3 Smart Cookies
Downtown. 334 East Bay St.
Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Walking into 3 Smart Cookies is like walking into Grandma’s kitchen, if she’d recently renovated using bright colors and mod furniture. A short counter with a plate full of samples is all that divides the customer area from the sunny kitchen. When we visited, a group of people sat looking out a big window onto East Bay Street, casually icing a batch of the popular iced almond cut-outs, which can be ordered in pretty much any shape for any occasion. Other favorites include the moist, spicy ginger cookies, buttery chocolate chip, and the low-fat smart cookies, which are as decadent as the real thing. They sell Jake’s ice cream and sorbets as well, with crazy rotating flavors like “Breakfast in Bed” (made with Belgian waffles) and “Chocolate Slap Yo Mama.” Yum.
Downtown. 433 King St.
10 a.m.-7 p.m. (closed Sun.)
This pretty-in-pink shop run by an enthusiastic Clemson grad has set the downtown cupcake world on fire. Well, that’s because they’re the only shop in town that specializes in cupcakes. Numerous varieties line the shelves, proffering a delicious wonderland of flavors and textural combinations; a half-dozen will get any man out of the doghouse.
Downtown. 78 N. Market St. (843) 853-8270. 12 p.m.-2 a.m.;
Mt. Pleasant. 1028 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. (843) 971-7437. 11 a.m.-12 a.m.
Horrendous parking makes the Market Street spot a hard place to get to, but if you find yourself in the middle of the tourist glut late on a Saturday night, it’s definitely worth the time to stop in. They sling a full bar alongside the sweets at this coffeehouse-cum-saloon and serve up some fine cakes and pastries by the single serving. We go for the milkshakes, which can be mixed to your preference.
Modica: Gelateria & Italian Café
Downtown. 41-A George St.
Mon.-Thurs., 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., 9 a.m.-11 p.m. (closed Sun.)
This little gelateria and coffee house on George Street serves a steady stream of College of Charleston students and downtown residents with an excellent array of sweets and hot java. If you’re lucky, you can grab a window seat and watch the world roll by — and if you’re not a college student, you’ll wish you were by the time you leave.
Paolo’s Gelato Italiano
Downtown. 41 John St.
Mon.-Fri., 1-7 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 12-10 p.m.
We knew Charleston had arrived when we could actually support two dedicated gelaterias within blocks of each other. Paolo’s quirky little storefront boasts a rotation of over 62 flavors — one for every taste bud imaginable. A savvy promoter with a flair for the dramatic, Paolo owns an additional shop in Atlanta and has appeared a number of times on the Food Network. He also caters and will send a freezer full of gelato to your kid’s next birthday party for the right price.
Sublime Pies and Cakes/ Homegrown Grocery
West Ashley. 829-A Savannah Hwy.
Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-7 p.m. (closed Sun.)
Sublime. The name says it all. This little pastry and cake shop in the Avondale area took top honors at the 2006 National Pie Competition, and one bite will demonstrate why. Sublime will sell you all types of sweets, from big to small, but they all have two things in common. They are extraordinarily tasty and they all contain the citrus tang of limes. As if that wasn’t enough, they have now transformed into an upscale food vendor selling all sorts of local meats, cheeses, and vegetables straight from the farm— proving that you really can have your cake and eat it too.
Ye Ole Fashioned Ice Cream
Downtown. 306 King St. (843) 727-1227;
Goose Creek. 209-A St. James Ave. 553-8833;
Mt. Pleasant. 1502 Hwy 17N. 849-3698;
North Charleston. 6554 Rivers Ave. 797-7760;
Summerville. 602 Old Trolley Road. 871-7859; 1205 Main St. 871-7880;
West Ashley. 474 Savannah Hwy. 766-4854; 2204 Portside Way. 763-7958
Call individual stores for hours
It’s been around for a long time, and although the original South Windermere location shut down ages ago, a new one has popped up on King Street, and the expansive chain of Ye Ole Fashioned creameries and sandwich shops puts out copious amounts of delicious ice cream creations. From the Reese’s Sundae — a decadent amalgamation of ice cream, peanut butter, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and nuts — to the Pig’s Trough, our favorite gut-busting banana split, they can soothe even the gnarliest craving.