Last weekend’s Eat This Tonight assumed you would be sick of Thanksgiving leftovers. I’ll go ahead and admit I was wrong, as I’m clamoring for more of mom’s macaroni and cheese a week later. Unfortunately, she doesn’t do delivery. The best alternative? Pay a visit to one of Charleston’s many soul food restaurants.
One of Charleston’s newest soul food arrivals is Hot Pots, just a short drive down Dorchester Road in Oakridge Plaza. “For first time customers, I’d suggest the baked turkey wings with rice, potatoes, and gravy,” recommends Chef Daniel Wiggins. “It’s our No. 1 seller. Grab a side of okra soup too — filled with okra, corn, tomatoes, neckbone, and pigtail.” If you’re thinking about checking it out, head to our chsdeals blog to check out a meal special from the restaurant.
Many people associate soul food with lots of salt and lard, but Alluette Jones-Smalls has been doing organic since before going green was a trend, via Alluette’s Cafe. “There’s nothing fake here, not even the customers,” Alluette says. For seafood lovers, grab the Oprah-approved fried shrimp. Vegetarians will find plenty to love, but Alluette especially recommends the collard green sandwich: “You can have it vegetarian, you can have it vegan, or of course, you can just slap some turkey bacon on it.”
For those taking refuge from the cold, head to Martha Lou’s Kitchen. The kitchen is located right next to the seating in this small-scale restaurant, keeping customers nice and warm. Of course, there’s the food too. Martha Lou recommends the chitterlings, a.k.a. chitlins, a.k.a. fried pig intestines. “Most places fry ’em. We don’t; we stew ’em down so they’re not as heavy.” Grab yourself some lima beans, as Martha Lou says, “They’re good for the heart.”
Mt. Pleasant residents can hit up Gullah Cuisine for their share of soul food. Owner and Chef Charlotte Jenkins has been using family recipes passed down from her grandmother. She shared a few of her favorites: “Start out with some of our she crab soup. Then get our shrimp and grits; it’s a classic recipe that’s definitely set apart from other restaurants. For those wanting something equally classic, our most traditional dish is fried chicken. You can get it baked or grilled for something a little lighter.”
For your late night fix of soul, head over to Dave’s Carry Out on Morris. While he’s not pulling the 3 a.m. shifts anymore, you can still catch him fairly late on the weekends. Dave DeGroat’s got a soul food menu including deviled crab cakes, red rice, collards, and ribs. And of course, later hours and battered dishes makes for great sobering-up food.
Or, on Sunday, you could head to the Village Hall in North Charleston for a taste of Charleston’s soul at the Soul Food Expo. Organizer Regina Saunders says you can expect an entire spread of classic dishes, each of which have been chosen to tell the story of heritage cooking in the Lowcountry. Expect to dishes from all the area’s best soul food spots.