Looking for the best shrimp and grits in Charleston, S.C.? Look no further. (Photo: Getty Images)
The unofficial dish of the Gulf Coast seems pretty straightforward – fresh, sweet shrimp and creamy, buttery grits. When’s brunch? But chefs in Charleston, S.C., restaurants coax more from this Southern staple. Whether they’re keeping classic recipes kicking, or putting new twists to it, the shrimp and grits here are a thing of button-popping beauty.
Instead of relying on national distributors who don’t know South Carolina Lowcountry from the next stop on their list, chef Sean Brock keeps everything local. At Husk, he treats visitors to a genuine Southern dining experience with region-unique ingredients. The menu changes monthly, but shrimp and grits dressed with seasonal ingredients remains a cornerstone. Sweet tomatoes in the summer and peppery mustard greens come winter mean delicious bowls of comfort all year.
The details: Sunday brunch is served from 10 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. Suge’s 3rd Strike, a cocktail of gin and amaretto with carrot and citrus juices, goes great with their signature shrimp and grits, and you won’t find it at other Charleston restaurants.
Grits alone are a humble canvas, but at Acme Lowcountry Kitchen, they’re the backdrop for a masterpiece. Or multiple masterpieces. They serve up steaming bowls of classic flavor like the Lowcountry, with tasso and red-eye gravy, but they don’t shy away from audacious spin-offs. The Island pairs jerk shrimp with coconut grits, and Southern Hospitality’s fried shrimp and pimento cheese grits are good for what ails you after too many mint juleps.
The details: Breakfast is served until 2 p.m. daily, so call it brunch, call it lunch, call it what you will; you can order shrimp and grits whenever you get the hankering.
The description of Fleet Landing’s shrimp and grits isn’t much different than those of other Charleston restaurants. Fresh jumbo shrimp? Check. Distinctive Andouille sausage and rich tasso gravy? Check and check. So what keeps this dish at the top of locals’ lists and visitors cleaning their plates faster than they can post a photo of the goods on Instagram? Stunning, waterfront views from the old Navy depot and free parking certainly don’t hurt.
The details: Brunch is served on the weekends from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. Specialty items such as buttermilk biscuits and crème brûlée French toast are hard to pass up, but the old standby shrimp and grits is always available.
The oldest continuously operating restaurant in the city, Henry’s has ridden a wave of heydays to consistent prominence. Being in the mix of eateries and shops on bustling Market Street makes the spot a top-tier destination for comfort food and cocktails. Onions, sweet peppers and a litany of add-ons make the shrimp and grits at Henry’s a bespoke and hearty option.
The details: From 11:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m., Henry’s introduces a fried egg to the dish and the ability to customize your shrimp and grits with fried green tomatoes and bacon.