Contributed by: Jai Jones (@JaiEats)
In Collaboration with the South Carolina African American Tourism Conference
Visiting a new restaurant for the first time or going back to enjoy an old favorite is one of my favorite things to do, and although doing that in person is a bit more limited these days you can still experience this by ordering takeout and enjoy in the comfort of your home. There are so many great places to do so in Charleston, so to help you out I’ve picked a few of my favorite Black-owned establishments that I enjoy grabbing takeout from. Ranging from garlic crab, to fried chicken and some of the best desserts you’ll find in Charleston, there’s something here for every food lover. You may see some familiar spots here (and discover new ones), but with any of these five favorites you’ll have an incredible experience while also helping to support a local Black-owned business.
Hannibal’s Kitchen (Downtown)
16 Blake St
Charleston, SC 29403
As part of the Charleston community for over 40 years, Hannibal’s is a well known and highly regarded Soul Food restaurant that continues to be one of my personal favorites. You’ll find everyone from local regulars picking up a mid-day meal to visitors who come just to experience this Charleston institution. My go-to? The Crab and Shrimp Rice. This dish is loved by locals (including myself) and is known as one of Hannibal’s staple dishes.
Ravenel Seafood (Ravenel)
5925 Savannah Hwy
Ravenel, SC 29470
📸 credit: Jai Jones
Just 20 minutes outside of the peninsula is Ravenel Seafood, a family owned and operated seafood restaurant and market that serves some of the best Garlic Crabs in Charleston. The rest of the menu is equally as worth the trip, from the Fried Shrimp + Oyster Baskets, to the Garlic Sensation – the ultimate plate combining the Garlic Crab alongside Shrimp with Garlic Butter, Potato, Corn and Sausage.
Gillie’s Seafood (James Island)
805 Folly Rd
Charleston, SC 29412
Named in tribute to Chef Sean Mendes’ grandmother and culinary inspiration, Gillie’s Seafood on James Island has become one of my personal favorites to enjoy at home. Chef Mendes sources as much as possible locally, including from purveyors Crosby Seafood and Joseph Fields Farms. The Fried Shrimp here is a must, as well as the Catfish Charleston – a blackened catfish fillet over dirty rice, then topped with crawfish, crab and shrimp, and a cajun cream sauce.
Bertha’s Kitchen (North Charleston)
2332 Meeting Street Rd
Charleston, SC 29405
Whenever Soul Food in the Lowcountry is discussed, Bertha’s Kitchen is amongst the first names you’ll hear – and deservingly so. This Soul Food institution (and James Beard Award winning restaurant) opened in 1981, and continues to be owned and operated by the family of Albertha Grant to this day. If you’re searching for great fried chicken, not many do it better, and always get a side of collard greens.
Swank Desserts (Summerville)
110 A South Cedar Street
Summerville, SC 29483
Located in Downtown Summerville, Chef Danetra Richardson and team are creating incredible desserts that will satisfy your inner sweet tooth. Everything is made in-house and from scratch at this specialty dessert shop, and the menu is always evolving. The Macarons and the Signature Swank Brownie are essential, but also take a quick look on their Instagram account to see what mouth-watering treats the team has created that day.