[image-1]The James Beard Foundation has announced its 2017 America’s Classics award winners and among the five recipients this year is North Charleston’s Bertha’ Kitchen. The restaurant joins Gioia’s Deli in St. Louis, La Taqueria in San Francisco, Sahadi’s in Brooklyn, and Schultz’s Crab House in Essex, MD. The restaurants will all be honored at the James Beard Awards Gala at Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 1.
The Beard Foundation’s website explains that America’s Classics are chosen for their treasured food quality and lasting appeal:
On North Meeting Street, the flavors of the Lowcountry boldly emanate from this robin’s-egg-blue spot, where Albertha Grant first opened shop in 1980. Her presence is still felt each time a cook hefts a stewpot to the stove and tosses in a seasoning hunk of sidemeat. Vibrant family portraits by Charleston muralist Charles DeSaussure line the walls. Today, her daughters Julia Grant, Linda Pinckney, and Sharon Coakley serve fried whiting, fried pork chops, red rice, prioleau rice, stewed chicken neck with gizzards and lima beans. Regulars queue the cafeteria line before eleven each morning. Construction workers exit with foam clamshells of Gullah excellence. Okra soup, a dark garlicky stew, thick with tomatoes, and clods of pork in a richly aromatic broth, is worth the trip alone. This soulful restaurant connects modern diners with traditional food ways and shines as a paragon of the region’s living culinary history.
Co-owner Julia Grant says that she and her sisters could not be more excited. “It’s a big honor and a surprise,” she says.
Pinckney and her sisters plan to attend the Gala where a film on Bertha’s Kitchen will be aired during the ceremony.
To watch it, check the Beard Foundation’s website for a livestream of the event on May 1.