West Ashley's Cold Shoulder Gourmet has been selling out every day since opening at the end of May | Ruta Smith file photo

Restaurant summer spotlight

From fast casual sandwich shops to fine dining with the family, there’s always somewhere new to discover in Charleston. This summer welcomed in everything from quick-selling sandwiches at West Ashley’s Cold Shoulder Gourmet to new Summerville establishment Laura, inspired by chef Nico Romo’s Italian grandmother’s cooking. It’s not just restaurants popping upon the scene; new drink joints opened this summer too. Bar Rollins hit the ground running since opening in downtown’s Eastside neighborhood June 24, and Bevi Bene Brewing combined craft brewing with kombucha when it opened on King Street Extension June 25. 

Keeping up with the latest bar and restaurant openings is a full-time job, but if you’re looking for something new, here’s a round-up of 15 new restaurants and bars in Charleston that are heating up this summer. 

Baguette Magic
73 Spring St. (Downtown)
(843) 471-5941
Open Wed.-Sun. 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

Women and sister-owned Baguette Magic on Folly Road opened its second location in downtown Charleston earlier this summer in the former WildFlour Pastry location downtown on Spring Street. It’s a smaller selection than the James Island location, but still the place to go for delicious baguette sandwiches, pastries and coffee.

BAR on the Ave
4634 Spruill Ave. (North Charleston) 
(843) 225-2526
Open Tues.-Fri. 6 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Get breakfast, lunch and dinner in Park Circle at BAR on the Ave. From mozzarella bites to waffles and wings to burgers, BAR’s menu features options for every kind of eaters. Start the day off with chicken and waffles, or if you’re feeling adventurous (and maybe hungover), dig into the surf ‘n’ turf fries, made with steak, crab meat and melted three cheese over a bed of fries.

Bar Rollins
194 Jackson St. (Downtown)
Open Thurs.-Mon. 4-10 p.m. 

What began as an Instagram page for Chris Rollins to share his favorite wines turned into Charleston’s newest wine bar on the Eastside. Bar Rollins offers a simple, yet elegant concept — good wine, good company and hosts with genuine enthusiasm for bringing people together. Try one of the nightly rotating bottles of natural wine and snack on savory treats like Butcher & Bee baguettes with butter and whipped Counter Cheese Caves sheep’s milk with potato chips for dipping.

Bevi Bene Brewing Company
1859 Summerville Ave. (Downtown)
(843) 501-7157
Open Mon.-Thurs. 1-8 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 12-9 p.m. and Sun. 12-8 p.m. 

Doors officially opened for the new brewing company June 18, joining the upper peninsula’s brewery district and is Charleston’s only lager and hard kombucha brewery. Sit back, relax and enjoy the sweet summer air, craft brews and kombucha on the patio. Check the website for occasional food truck pop-ups for local eats.

Bexley Fish and Raw Bar
100 W Richardson Ave. Suite A (Summerville)
(843) 900-3793
Open Tues.-Thurs. 5-9 p.m. and Fri.-Sat. 4-10 p.m. 

Get away from downtown or Shem Creek crowds and head up to Summerville for fresh seafood and raw oysters at Bexley Fish and Raw Bar. The Summerville seafood joint offers creative takes and combinations, like the pork belly and squid small plate, served with a crab fat caramel, cilantro, benne and lime or a side of kimchi grits with a peanut chili crunch. If you want something larger, Bexley offers bigger meals like it F.O.D., preserved tomato shellfish purloo, charred okra, spring garlic and green tomato marmalade. 

The Black Door Cafe
115 Meeting St. (Downtown) 
(877) 999-3223
Open daily 6:30 a.m.-8 p.m.

Black Door Cafe in the Mills House hotel is the newest casual cafe joint to hang out with an old friend, catch up on that book or simply enjoy a caffeinated beverage. Patrons can enjoy breakfast and lunch sandwiches, prepared grab-and-go items, pastries from Saffron Bakery, gelato from Tinto y Crema and other retail items.

Cold Shoulder Gourmet
1684 Old Towne Rd. (West Ashley)
(843) 642-4680
Open Thurs.-Mon. 8 a.m.-Sold out

When Cold Shoulder Gourmet opened its doors, it quickly became the neighborhood’s next go-to sandwich destination. The one-man-show is run by Craig Edmunds, who crafts gourmet sandwiches with focaccia from Saffron Bakery, meat from Smoking Goose Meatery and fresh greens from King Tide Farms. Cold Shoulder opens five days a week from 8 a.m. until sold out — but get there early as he sells out fast. Follow @coldshouldergourmet on Instagram to find daily and weekly specials, and to check if sandwiches are sold out for the day. “Don’t be mad, be early,” Edmunds said. 

Heavy’s Barburger
1137 Morrison Dr. (Downtown)
Open Tues.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Heavy’s Barburger’s menu offers shareable baskets such as wings and fries, griddle-cooked smash burgers, chicken or fish sandwiches and more. Classic cocktails like margaritas or Old Fashioneds with their own “heavy-handed” twist, like the Shorty Margarita with reposado, agave nectar, orange and fresh squeezed lime, or the Hey, Kool-Aid Man! with dark and white rum, grand marnier, orgeat, bitters and lime.

Holey City Bagels
43 Cannon St. (Downtown)
(843) 212-3680
Open Wed.-Sun. 7 a.m.-1 p.m.

The bagels offered at Holey City are available as singles ($2.50 each), half dozen ($15) or dozen ($30) and come in a variety of flavors, including its most popular everything bagel. Other options include cinnamon sugar and sesame. Vegan cream cheese and butter is available upon request. And what’s a bagel shop without a good bagel sandwich? Holey City offers a variety of different style breakfast and brunch sandwiches, including a classic egg and cheese, a veggie delight, pastrami Reuben or a New Jersey favorite Taylor Ham, egg and cheese. All sandwiches are available on any bagel (upon availability). 

Laura Summerville
101 N Main St. (Summerville)
(843) 738-6988
Open Sun.-Thurs. 4-10 p.m. and Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Laura offers guests authentic Italian dishes found in Rome, Florence and Naples. Following the rustic simplicity of Italian culinary traditions, Laura’s cooks make everything from scratch using the freshest ingredients. The menu is separated into courses, but guests can chart their own adventure and choose from selections of antipasti plates, salads and cheeses, Neapolitan pizzas prepared in the custom-built wood-fire oven, “primi” (first course) dishes, typically pasta and “secondi” (second course) dishes of simply prepared meats, poultry and fish. “Contorni” (side dishes) are served family-style. To finish off the night, guests can indulge in classic Italian desserts, including gelato service. 

3140 Maybank Hwy (Johns Island)
(843) 278-8998

The former downtown restaurant continues to serve its famous offerings of hand-pressed tortillas and Mexican favorites, helmed by executive chef of Delaney Oyster House Shamil Velazquez. The menu has some of the Minero best-loved dishes like the charcoal-grilled wings, catfish tacos and the Minero Burrito. But Velazquez added more Latin-inspired dishes, like crudo and ceviche, to the new location’s menu. The Johns Island space has an expansive indoor and climate-controlled outdoor seating area. The outdoor patio is home to a joint indoor-outdoor bar and a designated dog-friendly section in its outdoor picnic area.

Spice Palette Indian Cuisine
1220 Ben Sawyer Blvd (Mount Pleasant)
(843) 306-9626
Open Tues.-Thurs. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4:30-9:30 p.m., Fri. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4:30-10 p.m., Sat. 12-2:30 p.m. and 4:30-10 p.m. and Sun. 12-2:30 p.m., 4:30-9 p.m.

Spice Palette is the newest West Asian cuisine restaurant in Mount Pleasant. Start off your meal with a vegetarian appetizer like the Kurkuri Bhindi, made with crispy okra, red onions, lime and chaat masala. If you’re craving more protein, try the Calamari Cochin, fried masala squid with red onions and bell peppers. The menu offers options for people of all diets, with special sections for vegetarians and vegans, as well as a gluten free selection. Find traditional menu items like biryani or tandoor, or step outside of the box with Shrimp Saag — shrimp cooked in mild puree spinach, cream, spices, tomato and ginger — or the Fish in Banana Leaf Special — marinated fish (with choice of mahi mahi or salmon) wrapped in banana leaves with south Indian spices. 

Toast! All Day on King
453 King St. (Downtown)
(843) 806-2929
Open daily 7 a.m.-3 p.m.

As the name suggests, Toast! All Day is known for its all-day breakfast, lunch and dinner menu with meals like Eggs Meeting Street made with stacked panko fried crab cakes, fried green tomatoes, and poached eggs topped with roasted red pepper remoulade or the blue crab and shrimp omelet cooked with pepper jack cheese, sautéed mushrooms, green peppers and tomatoes. The original Toast! All Day remains open on Meeting Street, but this second King Street location offers something slightly different. To pay homage to the building’s former tenants, Monzo, Toast! All Day incorporates pizzas into its all-day menu, featuring house-made pizza dough baked in the location’s built-in wood-fired ovens. 

41 Bogard St. (Downtown)
(843) 509-4104
Open Mon. and Thurs.-Fri. 5-10 p.m., Sat. 12:30-2:30 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. and Sun. 12:30-2:30 p.m. and 5-8 p.m.

This contemporary American restaurant is inspired by husband-and wife duo Bethany and Dano Heinze’s time in Southern California, offering shared plates, snacks and entrees such as pasta and vegetable-forward dishes. Highlights of the menu include yellowfin tuna crudo and roast poussin with brown butter jus and dandelion. The beverage program focuses on small wine producers and offers low ABV wine-based cocktails and beers. The quaint space seats 40 and is decorated with warm colors, rustic French chairs, antique mirrors and a repurposed window that bridges the kitchen and dining room.

Weezy’s Ice Cream and Cocktails
3292 Maybank Hwy (Johns Island) 
(843) 718-3136
Open Thurs.-Sat. 12-10 p.m. and Sun.-Mon. 12-9 p.m.

Weezy’s Ice Cream and Cocktails combines a childhood favorite with an adult vice. Kids can enjoy a fresh scoop of ice cream, while parents cool off with cold cocktails or boozy milkshakes and floats. Weezy’s carries more than 30 flavors of ice cream ranging from old fashioned vanilla to flavor-packed carrot cake or key lime pie. They also serve classic cocktails like gin and tonic or special house cocktails like the Weez Knees, crafted with chamomile-infused gin, lemon and salted honey. If you’re feeling adventurous, Weezy’s also has boozy milkshakes and floats like the PB+J, made with vanilla ice cream, peanut butter, grape jelly and Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey. Charcuterie, flatbreads, paninis and shareable plates are also available if you’re craving something savory instead.

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