I hail from the town of the Jazz Brunch. In New Orleans, brunch is the city at its best. It is families gathered around white tablecloths, sharing bites of Bananas Foster and Boudin & Eggs to the sound of a jazz band playing, “Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?”
I can answer a resounding yes to this song, but I’ve found Lowcountry brunch to be just as delicious, and more down to business. While there’s always a seer-suckered Sunday brunch around the corner in Charleston, I’ve found my favorite brunches are this way: wooden tables and brunch items served unabashedly on big white plates.
I’ve searched the city and found my three favorite spots for this kind of brunch. Unlike breakfast, which happens every day whether you have it continental or on the way to class, brunch is a choice and a celebration. When planning my brunch itinerary, a friend asked, “Why can’t we go at 9 a.m.?” Brunch is not breakfast, I said. It is not something you plan at the start of your day, but rather the point to it. Brunch should be a celebration, a toast of Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s to life, filled with shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, and one (or three) too many biscuits. So go celebrate something this Sunday at one of these Charleston brunch spots, and I promise you’ll never confuse breakfast and brunch again.
Early Bird Diner
1644 Savannah Highway
Open 8 a.m. to 4 a.m. on weekends
Brunch can’t get any more down to earth than at Early Bird Diner on Savannah Highway. The Early Bird is worth the drive, and serves heaping plates of all your Lowcountry favorites for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you have a savory tooth, this is definitely the no-frills spot for your late night craving for shrimp and grits – theirs is served with jumbo shrimp covered in a thick tomato-based sauce with a biscuit on the side. If the tomato bacon gravy seems too heavy, request for the shrimp to be fried in their sweet and spicy jelly.
49 S. Market St.
Brunch Saturday and Sunday starting at 10 a.m
Take a walk down to the market on a nice day and stop by Lowcountry Bistro for brunch. Owned by 82 Queen, Lowcountry Bistro is a great way to have a sophisticated brunch in a casual setting. Try their Biscuits and Jam made with their homemade preserves and the Jambalaya Benedict made like a traditional Benedict but with a creole hollandaise sauce for a blend of Creole and Lowcountry flavors.
474 King St.
Brunch all day, Tuesday to Sunday
If you’ve been to The Rarebit on a weekend night, you may not recognize it as a great brunch spot, but it serves breakfast food all day, every day. Its retro-diner aesthetic and home cooked flavors will have you nostalgic for a decade you weren’t even alive for. When selecting your brunch item, don’t go any further than the Chicken and Waffles. An entire fried chicken breast is served on top of a thick Belgian waffle and topped with housemade Sorghum infused syrup – truly savory and sweet incarnate. If you would like something lighter, try the Huevos Rancheros – it delivers a warm Mexican roasted taste with the freshness of avocado on top.