From Bakeries to Bistros: Charleston's Best Breakfast and Brunch
By Clare Sweeney
Charleston Local Expert
In Charleston, South Carolina, our chefs, restaurateurs, and local residents are reinventing what it means to be a "foodie town" in the Southeast. We cherish our Southern-fried food traditions while also experimenting with new takes on classic recipes. That means you'll have more than enough restaurant options to satisfy every craving, especially when it comes to breakfast. We like to start our weekdays with a hot and hearty plate, and everyone in the "Holy City" knows that Sundays are made for brunch.
Whatever your preference, from baked goods and pastries or a heaping pile of eggs, bacon and veggies, there's a place for your appetite in Charleston and its neighboring boroughs. If it's a scone or sticky bun you crave, head down Spring Street to Wild Flour, or for an affordable breakfast sandwich or omelet, stroll a few more blocks to the cozy Sunrise Bistro Xpress. Do you like a Bloody Mary or Mimosa (or two) with your brunch? Downtown Charleston has you covered with choices like the famous Hominy Grill, Lower King Street hotspot Kitchen 208, and family favorite, Dixie Supply. How about a little music with your meal? Don't miss the Sunday Gospel Brunch at Hall's Chophouse for a uniquely Charleston experience.
Don't be afraid to venture off peninsula in search of good grub! Page's Okra Grill in Mount Pleasant serves up soulful Southern plates for breakfast each morning, while The Early Bird Diner of West Ashley dishes out diner-style breakfast from open to close 7 days a week.
10 Dixie Supply Bakery & Cafe
Owned by a local Charleston couple with deep ancestral roots in the Lowcountry, Dixie Supply Bakery & Cafe serves up breakfast dishes that are as Southern as the name implies. You can find Dixie Supply on picturesque State Street in downtown Charleston, close by to the Charleston City Market and other popular sights and attractions. Starting your day at Dixie Supply means you'll be enjoying a breakfast that will fuel a full day of Charleston explorations, and a meal that won't break your budget. Opt for Lilly's Stuffed French Toast or Lowcountry Shrimp & Grits from the menu regulars, and don't miss checking out the many Dixie Supply daily and weekly specials, posted on their website! ((843) 722-5650)
9 Kitchen 208
With a tagline of "Great fare, fresh air," Kitchen 208 offers up more than just another breakfast join to Lower King Street in downtown Charleston. This breakfast, brunch and lunch restaurant focuses on Southern comfort food favorites while also providing healthier, lighter options for all meals served. In combination with sizable portions and robust flavors, Kitchen 208's beautiful outdoor courtyard, complete with a large shade awning, is the ideal place to start your morning or pit stop for lunch. Check their Facebook and Twitter accounts for the daily breakfast specials, or opt for such staple dishes as the Cobblestone Sandwich with eggs and candied bacon or the Lowcountry plate with cheddar grits, bacon, and stewed tomatoes and okra, each just $7. (843-725-7208)
This trendy Spring Street restaurant and bar is a major hit with the young professionals crowd for dinner and late night drinks. However, Warehouse pulls in an equally large crowd to Sunday brunch each week from 11am - 4pm. Expect Southern favorites as well as traditional American pub fare at this industrial-style hotspot, with a brunch menu that changes weekly (and isn't posted online). Don't worry, it's not a gamble when you venture down Spring Street to a Warehouse brunch - you can count on complex, flavorful dishes and a menu that includes both sweet and savory dishes as well as a few vegetarian options. Brunch plate portions are large, so come hungry, and thirsty, if that's your style: Warehouse is known to serve a well-crafted and accessorized Bloody Mary. (843-202-0712)
7 Hominy Grill
You may have heard of the Hominy hype - visitors come from all over the country to sample some of James Beard Award-winning chef Robert Stehling's country cooking classics. Since this casual, homestyle restaurant only takes reservations for dinner, it's quite common to see a queue of hungry patrons waiting upwards of two hours to get their hands on the Charleston Nasty Biscuit, of some of Charleston's best shrimp and grits. Most will tell you it's worth the wait - Hominy has perfected the Southern all-day cafe, and even shares the recipes for their most popular dishes in a cookbook and online on their website. When it comes to weekend brunch, arrive early and hungry, and choose carefully among such classics as Salmon Potato Cakes, Fried Green Tomato BLT, or the Lowcountry Omelet (stuffed with red rice and shrimp gravy). (843-937-0930)
6 Page's Okra Grill
Located just over the Ravenel Bridge from downtown Charleston on Coleman Avenue, Page's Okra Grill serves up breakfast every day of the week alongside a very popular Sunday brunch. The menu at Page's Okra Grill is undeniably Southern, but offers even more of a special, lowcountry influence as well. The serving sizes are satisfyingly hefty, and piled on each plate with a no-frills presentation. Expect to nosh on such local favorites as the Smoking Southern Omelet stuffed with pulled pork and housemade pimiento cheese, the Country Fried Steak Biscuit, Shrimp & Grits, and of course, made-from-scratch Buttermilk Biscuits. An a la carte section of the menu guarantees that there's a breakfast or brunch dish for everyone on the menu at Page's Okra Grill. (843-881-3333)
5 Sunrise Bistro Xpress
There's much, much more than meets the eye inside this small breakfast and lunch joint on Spring Street, including some of the best menu prices in town. Sunrise Bistro Xpress is a casual neighborhood spot with a huge menu of bagel sandwiches, stuffed omelets, breakfast burritos, pizzas, and quesadillas, alongside some hearty daily specials. The food is fairly priced, and is made well despite a consistently short wait between ordering and digging in. Choose Sunrise Bistro Xpress when you're facing a long wait elsewhere in the neighborhood, or if you're in the mood for some good, no frills food in a laid-back cafe environment. Bring the family or the pooch to enjoy Sunrise Bistro's sunny outdoor courtyard. (843-297-4509)
4 WildFlour Pastry
If muffins, quiche, scones and baked breads are your top breakfast choices, a visit to WildFlour Pastry just may be your ideal Charleston meal. Head down Spring Street, a part of Charleston's fastest growing foodie neighborhood, to WildFlour's unassuming little storefront. You'll likely smell the freshly baked goodies before you even step inside, and trust us, that's a good sign. Order a few things from the daily menu offerings, even if you're dining alone - WildFlour's variety of sweet and savory scones, rich and cheesy baked quiches, homemade granola bars and baked sweet breads will have you wanting to sample them all. If it's a Sunday, you're in luck - today's the only day you can get your hands on one of WildFlour's famous Sticky Buns! (843-327-2621)
3 Callie's Hot Little Biscuit
As you wander up King Street in search of a breakfast or brunch destination, keep an eye out for the letters "HLB" in lit in old-fashioned marquee. They stand for Callie's Hot Little Biscuit, a tiny but flavor packed biscuit bakery and shop, selling 7 different kinds of filled and flavored biscuits, as well as biscuit bowls of grits or biscuit pimento cheese sandwiches. Better yet, Callie's HLB offers a long list of add-ons and toppings so you can personalize what's sure to be a divine, buttery bread experience. The Upper King shop is small, and seats less than ten patrons, so plan to take your biscuits to-go if you're looking to savor them while sitting. In any case, maybe that's just the excuse you needed to take home a bakers dozen (13 biscuits for $19). (843-737-5159)
2 The Early Bird Diner
Sometimes, you just have a craving for a heaping plate of eggs and all the fixin's, a larger-than-life portion of Southern fried chicken, or even a tall stack of sweet pancakes or waffles. These wishes and more are easily made true with a visit to West Ashley's The Early Bird Diner, a true local's favorite offering breakfast each day from open to close, and a very popular Sunday brunch from 10am - 3pm. Breakfast menu staples include such crowd pleasers as Chicken & Waffles, a Country Scramble, Steak & Eggs, and Corn Cakes Benedict. If that's not enough to get you salivating, check The Early Bird Diner Facebook page for their creative daily specials, often serving as one of the most popular items on the menu each day. (843-277-2353)
1 Halls Chophouse
Both longtime locals and first time visitors to Charleston quickly become aware of Hall's Chophouse on Upper King, and it's glowing reputation for high-quality steaks, "chops," and seafood. The elegant, old-world steakhouse interior of Halls, and the ever-present owner of this family business, only serve to add to the charming ambiance of this fine dining establishment. While Halls may be known for it's Filet Minion and Wagyu Filet, its Sunday Gospel Brunch is not so quietly gaining a dedicated following. That's because the Gospel Brunch at Halls is unlike any other in Charleston, or perhaps the entire Southeast. Expect full, flavorful, gut-busting plates of Shrimp & Grits, Crab Cake Eggs Benedict, and Southern Sweet Potato Pancakes to pair perfectly with their open bar, and the joyous chorus of a local gospel group from 10am - 3pm each Sunday. Come hungry, leave very, very happy. (8437270090)
About Clare Sweeney
A South Carolina native and avid locavore, Clare also ventured abroad to Spain and north to Boston before returning to Charleston and her beloved Lowcountry.
Clare works and plays in downtown Charleston, spending her days enjoying the city’s perpetually sunny weather, nearby beaches and ever-growing food and craft beer scene. Follow Clare on Twitter @LocalExpertCHS for the latest in local happenings!
Read more about Clare Sweeney here.