Greetings my fellow 29407 & 29414ers! Somehow, the powers that be decided that letting me have a column in this paper would be a good idea. You can call me Mr. Eats, a.k.a. the dude behind the Instagram
@westashleyeats. Go follow it, NOW!
I won’t share a bunch of stuff about what or why I have this page, but if you care, check out the write up in last month’s issue.
This first column is a brief evolution of the West Ashley food scene. I’m 41, born and raised in the 29407 and a few years back moved to the 29414. Growing up in the ’80s and early ’90s my family’s rotation mostly revolved around Bessinger’s BBQ (Northbridge) Applebees, Kenny Rogers Roasters (currently Señor Tequila), Western Sizzlin (currently Ms. Roses Fine Foods), Quincy’s (current Verizon), Carey Hilliards (currently King Claw), ChiChi’s (Sam Ritt), Cisco’s (Northbridge) and if it was a big birthday or something special, Red Lobster (somehow still there).
Bessinger’s is still great, but the rest of those places are long dead and gone. You see, a “Charleston’s Cool” era began to sweep over the whole city about 20 years or so ago. I know, a good percentage of you probably moved here during this period, so you know what I mean. Slowly, everyone flocked to check out the new, hip concept or James Beard award-winning chef downtown. I admit, I was one of them. And still eat downtown quite often. I’m not hating, just sayin’.
West Ashley became somewhat of a food desert, even those big name chains couldn’t stay open. It got to the point where you had to go to Mt. Pleasant or downtown to enjoy a great meal out with friends. Yes, we had a few hidden gems, but slowly those faded away as well. (RIP Liberty Cafe).
Now press fast forward on your tape players … STOP! It’s 2021 and I feel the tide has turned, especially after the city was locked down during the COVID-19 pandemic, the May riot, and an uptick in crime on King Street. I feel like West Ashley is suddenly the cool kid on the block.
Let’s try something, I know you have your phone in your hand or in your pocket — log onto Instagram & check @westashleyeats right now. You see all those pictures? They are all amazing West Ashley restaurants! There are places you may not even know exist right under your nose. Have you been to The Gathering Cafe? I will put it against any local vegan/vegetarian spot in town. Have you been to El Molino Supermarket? If you haven’t, I’m sure you have seen a million pictures of those taco boxes. How about Old Li’s Restaurant? Honestly the most authentic and best Chinese I have personally ever had.
Look, I’m not a restaurant critic, I’m not here to tell you who has the best barbecue or pizza. I’m just your neighborhood middleman. You log on, check @westashleyeats, and I will put you on that fire. So the next time friends want to go out, or you have people in town, give West Ashley another shot. I’m just here to make it easy on you, so if you can’t decided, just check out @westashleyeats. I guarantee something will catch your eye. Alright folks, I gotta wrap this up! If you are still reading this, damn, I really appreciate it! Stay Cool.