You’ll Find Morning Sunshine at the Sunflower Cafe



Charleston has a rich culture of breakfast and competition is fierce among the well-known establishments as is evidenced by long waits and rising prices. Luckily, there are still a few hidden gems that have quality food and reasonable prices, like The Sunflower Cafe. This quaint diner in West Ashley is a step back into the family kitchen and offers a relaxing dining experience.  As you walk in, you are greeted by a busy but friendly staff and decor of sunflowers and patriotism.  The walls are covered with stories of local patrons. Overall, the ambiance is cozy.

We know you yearn for an omelet or waffles, but we highly recommend starting with the beignets.  At $3.95, they are a steal for three large puffs of golden brown dough, generously dusted with powered sugar, served with a side of maple syrup for dunking. That first hot bite is heaven and will make you understand why so many feel they are the best in Charleston

The breakfast and lunch menus are well categorized and concise.  For breakfast, the choices include benedicts, pancakes, eggs and omelets.  Make sure, if they are not included with your selection, to sample the potatoes – sautéed with just the right amount of spice and onions. They are mouth watering.  The grits are also an outstanding side – they are rich and creamy.

The spicy sausage, peppers and onions benedict is savory and explodes with flavor.  The portion is generous and will satisfy the most ample appetites. The fresh crab and fried green tomatoes benedict is a unique creation that will not disappoint.

Sweet pecan waffles are a great choice for the waffle lover with a sweet tooth.  They are the right mix of sticky and doughy and oh so yummy.

If your appetite favors an omelet, we suggest you lean your selection toward the sauteed spinach, over sun-dried tomatoes and feta or the crab, brie and artichokes omelet.  Both have a shower of mixed flavors and the portions are enough to cover you for two meals.


The setting is very casual and the staff is friendly and unimposing.  If you bring a large group and want to relax, you will feel right at home.

Located about 20 minutes outside of downtown Charleston at 2366 Ashley River Road in West Ashley, the Sunflower Cafe is one breakfast and lunch experience you should add to your dining list. Come early as they are only open Tuesday through Saturday from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM with a break from 11:00 to 11:30 to transition from breakfast to lunch and Sunday from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM.  They are closed on Monday.

Sunflower Cafe Menu

Categories: Charleston, chseats, Food | Leave a comment

Charlie’s Grocery Offers a Memorable Falafel for Charleston


Downtown Charleston is home to several corner stores but few have the rich history that Charlie’s Grocery  does. Opened in 1996 by Charlie Dabit, the Jasper Street grocery store has kept nearby residents and college students in stock with the essentials and more. Anyone who has ever experienced Charlie’s knows there is an impressive deli within. Beyond the Boar’s Head and large selection of homemade salads and jumbo pickles, there is one of Charleston’s most delicious treats, falafel. While falafel can be found at a few restaurants downtown and beyond, Charlie’s is arguably the best. The Charleston Daily (CD) sat down with Abe, Charlie’s eldest son who is now at the helm of day to day operations. We talked history, falafel and the future.

CD: Tell me about Charlie’s.

Abe: Charlie’s is our family’s store. We have been in business going on 18 years in April. The Jasper Street store was opened in April of 1996 and we recently opened a second store at the corner of Spring and Rutledge.

CD: Looks like you are running the Jasper Street store now. Where is Mr. Charlie?

Abe: My father is still around. Every morning he is at our Spring Street location. He’s very much a part of the business still. He has given a lot of the responsibility to me and my brother though.

CD: Enough small talk. Tell me about the falafel.

(laughing) What do you want to know?

CD: What makes it so great? Whose recipe is it?

Abe: It’s just really fresh. The falafel is my mother’s family’s recipe and it hasn’t changed. It’s really simple. There is a basic ratio of chickpeas, onions, cilantro, and spices but there is no real measuring. It’s based on taste.

CD: So it’s a secret…. Would you ever considering opening a restaurant?

Abe: Yeah, especially with Middle Eastern food including falafel. Charleston kind of lacks in that area, but we have a few places around like Tabbuli and Manny’s. We have definitely considered opening a restaurant.

CD: What is the strangest thing a customer has requested?

Abe: That’s a toughie… Actually, pig’s feet! We used to carry them in jars. We had to talk my father into dropping them. People would request them, and there you are, reaching in, grabbing a pig’s foot, stuffing it in a bag and sending them on their merry way. Disgusting.

CD: What is the biggest challenge Charlie’s has experienced?

Abe: Finding trustworthy, good help. My father is very old fashioned. It’s very difficult to walk away and allow someone else to do this job.

What does Charlie’s mean to your family?

Abe: Charlie’s is ours and we take care of it like it is a child. It’s everything to us.

On that note, I dove into the falafel pita Abe had carefully prepared for me. The pita was generously stuffed with flattened orbs of fried falafel and refreshing cubes of cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. The falafel were crispy on the outside and tender inside. Where so many falafel are dense, these were light and bouncy. The optional hot sauce was no joke, even for me. The creamy hummus was a welcome option and it gave the sandwich a layer of depth that made it a satisfying meal. This falafel, like the many others I have enjoyed from Charlie’s, was perfection.

Charlie’s original corner store and deli is located at 1 Jasper Street. Charlie’s second location is open at Spring and Rutledge. Their hours are Monday – Saturday 9am-8pm and Sunday 10am -6pm. Falafel and other sandwiches can be ordered ahead from the Jasper Street location by calling: (843) 853-0351


Categories: Charleston, Charleston Daily, chseats, Food, Food review | Leave a comment

Charleston Recipes: Four Southern Recipes You Must Add to Your Collection


Our local Charleston resident chef Gabriella has awakened our senses and warmed our hearts with four mouth watering Southern Homemade Recipes to overflow the heart and fill the stomach.  Next time you are in the kitchen and want to make the whole family happy, whip up some of these treasures (Coca Cola Ham, Collard Greens, Hummingbird Cake and Shrimp and Grits).  Believe me, they will love you for a long time, or until they take a nap from all the food.

Coca-Cola Ham


  • 1 (4 -5 lb) bone-in ham
  • 1 onion, peeled, cut in 1/2
  • 1 (2-liter) bottle coca -cola

For the Glaze:

  • 1 handful cloves
  • 1 heaping tablespoon molasses
  • 2 teaspoons English mustard powder
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar


Peel and cut 1 onion in half.  In a large pot, place ham and the onion and pour the 2 liter bottle of coca-cola over top. On a medium-high heat, allow to cola to come to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover, not tightly with lid, and allow to cook for 2 1/2 hours. It is 1 hour for every 2 pounds.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
For the Glaze:

Pull the ham from the pot and allow to rest on a cutting board reserving the cooking liquid. Using a sharp knife, trim the skin, leaving a thin layer of fat on the ham. Using the knife, score the fat diagonally into large diamond cut. In each diamond pierce the fat with 1 clove. Spread the molasses over the meat. Gently pat the powdered mustard and sugar around the meat so it sticks to the molasses. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil. Gently place the ham in the roasting pan. Cook the ham for about 10 minutes or until glaze is burnished and bubbly.
For braising the ham in advance and then letting the ham cool, take ham from the refrigerator, glaze it according to the recipe, and give it 30 to 40 minutes to sit at room temperature. Place in a 350 degree F oven for 30 to 40 minutes, then turning up the heat if prefer a crispier exterior.


Collard Greens


  • 1 pound smoked ham or turkey wings
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 1 Tablespoon hot sauce (Tabasco, franks, or sriracha)
  • 1 large bunch collard greens
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 tsp vinegar (apple cider, white or balsamic)


Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add meat, salts, pepper, garlic powder and hot sauce. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 1 hour.
Wash, trim and slice greens into 1/2 to 1-inch slices. Add greens and butter to stock. Cook on medium for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add vinegar and more salt and pepper to taste.



Hummingbird Cake (for a cake or cupcakes)


  • 1 cup pecans
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup vegetable, corn, or canola oil
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 – 8 ounce undrained can crushed pineapple
  • 2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4 medium sized bananas)

Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 pound box (about 4 cups) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • Shredded coconut (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter, or spray with a non-stick spray, two – 9 x 2 inch (23 x 5 cm) round cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. If you are making cupcakes, line tin with cupcake liners.
Place the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and then chop finely.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon. Then stir in the chopped pecans.
In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, vanilla extract, pineapple, and mashed bananas. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir until combined. Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. After 10 minutes invert the cakes onto the wire rack, remove the pans and parchment paper, flip the cakes right side up, and then cool completely before frosting.
Frosting: In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and cream cheese, on medium-low speed, until very smooth. Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat, on medium-low speed, until smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract and then beat (or stir) in the finely chopped pecans.
To assemble Cake: Place one cake on your serving platter. Spread with about a third of the frosting. Gently place the other cake layer on top and spread the rest of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Pecan halves as a garnish is optional. If not serving immediately, refrigerate the cake. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Cupcakes: Frost when cool and top with pecan halves. Note from chef Gabriella: I also like to sprinkle them in toasted coconut.


Shrimp and Grits (stolen from Chef Mike Lata when he was Executive Chef of Anson House Restaurant)


• 2 cups milk (with some extra for during the cooking process)
• 1 cup fresh white grits
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• Salt and freshly ground pepper


• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 3 tablespoons finely diced onion
• 3 tablespoons finely diced red bell pepper
• 2 ounces diced country ham
• ½ cup shrimp stock (make this from boiling the shrimp shells in 1 cup for water for 10 minutes)
• 3/4 cup heavy cream
• 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
• 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives or parsley
• 6 dashes of hot sauce (Tabasco or Franks)
• Salt and ground pepper



Grits: Bring the milk just up to a low boil over medium heat. Add the grits and stir constantly for 1 minute. Turn the heat to low. If there are any hulls, skim and remove them using a slotted spoon. Add the butter and stir frequently for the first 10 minutes, then stir every 10 minutes until grits are done, about 1 to 1 ½ hrs. Add more milk if the grits are becoming too coarse. Cover between stirrings. When creamy, add salt and pepper to taste. May need about ½ tsp salt.
For the shrimp:

Melt the butter in a large, heavy bottom fry pan or enamel skillet. Add the onion and red pepper, cooking till translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ham and sauté briefly. Stir in the stock, scraping the sides and bottom of the skillet to deglaze the pan. Bring to a boil, and cook till the liquid is reduced by half. Add the cream, bring to a boil, and reduce the liquid making a loose sauce. Add the shrimp, stir, and cook till the shrimp turn pink. Add the chives and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide the grits among four plates, top with the shrimp and some of the sauce and serve.

We at Charleston Daily have gotten to try these recipes ourselves, and they were delish!  Now, onward to our naps!  We’ll get the dishes later.





Categories: Cake, Charleston, Charleston Daily, Collard Greens, cooking, Food, Foodie, Ham, Shrimp and Grits, South, Southern Cuisine | 3 Comments

Best Charleston, SC Brunches…You Don’t Even Know About


Brunch is a weekly holiday in Charleston. It is a time where friends and family congregate for the common goal of food and drink. Whether it is an Eggs Benedict, French Toast, Waffles and Chicken or a Mimosa, brunch is an important part our our week. Here are a few places that may have not been on your radar but need to be.


Categories: Brunch, Charleston, Chuck Town, culinary, Dining, Downtown, Eating, Food, Foodies, Lowcountry, Mount Pleasant, Small business, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Holy City Happenings This Week – 7/8/14 – 7/12/14

Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Black Belt Salsa Classes @ the Cannon Street YMCA – 7:30 pm- 9 p.m.
Sessions for all levels- beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Class dates are July 8, 15, 22, and 29. Tuition is $60 due @ first session. If you have any questions, you can contact Yaenette  @ 843-345-1791or Please arrive 30 minutes early to class in comfy shoes!
Yoga Under the Oaks @ Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site – 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Price: $10 (only cash will be accepted). Will be followed by happy hour @ the Legare-Waring House from7-8 p.m. If there is inclement weather, the location will be moved to Founders Hall. Catering provided by Coastal Crust.
Wednesday July 9, 2014
-July Member Mixer @ Lowcountry Local First – 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Check out Lowcountry Local First as they show off their newest work, Local Works. They will be celebrating with Firefly Vodka Moonshine and treats by Wholly Cow Ice Cream, L.L.C., Roti Rolls, and more. You also have the chance to come meet the local craftsmen and volunteers who made this event happen.  RSVP Free to LLF members and $20 for non-members.
-Toddler Days with Superheroes @ The Charleston Museum – 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
$6 for Museum members and $9 for non-members- price includes Museum entry and a program for one kid and 1 adult. Designed for children 18 months to 3 years old, each program includes finger painting, a puppet stage, a sandbox, and craft projects.
-Kid Tours @ The Charleston Museum- 3:30 p.m. Free for Museum members and free with entry to museum. For non-members: $10 for adults, $5 for kids, and kids under the age of 3 are free. Kid Tours continues for the rest of July and includes a craft project or activity acquainting the younger ones with Ancient Egypt.
Thursday July 10, 2014
The Chucktown Throwdown Cornhole Tournament Qualifer – 6:30 p.m. @ Sparians – River Bowl Charleston
This is one of the qualifiers for the upcoming Chucktown Throwdown Cornhole Tournament happening on September 21st. The qualifiers are free to enter and prizes may be available. All funds from the Main Event will be going to benefit Lowcountry Orphan Relief, Winwood Farms, etc.
IMG_28131-335x251-The 2nd Annual Lebowski Bash – 7:30 p.m.
Charleston Music Hall will be celebrating Jeff Bridge’s character in The Big Lebowski, now a cult icon. Attendees will be encouraged to dress up as their favorite character. After the movie, we will all walk to The Alley for a free White Russian and throwing rocks while listening to the DJ play.
-The 2nd Charleston NotWedding @ Boone Hall Plantation– 7 p.m.
Price: $40 for VIP and $30 for general admission. This allows those planning a wedding to get the feel for what a real wedding is like.
Yappy Hour @ James Island County Park.
Price: $1 or free to Gold Members. Have a chance to meet other dog walkers as well as scope out the parks. Dogs that are sick, too mean, too young for shots, or in heat are not permitted.
-Throwback Thursdays Outdoor Film Fest @ Cinebarre
Admission = free. Film of the night will be the ’70’s hit, Jaws.
Partakers can enjoy $5 select bourbons, $5 Double Standards, $20 punch bowls, beer specials and free bar snacks. Local musician David Higgins will be performing beginning @ 10 p.m. and there will be a photo booth available at the event.
Friday July 11, 2014
Weekend of Floyd & Zeppelin’s Music – 8:30 pm. On July 11th to July 12th @ 11 p.m.
Price: $13 in advance and $15 day of show. Purchase both days in advance for $20! VIP tix available. Doors open @ 5:00 p.m.Show starts @ 8:30 both nights. The Ordinary Men will be playing on Friday and Wax Groove Revival will be grooving on Saturday. N8 Audio & Lighting and Magic Lantern Productions will be throwing it down on sound.
Reggae Nights Summer Concert Series Present Da’Gullah Roots @ James Island County Park – 8:30 p.m. 
Chill out with some eclectic reggae in a beautiful outdoor atmosphere. Doors open @ 7:30 p.m. Music begins @ 8:30 p.m.
$8 for general admission for those 13 and up. Free for those 12 and under for Gold Pass members.
-Music on the Green @ Freshfields Village – 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
One of the Carolinas’ hit party bands will be playing tunes from the 60s to today. Price: Free.
Saturday July 12, 2014
10429851_1449862045290291_3369742797993400278_nBetty Swem’s Novel Writing Class – 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Novel writing workshop for all ages and levels. $25/ each class. Either can be paid before or during class. Classes designed for writers of any genre. You can sign up online or send an e-mail to This is an ongoing event.
-Special Event “Poultry Day” @ The Awendaw Farmers & Crafters Market – 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Poultry sale, education, & crafting with poultry for the kids as well as food available from 10-2. Farmer’s & Crafters Market from 10-3 and Pet Vet from 2-3.
Categories: arts, Boone Hall Plantation, Bourbon, Calendar, Charleston, Cheap, Children, Chuck Town, cinema, community, concert, Dating, Deals, Dogs, Downtown, education, events, families, family, festival, Food, James Island Country Park, Lowcountry, Mount Pleasant, movies, Outdoor adventures, Uncategorized, vodka, Whiskey | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Holy City Food Deals – Part II (More Charleston Foodie Fun for Less)


The last daily food deal special posting went over so well Charleston, we thought we might add a few more tidbits to your pallet.  Here are a few more exceptional daily food deals throughout the Charleston area…Are you ready?



Tsunami – Downtown Charleston – 215 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC –

Attention Food and Beverage Industry Employees – Half Off Food on the Main Menu.  We really appreciate your hard work

Planet Follywood – 32-A Center Street, Folly Beach, SC –

Man Cave Monday – 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM – Half Price Burgers.  Yummy.



Smoky Oak Taproom – 1234 Camp Road, Charleston, SC –

Build Your Own Monster Burger – 1/2 Price (Plus great live trivia)

Red Drum – 803 Coleman Blvd, Mount Pleasant, SC –

Half Price Bottles of Wine on Tuesday Night – Restaurant opens at 4 PM

Locals Bar – 1150 Queenborough Blvd, Unit B, Mount Pleasant, SC

Half Price Sushi from 9 PM – 12 AM plus a little live trivia.  Come on out for great sushi deal.

Paisanos Pizzaria – 1246 Camp Road, James Island, SC / 1798 West Ashley River Road, West Ashley, SC –

Calzones (2 Meats and 2 Cheese) – $5.00 (Can’t beat that deal)


Wasabi – Daniel Island – 194 Seven Farms Drive, Daniel Island, SC –

IT IS LADIES NIGHT AT Wasabi of Daniel Island!  Come in to Wasabi of Daniel Island FOR 1/2 off bottles of wine for ladies all night tonight!

Drink specials during happy hour are $3.00 glasses of house wine, $4.00 large hot sakes, $2.00 Kirin Drafts, and $5 select martinis. We also have sushi rolls and appetizers starting at just $3.00

Paisanos Pizzaria – 1246 Camp Road, James Island, SC –

Fat Boy with 1 Topping – 12 Inch Deep Dish Pizza (Can feel 3 – 4) – $10.00



Smoky Oak Taproom – 1234 Camp Road, Charleston, SC –

$12.00 Steak Night – 12 ounce steak, baked potato, salad and pudding for $12.00 – Wow!!!

Fast and French – 98 Broad Street, Charleston, SC –

Fondue Thursday – Choice of 6 types of fondue with choice of soup or salad and assorted breads – $15.50 – $16.00 – Great for sharing



Finz – 440 West Coleman Blvd, Mount Pleasant, SC –

$2.50 Tacos, $2.50 Coronas, $3.00 Margaritas – Now that is the great way to kick off a Friday Weekend Start.  You may even catch some fun live music



Finz – 440 West Coleman Blvd, Mount Pleasant, SC –

From 11:30 AM – 4:30 PM – Half Price Burgers

How Art Thou – 1956 Maybank Highway, James Island, SC –

Starting at 11:00 AM come in for $1.00 Mimosas, $2.00 Bellinis or $3.00 Bloody Marys




Categories: Charleston, Deals, Food, Foodie, South Carolina | 1 Comment

Holy City Food Deals – Charleston, SC


I know what you are thinking, where can I find a great deal in Charleston.  You may be surprised to know that there are a many, many of them right in your back yard that you may not even know about.  Round up the family, search for some extra quarters in the couch and head out for a good family meal at a reasonable price.

Here are a few gems you may not know about:


Voodoo Tiki Bar and Lounge – 15 Magnolia Road, Charleston –

Half Price Tacos and Live Cuban Salsa Music.

Triangle – Avondale – 828 Savannah Highway, Charleston –

For Brunch, until 3 PM, your Mimosas will run you $1.00.  Come on out and bring a few friends.


Cypress – 167 East Bay Street, Charleston –

Fine Dining on a budget – On Mondays, upstairs in the bar, you can get an ala carte burger for $5.00.

Ms. Roses – 1090 Sam Rittenberg Blvd, Charleston –

1/2 Price Burgers and $3.00 Craft Beer Pints all night on Mondays – The extra add-ons are not half price.  If you want a great burger, great service, big screen TV and a good local craft beer, this is the only place to be on Monday Night.

The Roost – Avondale – 825 Savannah Highway, Charleston –

$6.00 Burgers and Live Trivia.  Protein and intellect.  That is a full night.

Zia Taqueria – 1956A Maybank Highway, Charleston –

$2.50 Fish Tacos and $3.00 Carnitas on Mondays.

TJ BBQ and Burgers – Goose Creek and Summerville –

Every Monday from 4 – 9 PM, Buy One Get One Free on Burgers and Sandwiches.


Wasabi – Downtown Charleston – 61 State Street, Charleston –

Half Price Sushi rolls and Buy One Get One Free Saki – Need we say more.

Moes Crosstown – 714 Rutledge Avenue, Charleston –

From 7 – 10 PM, burgers are half price.  Great bar environment.

Blind Tiger – 36 1/2 Broad Street, Charleston –

Half price burgers on Tuesday nights at one of Charleston’s oldest bars.


Kickin Chicken – Multiple Locations –

Wednesday in May with your free Loyalty card, you get a burger with two free add-on tops for $7.00.  All locations offer live trivia as well.

Monday – Friday – 4 PM – 6 PM

Big Gun Burger Shop – 137 Calhoun Street, Charleston –

Monday through Friday from 4 – 6, all their burgers are half price.  They are beyond amazing.

Monday – Friday – 5 PM – 7 PM

Lana Restaurant and Bar – 210 Rutledge Avenue, Charleston –

In a beer town, it is difficult to find a good affordable glass of wine.  For Happy Hour at Lana, you can get a great glass of red or white for $3.00 a glass.


How Art Thou Cafe – 1956 Maybank Highway, Charleston –

Get your drink on.  From open to close, this treat offers $1.00 Mimosas, $2.00 Bellini Cocktails and $3.00 Bloody Marys.  Plus live music in the evenings.



Categories: Charleston, Charleston Daily, Cheap, Dining, Eating, Food, Foodies, South Carolina | Leave a comment

Scratch your Itch at the Local Flea Market

CCFWho can resist a good flea market treasure hunt? Rummaging through boxes of collections, knowing that at the bottom of this battered cardboard box, splitting at the seams, could be that vintage poster you have to have for your bathroom. Trying on rows of sunglasses- I’ll take this one, and this one and oh wait these too!

At the Coastal Carolina Flea market, you will be hard pressed not to walk away with a gem. Something you might cherish forever or at least for the day. I come from a long line of dedicated hoarders and I have fought the genetic urge to have a “craft room” or collection of… I have taken the extreme opposite route of my family tradition and try to keep my living spaces clutter free almost sparse with just a hint of charm. So it was with sweaty palms I decided to make my first trip to the Market. It could go either way. I could fall victim to my upbringing and make my boyfriend back up the truck and start loading, or I could stick with the mantra: Do I really need this? What do I need this for? Where will this go?

CC2From the alarming strong smell of the fish tents to the equally overwhelming smell of the perfume guy, chasing you down as you try to dart out of the smog of the sample spray, this place is littered with 1000 available booths and vendors that cover the imagination of possibilities.

We were lured to our first visit by the promise of fresh, cheap produce. I was disappointed to not find an organic vendor, but tried to avoid the dirty dozen as I filled my grocery list. I was going through a juicing faze so we stock piled on beets, mangos, carrots, everything to make mean green juice for a healthy breakfast kick start or my favorite watermelon margaritas for an awesome evening start!

Our second visit we decided to explore the rest of the forty seven acres and double our pleasure by taking the dog with us. Hagan was thrilled with all the smells and sights. We found a vendor that sold raw African Shea butter for a steal, and it makes the perfect lotion for a sensitive skin massage.

CC3The third visit I came upon a photographer that had captured a shot of a tree growing right through an old pick-up truck. There was something perfectly fabulous about it, and I begged my sugar daddy boyfriend to spend his big bucks on two of this artist’s pieces for our bedroom at the whopping price of $30. Now the whole room has been inspired by those two photos and I can’t wait to find a few more things to complete the funky look.

We have found a lunch box to upgrade our brown bags, a cool cat toy and a few old sailing photos for our guest room during our picking. I love that the choices always change, depending on who has decided to set up a table that weekend. Every time I go back I like to think of it as practice to break the cycle. They say it takes a month of doing something to break a habit. I wonder how many times it will take to break three generations of junk collectors?

Yet again this is a great example of “local” so head over to Ladson on a weekend and find your must have.

Written by contributing writer Tatiana Fisher.

Categories: exploration, families, Food | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

The Price Is Right Makes a Charleston Dream Come True


Contributing Writer – Mark A. Leon

If you have ever been to Isle of Palms, you may be familiar with the playful dog in front of Luke ‘n Ollie’s Pizzaria owned by native New Yorker and now full fledged Charlestonian Jonathan Swartz.  Bringing a unique New York style casual dining experience to the Low Country has proven to be a blessing to families and friends in the Charleston area.

How he got to this point is the story behind the story.

Jonathan Swartz is a humble business owner from Schenectady, New York, who owns Luke ‘n Ollie’s Pizzeria on Isle of Palms.  He brings an authentic style of Italian cooking to the Low Country.  From breakfast pizza, to subs, to calzones, to martinis, strombolis and ice cream sundaes, this is a true gem just a few hundred feet from the beach.

Here are some amazing things you should know about Luke ‘n Ollies Pizzeria before we continue:

  • The Steak Bomb Challenge – 18″ sub with 10 oz of Philly Cheese steak, 8 oz of hamburger, 4 oz of Italian sausage, sauteed onions, peppers and mushrooms, topped with 1/2 pound of mozzarella cheese and served with a quadruple order of fries for $25.00.  If you can finish in 60 minutes or less it is free.  If you do not, your picture will be shared with the toilet in the bathroom.  Many have tried and few have succeeded.
  • There is a Luke ‘n Ollies smart car that is red and covered in pizza.
  • The mascot for Luke ‘n Ollies has been dressed in everything from a Santa outfit to a string bikini.
  • They do deliver and my how they meet the needs of the community, even if they are too lazy to leave the house.
  • Jonathan believes he saw Taylor Swift in front of his restaurant once.
  • In 2013, they served over 100,000 people.


Ok, now that we have had our fun facts exchange, it is time to share how this gem of a restaurant became a part of Charleston folklore.

Jonathan trekked to California with a dream.  Not just to hug Drew Carey but to get on and win The Price Is Right. With an obnoxious shirt, a more obnoxious friend and a little luck on his side, Jonathan not only made it to the showcase showdown, but he completed his mission victoriously.  Now, the opportunity had beckoned to follow his dream of opening up an Italian Restaurant.  With the help of many supportive friends and family, Jonathan worked tirelessly to open Luke ‘n Ollies and make it a permanent fixture on the beaches of Isle of Palms.


Today, Luke ‘n Ollies stands as a role model of hard work, perseverance and the belief in the power of the game show.  Sometimes opportunity and fun can go hand in hand.  At the end of the day, it wasn’t the prizes and cash that fulfilled Jonathan, it was the ability to use this as a stepping stone to a dream.  Today, Jonathan and his staff fill the stomachs of children and adults everyday with delicious food served with a smile.

Whether you are coming in for a large pizza, pasta, a root beer float or the Steak Bomb Challenge, come in with a smile and walk away with a full stomach.  Make sure you say hello to Jonathan.  He may even give you a hug.

Luke ‘n Ollies is located at 1101-C Ocean Blvd, Isle of Palms, SC 29451

Follow Luke ‘n Ollies on Facebook

Categories: Beach, Charleston, Food, Isle of Palms, Pizza, Price is Right, South Carolina, Subs | 1 Comment

The Taste of Charleston – In a word “Tasty”

Picture 274

This weekend was the Annual Taste of Charleston sponsored by Southern Living, highlighted with a parade of restaurants, music and competitions at Boone Hall Plantation. I have been to many “Taste” events around the United States and what differentiates this event from others is that it is not just about food, but hospitality.

The Taste of Charleston is a celebration of all the people involved in the preparation, delivery and experience of dining out. From the wait staff, to the chefs, to the caterers, this was a joyous festival for one and all.

A highlight of Sunday was the annual wait staff obstacle course which involved running through tires and haystacks with a tray of wine delivering checks and filling water. It was quite a crowd pleaser with limited spillage.

Picture 304

Right next door, we witnessed nine large blocks of ice transformed into a beautiful blue marlin fish.

Add in a thirteen foot tall chef, Ronald McDonald, a walking shark and a princess and we had the makings of a memorable day. The weather could not have been prepped any better hitting a high of about 78 with a few parted clouds.

The Piedmont Boys Band provided most of the musical entertainment playing songs from Johnny Cash to originals focusing on family, our freedom and good old southern dancing. Children and adults alike took to the grass to dance along to the tunes or sit on a blanket sharing some wine or beer provided by Holy City, Blue Moon and Biltmore Wines

Blue Moon Brewing Company not only provided free beer glasses, but set up a table to paint your own glasses. That was such a fun idea.

Picture 324

The food was endless from north to south, east to west. From The Charleston Crab House, to Social Wine & Bar, to Nigel’s Good Food to Sea Island Grill.

Representatives were there from Mount Pleasant, Charleston, Kiawah Island, West Ashley, North Charleston and beyond. From soul food to Italian, you were not lacking in choices to fill your tummy.

The day would not be complete without a singing princess, a waving giant green floaty and Ronald McDonald entertaining the kids in the children’s play area.

Hats off to the volunteers, chefs, vendors, wait staff, catering specialists and so many more that made this day and weekend of festivities possible and so very special.

Picture 316

Categories: Boone Hall Plantation, Food, Hospitality, Southern Living, Taste of Charleston, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Create a free website or blog at