Downtown Local Lunch Spots

This week alone, I've been contacted three times by friends in town for a conference or other events for suggestions on lunch, coffee, and family friendly dining downtown. And guess what- I KNOW lunch (and it looks like I must like it best in the form of a bowl). For now, I'm going to focus on local, lunch spots within walking distance of the Francis Marion Hotel, along with my personal favorite lunch pick, a link to their menus, and a full map to guide your way:

(Walkable map)

Closed for Business
Pick: Jimmy Serano Veggie Burger

Monza
Pick: Ciccio Pizza

Juanita Greenberg's
Pick: Chicken Rice Bowl

Leyla
Pick: Lula Kabab

Basic Kitchen
Pick: Salmon Rainbow Bowl

Circe's Grotto
Pick: Cuban Press

Beech
Pick: Delecta-A-Bowl

Verde
Pick: Chickpea Salad

Co
Pick: Koran Short Rib Banh Mi

The Watch
Pick: Fish Tacos

Virginia's on King
Pick: She Crab Soup

Poke Tea House
Pick: Seared Tuna Poke Bowl

39 Rue De Jean
Pick: Brasserie Burger

And in case you aren't motivated enough, some Instagram accounts to follow:

@basic_kitchen (their Instagram is a MUST follow)

@monzapizza

@eatatverde

@therestorationhotel (The Watch)

If you're staying at the Francis Marion Hotel, your closest local, coffee (and craft beer) shop is Kudu, but fair warning, they don't have WiFi, so you're going to have to interact with people and nature for a few minutes.

What are your favorite, downtown lunch spots? This list is all within 10 minutes walking distance of Marion Square.

Bonus:
Current favorite family friendly spots downtown for lunch AND dinner (not necessarily walkable, but space for those toddlers).

Taco Boy
Workshop
HomeTeam BBQ
Fuel
Rutledge Cab Co.
Park Cafe (outside/no dinner)

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Have an idea for a blog post or would like to submit your own Love Letter to the Lowcountry? Email egildea@dunesproperties.com. 

Family Friendly Weekend Outdoors

Well, hello, rain and Monday! These past couple of weekends, we have found ourselves outside without even meaning to be. In the Lowcountry, it doesn't take much effort to find something with a breeze, bench, and people watching. Whether you're from here or visiting, we think the activities below will keep you outdoors and entertained:

SATURDAY

10:00am
Fit Mommy Charleston
This newly discovered group meets during the week and weekends at different parks and locales around the Lowcountry. What a great way to explore! Last weekend's class in Park Circle featured ultimate frisbee followed by circuit training for mom, dad and child. $10/ class or unlimited options available.

11:30am
Marion Square Farmer's Market
This spot is especially packed with entertainment during Spoleto, but takes place every Saturday with the basics; fresh veggies, local artisans, and food. Make it this coming Saturday before Spoleto closes up shop and you'll see dozens of artists, as well. We're fans of bringing a quilt and putting it under a tree for people watching.

1:00pm
Walk down King Street to The Battery
We're sending you on a pretty straight path here, but we also encourage you to veer off onto one of the side streets to find additional charm in the homes and streets of downtown. Try taking a turn down Tradd or Queen street. Pretty stroller friendly. The cobblestone streets rock those babies straight to sleep.

2:30pm
American Made Market (and many more markets)
Charleston has no shortage of artisan markets, but this one is held at one of our favorite dining spots (that's still serving Emily's husband's beet beer, Fan Fiction, on tap!). Follow Thrifters & Drifters, Lowcountry Local First, and US to hear all about them as dates/ times/ locations are released. 

4:00pm
Deck Music at The PourHouse
Kids can let their dance moves loose while parents grab a snack and cold beverage. Check their schedule for all upcoming music, but there's never been a time that we've been here and there hasn't been music playing somewhere.

@chspourhouse

7:00pm
Dinner at Rita's/ Beach Walk
Try to grab an outdoor table to enjoy the beachy breeze. Their signature nachos are a must. Chances are, they'll have music playing, too. When you're ready to walk off those nachos, head on down to Folly, just a couple of blocks away.

SUNDAY

10:00am
Bendy Brewski Yoga at Holy City Brewing
Our one non-kid friendly option of the weekend, but doesn't everyone need a small break? Yoga and beer. You don't need to say much more.

@bendybrewskiyoga

12:00pm
Celadon Flea
More food and local vendors, the last Sunday of every month. The furniture warehouse is open to the public on these days. It's a fun meet up for friends, with great parking. 

@celadonhome

2:00pm
Riverfront Park N. Charleston
Head just around the corner to enjoy art in the park, spectacular views of the Cooper River, and occasional events.

6:00pm
Dinner Al Fresco
Local or not, use some of those veggies and treats you've picked up along the way this weekend to make an outdoor picnic for you and your family on your patio, screened in porch, or yard. Enjoy the silence... we mean, cicadas. 

What's your favorite way to get outside in the Lowcountry? It's not a weekend activity, but Folly Beach Movie Nights are back and they are a kid favorite!
 

 

A Love Letter from Mackenzie Foster

Mackenzie:

“Why would anyone want to leave this wonderful city?” is a question I hear frequently from visiting friends and family.  They are always in awe of the warm sunshine, the diverse restaurant scene, and the abundance of things to do. While I don’t have good answer to their question, I can say that I was one of the ones who left. After four years at the College of Charleston, studying for midterms, lying on the grass at Marion Square, countless hours at the beach, and playing Ultimate Frisbee outdoors all year round, I graduated, packed up, and moved to Chicago. Cold, snowy, eight-months-of-winter, Chicago. My five years in the Windy City were filled new experiences, lots of fun, and many lessons learned, but I do have to admit that moving back to Charleston was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Luckily, the Lowcountry welcomed me back with open arms. My departure and return enabled me to see the Lowcountry in a whole new “rose colored glasses” kind of light. While sitting down to write this post I made a list of all the things that I love about the Lowcountry and what makes it unique (it was a little extensive…). There were many topics that have already been mentioned on Lowcountry Love Letters (including some of my faves- the beauty of brunch, the growing craft brewery scene, and of course the beach) so I narrowed my list to three.

1) People

There is nothing comparable to the people you meet in the Lowcountry. South Carolina’s “Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places” motto is spot on. Upon my return, I immediately appreciated the warm feeling of walking down the street and having complete strangers smile and say hello. While the rest of the country sometimes thinks this is strange, here Southern kindness reigns. I was very impressed by my neighbors who are always willing to lend a helping hand, my coworkers who understand that family comes first, and my friends who are always there when I need them. I get laughed at from my Chicago friends when I tell them I am baking a pie or a casserole to bring to a friend or that a friend is cooking me dinner, but this is just the way people in the Lowcountry treat each other.

Our annual Charleston family Easter took place yesterday, where of course, Mackenzie brought two grits dishes.

2) Pace

When I first moved to Chicago, I worked with a group of individuals from New York who were opening a Broadway musical in the Windy City. I was in the throws of learning the lifestyle differences between what I have always known and what I would need to quickly pick up. One instance stuck out in particular; while driving with a coworker, I was informed that my driving style could be described as “moseying” (he was a little terrified of the defensive drivers). While at the time I was extremely offended, I have now learned to appreciate the notion of “stopping to smell the roses”. Most of those that I have met upon my return to the Lowcountry have perfected the art of a work-life balance. They understand the beauty of sitting on the porch with a cold beverage, watching the world go by, or taking a long slow stroll down the beach while catching up with a friend.  In a city filled with such beauty, it seems as though the inhabitants ensure that they take in and appreciate all that the Lowcountry has to offer.

3) Culture
As someone who has a background in theatre and the arts, I understand the South is sometimes perceived as having limited options when it comes to the world of art. Luckily, Charleston does not follow suit. We have Spoleto Festival USA, (which is coming up quickly!) offering seventeen days of world-renowned artists who come in from all over the globe to present dance, theatre, opera, and music.  We have the French Quarter Art Walk happening four times a year, touring Broadway shows coming through the North Charleston Performing Arts Center (Phantom of the Opera going on now!), contemporary art centers like Redux and The Halsey Institute, Reggae Nights Summer concerts, improv at Theatre 99, dance projects like DanceFX, concerts at the Charleston Music Hall or the Music Farm and the list continues. There is always something new and fun to experience.

Bio (by Emily):
Mackenzie lives in Mt. Pleasant with her diva cat, Lucille. She spends her days running the world of set design and production for various projects that include Spoleto, President Obama's visit last year, Darius Rucker's surprise CMT concert on the Isle of Palms and more. Her evenings and weekends are filled with outdoor adventures, glorious first sips of champagne, and bad television with her best girlfriends.