A rising tide floats all ships

When we first came to Charleston 10 years ago, we knew immediately that it was home. There was so much that made it special. The architecture. The beaches. The incredible restaurants.

But what truly stood out was an unbelievable sense of community and hospitality, particularly within the restaurant industry. We were amazed by the warm and genuine way we were treated. 

Simply by dining out and chatting with servers and bartenders, we were made to feel so welcome. By our third day in town, we were running into people we “knew” on the streets!

There are many cities with great restaurants and stellar service. But nowhere else has ever had a sense of an entire city being on the same page.

Every single place we dined, we were asked, “Where else have you eaten? Where else are you going?” Suddenly, a pen and paper were pulled out and a list was being written. “Go here for oysters, here for brunch. Order this, drink that. Ask for so-and-so at the bar … tell them I sent you.”

The philosophy that “a rising tide floats all ships” feels ingrained into the fabric of the Charleston restaurant community. For so many of us in the industry, the goal is to make sure both locals and tourists have the best possible experiences. We want you to fall in love with all of Charleston, not just our little corner of it.

When we opened Berkeley’s, being a part of that community was important to us. So many people have helped and supported us along the way. So many neighbors and peers embraced us and lifted us up. We try our best to do the same.

The Charleston restaurant scene could not be more supportive of each other. We host one another as pop-ups and takeovers to help launch new concepts. We keep lists of favorite spots behind the bar to give to out-of-towners. We sing each other’s praises on social media. And, of course, we eat at each other’s restaurants … a lot.

The restaurant industry is a hard one to succeed in, and the last few years have provided some unique challenges. But, instead of fighting each other over customers, we share them happily.

When building our team at Berkeley’s, we look for people that share this ethos. We don’t really mind how much you know about wine or where you’ve worked before. We care about how you will welcome people into our home. New and old friends alike. 

Berkeley’s is often thought of as a “neighborhood” restaurant, and we embrace that. Our servers and bartenders have turned into dog walkers and house sitters for guests who have become more like family. We are watching babies turn into toddlers and families grow. And we are excited to help our “neighborhood” grow, as well.

Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.