Ella’s Eats: A Look into The Grocery Charleston

With a menu that changes by the season, The Grocery Charleston is a versatile and must-visit establishment located Downtown.


Upon first walking into The Grocery, I was greeted by kind people and a beautiful establishment. Located in Downtown Charleston, off of Upper King, The Grocery is an incredibly versatile and innovative restaurant that serves delicious spins on Southern cuisine. The interior of the building is gorgeous, complete with high ceilings, lighting that adds to the ambience, and an overall rustic feel, while staying high-end. The Grocery was opened in 2011 with the intention of constantly inventing new ways of eating food in an ingredient-conscience and environmentally-friendly manner. This restaurant is in close proximity to King Street’s ever expanding food scene, holding its place on the map. The staff are very welcoming and knowledgeable of their food, adding to an enjoyable experience. One interesting aspect of the restaurant is their menu. Laid out by ingredient rather than meal type, the menu moves left to right, having appetizers and entrees sprinkled throughout the menu’s three segments: produce, seafood, and meat. 

Per usual, I will begin with the lemonade. This lemonade was the freshest tasting one that I’ve had so far and had a great blend of tart and sweet flavors. Moving on to food, the bread and butter ($5) at The Grocery is absolutely delicious. Locally sourced, this homemade bread and whipped butter makes for a strong start to a meal at The Grocery. When looking at the appetizers, this locally focused restaurant does not disappoint. I am a sucker for anything cauliflower (I’m looking at you, Basic Kitchen Cauli wings) and the Roasted Cauliflower dish ($13) from The Grocery was nothing short of top tier. With a mix of pine nuts, creamy feta cheese, and curry, this cumulation of flavors created a vibrant plate with a unique taste. Moving from produce to seafood, the fried oysters ($15) are a must have. Fried oysters are something that I’ve recently become accustomed to since starting this restaurant review series, and each time they get better and better. This version of fried oysters, in particular, was to die for. Complete with a perfect consistency and a balance of flavor (thanks to the bread and butter pickles on top of the dish), these are a must purchase. Continuing across the menu to the meat section, the duck liver mousse ($15) was a pleasant surprise. While I have never tried anything duck, liver, or mousse related (unless we’re talking about chocolate mousse cake), I was surprised to find this eclectic-sounding dish to be delicious. The plate consisted of local bread topped with duck mousse, complemented with braised persimmon (a type of fruit) and mustard seeds. Overall, the appetizers offered at The Grocery, spanning across the menu, are innovative, compelling, and delicious. 

Moving on to the entrees, The Grocery continued to exceed my expectations. Starting with the bistro steak ($39), the steak was cooked to perfection and had great flavor, specifically with the cream blanche sauce which added a dimension to the dish. Additionally, the plating was very interesting with the potato gratin. The chicken agnolotti ($29) was my personal favorite, although it has recently been rotated off the menu. The agnolotti pasta was cooked well and had a complex flavor, paired with a variety of local greens and cheeses. Finally, the seafood pilau ($65) was the star of the show. Enough to feed two people comfortably, this dish had a heaping portion of Carolina Gold rice, local vegetables, crispy fish, clams, and whole shrimp. Served in a bright orange gorgeous Le Creuset dish, it was very filling and flavorful. One downside of this dish was that the seafood was slightly lacking in flavor but overall, the dish is another must-have, tasted fresh, and is a true Lowcountry experience. If you ever venture to The Grocery, which I 100% recommend that you do, the #1 must-have dish is the churros. The cinnamon-sugar sprinkled pastries had a perfect consistency and the real gem of this dish are the various dipping sauces. From flavorful chocolate to silky caramel to a creme anglaise, these sauces make this dish a three-dimensional experience. Overall, the cuisine, use of fresh ingredients, service, and ambience makes for a truly unforgettable meal and demands that The Grocery is put on everyone’s radar.