It’s back to school season, people. And as you send the tots off on the morning bus, let the waves of elementary school memories wash over you. Recess, finger painting, lunchtime… remember the floppy french fries and congealed beef gravy? Luckily for you, restaurants around the area took those meals you once loved to hate and gave them a makeover. Talk about redemption: these redone treats are now your midnight cravings. And as you bite into Martha Lou’s delicious mac and cheese or Rec Room’s awesome tachos, thank God you’ve grown up and graduated to an upgraded cuisine. Good riddance, purple hot dog day.

If you want something with a little kick, head over to the Recovery Room on Upper King Street for some finger lickin’ tater tachos. It’s a plate piled high with pipin’ hot tater tots, covered in cheese, jalapenos, onions, and tomatoes. Oh, and don’t forget the salsa and sour cream.

Right down the street from Rec Room’s tachos are Kickin’ Chicken’s classic chicken tenders. Go for the three-piece basket, or — if you’re feeling extra hungry — order the five-piece for just a buck extra. You can get them grilled, but we prefer the spicy, hand-breaded option. You can even have your chicken tenders tossed in spicy buffalo sauce. While that’s the most popular, hot honey garlic and honey teriyaki are also pretty tasty. Last, choose your dipping sauce: honey mustard, ranch, or blue cheese.


Who knew corn dogs could be so awesome? At Tattooed Moose, they’re doing this classic lunchtime favorite true justice. For just four smackaroos, you can get the Basket o’ Corn Dogs, two hotdogs tossed in a honey batter and fried in duck fat. The basket also comes with a side of the restaurant’s special sauce.

Hello My Name is BBQ is cooking up meatloaf but with a spicy twist. Dubbed The Heatseeker, this dish combines meatloaf with jalapeños and Mexican tomato sauce (in place of the traditional ketchup). They throw in lots of cayenne pepper, garlic, and onions then bake it. After it’s done, they slice it up and throw it on the grill, topping it with barbecued bacon and spicy sriracha mayo before they slap it on a grilled brioche bun. But act fast. This plate only makes an appearance on the menu on Fridays. If you’re lucky, they’ll have enough left over on Saturday for their famous meatloaf tacos.

Martha Lou’s brings a little Southern comfort to Lowcountry cuisine with her awesome mac ‘n’ cheese and seasoned green beans. The macaroni is baked to perfection with cheddar cheese and a dash of milk, then topped with seasoning. For the green beans, Martha Lou’s cooks the vegetables with a slab of juicy ham and lets it stew to absorb all of the meat’s flavor.

If you’re looking for the grown-up version of a fruit salad, check out Ted’s Butcherblock. They cut up different fruits every day. One of their popular mixes is pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, and melon.