Anthony Bourdain in South Carolina:
Tony’s Guide to the Palmetto State
When it comes to food, South Carolina is known for many different types, from American-as-apple-pie barbeque to equally American but almost unknown Gullah cuisine – oh, and we can’t forget the incredible seafood and fresh ingredients you can find that are grown right in the Palmetto State (South Carolina’s nickname, after the state tree).
Perhaps Anthony Bourdain knew that South Carolina had a unique blend of food and culture that made it worthy of repeated visits among the many places he traveled. In fact, Tony visited South Carolina twice, in two different shows – so you know that he had to enjoy it the first time to decide on a repeat visit!
If you’re planning to visit South Carolina too, and want to follow in the footsteps of Anthony Bourdain in South Carolina, you’ve come to the right place. This is a hub for all the info you need to visit the places where Tony ate during his South Carolina trips in 2006 and 2015 – including only those restaurants are still open so you don’t waste time planning a trip to somewhere that’s no longer serving.
Whether you know and love South Carolina’s cuisines or are eager to discover them as Tony did, read on to explor all of the best spots to eat in South Carolina that Anthony Bourdain ate too.
Want to watch the episodes where Anthony Bourdain visits Charleston?
The No Reservations episode is available on Amazon, Hulu, and Apple TV; the Parts Unknown episode is available on Amazon and Apple TV.
Note: This post contains a photo of a roast pig. For those sensitive to food imagery like this, please be advised.
Places Tony Ate in Charleston
I’ve already written a complete guide to the places Bourdain ate in Charleston – both closed and still open – as well as the dishes and foods he tried. Here’s a quick list of the restaurants that are still open as of writing:
- FIG (232 Meeting St)
- Husk (76 Queen St)
- The Griffon (18 Vendue Range)
- Waffle House (325 Savannah Hwy)
Be sure to check out my full guide for Charleston (linked above) if you’re planning a trip there – I go into a ton more detail to help you follow Tony’s footsteps all over the city.
Other Places Bourdain Ate in South Carolina
But there’s more to South Carolina than just its most populous city. Tony explored beyond Charleston and it’s worth mentioning those places too, especially if you want to visit those spots.
Located out in Holly Hill, it’s a 60-minute drive from Charleston to Sweatman’s BBQ. Bourdain wisely makes the drive to do the “tough” research about Carolina’s unique style of barbecue, and meets with several pit masters to discuss how it varies from grilling and other styles of barbecue too. During his visit, Tony enjoys all-you-can-eat whole hog barbecue with mustard sauce, as well as pulled pork, pork skin cracklins, ribs, beans, rice and gravy, and bread.
Gullah Grub Restaurant
During both of his visits to South Carolina, Anthony Bourdain used his episodes as an opportunity to educate viewers about Gullah culture; most will have never heard of this unique aspect of culture in South Carolina that dates back to the varied African cultures brought to the regions by slaves.
On his first visit, Tony heads out to Gullah Grub Restaurant, which is located in the Sea Islands near Charleston. There, chef Phil Green cooks up a series of dishes that honor Gullah culture, including She crab soup with crab roe, Frogmore stew (a corn, potatoes, sausage, and shrimp boil), and cornbread. Tony enjoys the meal with “swamp water,” a mix of lemonade and sweet tea, as he learns from several Gullah Carolinans about their culture and heritage.
The other experience he had was a private local lunch, which I describe in detail below.
Scott’s Pit Cook BBQ
During his second visit to South Carolina, Bourdain makes another barbecue trip – this time to Scott’s Pit Cook BBQ in Hemingway. It’s a 90-minute drive from Charleston to Hemingway, but Tony says it’s well worth it for their excelent barbeque. During his visit, he tries whole hog barbeque with house sauce, served with cole slaw and white bread.
Other Local Dining Experiences in South Carolina
Anthony Bourdain almost always had several local dining experiences in each episode, and that includes the two episodes he filmed in South Carolina. Briefly, here are the two dining experiences Tony had, and details that might help you recreate them for yourself. (I also mentioned all of the Charleston-specific local experiences he had in my Charleston recap.)
- Local Meal on Mosquito Beach – Located just outside Charleston, Chef BJ Dennis put together a private dinner of Gullah cuisine for Tony during his Charleston episode. The menu included crab with shrimp butter and crusty bread; soft shell crab and conch with peanut stew; Carolina rice; and sauteed squash and zuchini.
- Oyster Roast – During his South Carolina episode, Tony meets up with food writers Matt and Ted Lee for an oyster roast. They stock up at Crosby’s Fish & Shrimp Co. and then head out to a private island to roast them on a wood fire.
As mentioned, you obviously can’t have these exact experiences since they were put together privately for Bourdain and his guests, but they may inspire you to seek out similar dining opportunities during your own trip to South Carolina and Charleston.
Have any questions about these various dining experiences had by Anthony Bourdain in South Carolina? Let me know in the comments!