March 1, 2017
As the reigning “Best City in the World” by Travel + Leisure, Charleston attracts people and companies in droves for the job opportunities, lifestyle, and the fact there’s just something special about this place. One big draw: the innovative culinary scene that holds its own with big city meccas.
Charleston’s culinary industry is part of a $3.2 billion creative sector, which is a major draw for companies like Blackbaud, Volvo, Google, and Boeing.
Here are the top five reasons why Charleston is a powerhouse foodie destination:
- Best in Show – Charleston’s restaurants are perennial favorites of the James Beard Foundation. The chefs behind Charleston’s Hominy Grill, The Ordinary, FIG, and Husk have all been named Best Chef of the Southeast by the James Beard Foundation. This year, seven of the James Beard Foundation award semifinalists are from Charleston, including Short Grain, a Japanese fusion food truck that has become a Charleston institution.
- Locally Crafted – Thanks to legislative changes, Charleston has exploded onto the craft beer scene with 19 breweries and 11 more on the way. Almost all of them are micro- and nanobreweries, and they collaborate with each other to put on classes and events like Brewvival (the “must attend event for beer lovers”) and Charleston Beer Week. National beer makers are taking notice – recently, quintessential California beer label Lagunitas converted Charleston’s former Southend Brewery into a taproom and Beer Sanctuary.
- The Choice of Top Chefs – Charleston was beautifully showcased on Top Chef Charleston and the season finale is this week! And the past few years have seen top chefs pack up their knives and leave traditional culinary hubs in favor of the Holy City. Last July, NYC restaurant veteran Chef Michael Toscano opened modern Italian osteria Le Farfalle. Toscano joined chefs like fellow former New Yorker Ben Towill of the Fat Radish and former Chicagoan Tim Morton of Mercantile and Mash. And for those who prefer down-home barbecue joints, famed Austin-based chef John Lewis has brought the best of Texas barbecue to his Charleston restaurant, Lewis Barbecue.
- Technically Delicious – Charlestonians from all walks of life know good cuisine. Soon, Charleston’s most anticipated gourmet watering hole, Workshop, will feed hungry techies in the Upper Peninsula’s new tech campus, Pacific Box & Crate. Renowned local chef Michal Shemtov is opening the food hall to give Charleston’s budding restaurateurs the chance to gain experience and test their concepts. Shemtov is the chef behind Butcher & Bee, which has been praised by Bon Appétit, Conde Nast Traveler and New York Magazine.
- A-List Approved – Celebrity chefs, famous actors and comedians – no one can get enough of Charleston. When the CNN show Parts Unknown spotlighted Charleston, host Anthony Bourdain praised the metro as a “special place” for cuisine. Bourdain was joined by Bill Murray, a longtime Charleston resident and fan who claimed that the “standard of food is so high” in Charleston that no other place can compare. And though Charleston today has evolved from the sleepy city he grew up in, Stephen Colbert still returns to his hometown when he craves gourmet versions of Southern classics.
Want to get a taste of Charleston’s restaurant scene? Don’t miss the Charleston Wine + Food festival showcasing the region’s culinary and hospitality industry from March 1 – 5.