Budget-Friendly Charleston Brunches: The secret spots loved by locals
Charleston is nothing if not a city that brunches. On East Bay Street alone, the variety of eggs and breakfast-y booze available is abundant — and most of it is pretty wonderful. But while locals on a budget love a High Cotton jazz brunch or the gospel brunch at Hall’s Chophouse on King Street, we have to save those spots for special occasions. That’s not to say we deny ourselves of the benefits of brunch, but we stick to places in our neighborhoods that won’t do too much damage to our bank balances. Here are a just a few local favorites downtown and in West Ashley, James Island, North Charleston, and Mt. Pleasant — all are delicious and easy on the wallet!
132 Spring St.
This newbie cafe has it all — records, coffee, alcohol, and a delectable food menu. One recent brunch involved chili cheese lobster on a grilled crouton with two sunny-side-up eggs and a slice of thick-cut heritage bacon — which is all you really need to know. Oh, and mimosas are $3.50 all day on Sundays.
17 Lockwood Drive
The best view downtown can be found at this hidden gem: the Marina Variety Store. Located on the harbor, this nautical treasure has everything from crab benedicts to gator and grits. It’s favorite amongst locals, who also love to sip on cocktails later on at the downstairs Salty Mike’s.
1977 Maybank Hwy.
You can’t beat the Pour House on a Sunday afternoon. Dine outside at the Lot next door or grab grub from behind the Pour House with a local food truck. A Motown band provides the tunes every week, and lots of local vendors — you’ll find everything from local eggs to art to records — provide a cool post-or-pre-brunch shopping experience.
801 Folly Road
Oh the wonders that await at Sweetwater for a fraction of the price you’re used to. Chocolate chip pancakes. Cheese grits. Square biscuits. Corn Flakes French toast. Need we say more?
817 Savannah Hwy.
Not a single tourist would think to venture to this popular neighborhood dive in West Ashley for brunch, but that’s all fine for local residents — we don’t mind keeping the goodies like the crawfish omelet as our little secret. They claim to be “Charleston’s oldest bar, by far,” and that alone is can speak to locals’ loyalty to this roomy spot that comes complete with a shuffleboard table.
1644 Savannah Hwy.
The brunch lines at Early Bird are long, but for good reason. You’ll be scarce to find a better, or cheaper, menu of refined favorites, like chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, curried scramble, and an always-unique pancake special. No booze is served here, so those lines do move fast, y’all.
427 W. Coleman Blvd.
This relaxing locals haunt is known for its great range of draft beers and killer burgers, but the brunch is popular, too. Here, you’ll love the steak and eggs, fried-green tomato benedict, huevos rancheros, biscuits and gravy, chicken biscuits, Med scramble, and more — but our favorite has to be the crab, asparagus, and cream cheese omelette.
1313 Shrimp Boat Lane
While Vickery’s is located in Shem Creek, where tourists often flock, it’s also a staple amongst locals. The restaurant’s Bloody Mary’s alone have driven locals here for well over a decade, and the view is hard to beat on any day of the week. The menu hasn’t changed a lot, if at all, over the years, because it’s that good: sandwiches and salads galore plus brunch specials, including the famous “big, ugly biscuit.”
LoLa 4830 O’Hear Ave.
The Lowcountry meets Louisiana at LoLa in Park Circle. During Sunday brunch, it’s all about the chicken and waffles, omelets, benedicts, duck confit hash, and the gator, eggs, and grits. They also do mimosas and bloodies — and oyster shooters for the truly adventurous.
4438 Spruill Ave.
Park Circle’s The Junction doesn’t mess around when it comes to brunch. Here, you’ll find it hard to pass up the Mexican Hash (cactus-braised pork, black bean pico, cheesy hashbrowns, over-easy egg, house jalapeno-honey hot sauce) or the brownie pancakes with strawberry jam and whipped cream! They also serve wine and such, should you be in the mood for it.
So many more great places to choose from, what’s your favorite local brunch spot?