hot dog preparations to Mount Pleasant for a couple of generations now.

THE COASTAL CUPBOARD, WHERE THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHING COOKING…

on Tuesday, 10 July 2012. Posted in LOCAL Bites, Magazine, Follow This!, Eat This! Summer 2012

By: Kathleen Curry

IMG 1279When a local business becomes an indelible part of its community pretty quickly, it can be hard to look back and think they’re only 7 years old; it can be even harder to think how you all got along before they arrived.  This is the story of the Coastal Cupboard (CC), a kitchen supply store and cooking workshop in Belle Hall Shopping Center, off Long Point Road in Mount Pleasant.  I would be sorely missing out if I didn’t check in with them every couple weeks just to see well-designed, hard to find gadgets and décor my kitchen or a loved one’s kitchen may be missing.

 

What’s Behind Door #2?

on Thursday, 21 June 2012. Posted in LOCAL Bites, Magazine, Restaurant Spotlight, Eat This! Summer 2012

Chef Ben Berryhill’s Next Door: Different Address, Same Expertise

By Patrick Graham

5People read restaurant reviews so they can make an informed decision on whether or not they want to take a chance on an establishment that they have never laid eyes on or just driven past.  They also read because they want to solidify an opinion that they have obtained by word of mouth from their contemporaries.  Furthermore, they read because they just like hearing about good food.

 

Callie’s Biscuits Rise to Fame

on Thursday, 07 June 2012. Posted in LOCAL Bites, Magazine, Eat This! Summer 2012

By: Kathleen Curry

instore-034638Biscuits. They’re a quintessentially American quick bread. They have a handful of basic ingredients, embodying just how simple delicious can be.  Ironically, they are not quick or easy to master for light, fluffy, melt in your mouth results; it takes a practiced hand. Like other Lowcountry lost arts, Sweetgrass baskets and wrought iron gates, for example, those with “practiced hands” have a way of making their craft look easy.  Callie White is among them; she grew up making biscuits several times a day in a family of native South Carolinians. With her daughter , Carrie Bailey-Morey at the helm, they are keeping this family tradition strong and very much alive, while making it easier than ever for everyday overscheduled families to enjoy them too.

Chowing with the Dead at Cha Cha's

on Wednesday, 06 June 2012. Posted in LOCAL Bites, Magazine, Restaurant Spotlight, Eat This! Summer 2012

By: Antonia M. Krenza

     I am going on a much anticipated girls weekend trip in mid-July and decided to go on a bit of a 6 week pre-diet for the festivities. Yesterday was day one. It started out with a lot of gusto! I woke up, did a couple things around the house, and then off I went to kayak with some friends. With exercise in check, I planned out the rest of the afternoon and evening. I would meet some of the gang at Pearlz for happy hour and a little oyster nosh...and yes, just ONE vodka martini. To my delight, things were going just as planned. After Pearlz I would go home, watch a movie, drink WATER, and get a good night’s sleep.

CAROLINA CREOLE, HOT AND SWEET AS A LOWCOUNTRY SUMMER

on Tuesday, 22 May 2012. Posted in LOCAL Bites, Magazine, Follow This!, Eat This! Summer 2012

Creloe ProductBy: Kathleen Curry

 

     What is the perfect complement to freshly caught Lowcountry shrimp this May? Carolina Creole (CC) sauces, a South Carolina Certified product and a Luquire family tradition. CC makes lunch and dinner nearly effortless-- just five steps and it’s time to eat! 1. Cook the rice or grits, 2. Boil the shrimp, 3. Warm the sauce, 4. Pile the rice/grits, shrimp and sauce on a plate, 5. Serve!  Be forewarned, though: there will be little if any conversation. The back of every CC jar promises a ‘heads down meal’ because no one wan`ts to stop and talk until they’ve cleaned their plate. 

Scales, Enlightenment for the Cocktail Scene

on Monday, 07 May 2012. Posted in LOCAL Bites, Magazine

By: Kathleen Curry

 

     img-home-image1Would you enjoy more margaritas this Cinco de Mayo if there weren't so many calories per glass? Scott and Stephanie Meadows of Scales, the Skinny Cocktail Company, have just the mix for you. 

 

     Or should I say mixes? Scales also has a strawberry daiquiri, bloody mary, and sweet n' sour mix. The Meadows’ say just a few years ago, they were entertaining at home with friends. One guest lamented that cocktails would be more enjoyable if they didn’t pack such a sugary, high calorie punch per drink. This spawned an idea for the couple to create a line of lighter drink mixes.  In the process, they concocted something deliciously refreshing, tangy and gluten-free, with not one shot of guilt:

ROOT ROOT ROOT FOR THE HOME TEAM

on Friday, 04 May 2012. Posted in LOCAL Bites, Magazine, Restaurant Spotlight, Eat This! Summer 2012

Early supper in the House that Ron built

Fiery Ron’s Home Team BBQ

1205 Ashley River Road, West Ashley

 

By Patrick Graham

 

“Redemption” may be too strong of a word when you’re talking about a return visit to a barbecue joint, but if readers will concede that barbecue occupies a sacred spot in the soul of South Carolina and its natives, maybe we’ve not quite overstepped our bounds.  Six or seven years ago I happened upon Home Team’s West Ashley location and left not having been amazed.  Over the years, having been asked about Home Team by various visitors to the city, my response was an unequivocal “meh”.  Whether it was me, this location, what day it was, where the moon was in the zodiac, whatever, it’s clear that something has changed, and here’s how the day started.

CHARLESTON CHOPS, A CUT ABOVE

on Saturday, 28 April 2012. Posted in LOCAL Bites, Magazine, Eat This! February 2012

by Kathleen Curry 

     Earth Day was officially last Sunday, but every day offers opportunities to make choices that respect the earth. A lot of companies have made an effort to be environmentally conscious in their practices in recently.  But there is a 33-year old Charleston company whose consumer products division has been made a point to be environmentally- conscious from day one: Charleston Chops on upper Meeting Street.