[image-1]One of the more ridiculous and fun events from last year’s Charleston Wine + Food Festival had to be the Waffle House Smackdown, which yours truly was privileged enough to judge. The packed tent witnessed Mike Lata beat all comers and take home the Master Blaster award (literally a golden waffle).

This year, the competition promises to be just as fun with Lata returning to defend his title against Chris Shepherd (from Houston’s Underbelly), Kevin Gillespie (Atlanta’s Gunshow), and Michael Hudman (Memphis’ Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen). Tickets sold out back in the fall faster than you could say scattered, smothered, and covered, but if you missed out, here’s some good news. The festival has released some more tickets in a package with the Pluff Mud Oyster Roast (both of which the City Paper is sponsoring).

The Waffle House Smackdown will go down on Saturday under a Marion Square tent at 10:30 a.m. Fat & Juicy Bloody Marys, Waffle House coffee, and a breakfast spread (grits, biscuits, etc.) will be provided while the competition rages on. The affable Andrew Knowlton of Bon Appetit will be back to emcee the event. 

After the Smackdown, you’ll have time to stroll through the village before heading over to the beach at the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina at Patriots Point for a classic Charleston oyster roast from 2-5 p.m. In addition to tables full of steamed clusters, there will be samples of raw selects and plenty of cooked dishes from the participating chefs (Alex Lira of the Lot, Charles Arena from Charleston Harbor Fish House, Drew Hedlund of Fleet Landing, Todd Mazurek of Salthouse Catering). 

Clammer Dave, Lady Island Oysters, St. Jude, Sewansecott, and the Charleston Oyster Company will be providing the fresh specimens for your shucking pleasure. Live bluegrass and a killer view of downtown only add to the appeal. 

The cost for the package is $105, which guarantees a full day of eating and drinking. Tickets are limited and promise to sell out quickly. Click here to purchase.  
And if you need some convincing, I happened to catch Lata at the Waffle House at the Round Holiday Inn on Wednesday training for this year’s event. He’s going to be a hard one to beat. He’s got those over light eggs mastered.