Where to eat in Charleston, SC
We are fortunate to live in the land of great eating and wonderful restaurants. I don’t think we have had a bad dining experience from any restaurant in the Charleston area, and I can’t say that about any other place we have lived. Last weekend we ate at what is now my favorite place, an old gas station, sort of. The restaurant, called Fuel, is in a building that started out as an old gas station, but now serves Caribbean themed food. We sat at our tables in the outside dining area, and relaxed while the sun shone and the fans cooled. It seems that more of the restaurant is outdoors than in, and I like that. If all the tables are full, patrons can wait in the outdoor living room, sitting on couches and enjoying the almost tropical mood. Diners can relax and chat, traffic is barely heard or noticed. The patio is a quiet outdoor living space. The flowers, the building, the dogs and laughing people made me feel like I was in Central America.
We ordered appetizers, hoe cakes. These little corn meal cakes that used to be cooked on a hoe over a fire in the fields are now gourmet foods, spicy and wonderful. Next we ordered our main dishes. I chose Braised Pork Tacos with fried plantains. Plantains are a type of banana that has to be cooked, and are commonly found in Central America. I love them. My son ate the jerk chicken sandwich, and my daughter enjoyed a chorizo burger. My husband had a goat cheese salad, which he enjoyed. I found the cheese to be too rich for me, but the salad toned it down. The food choices were plentiful, the atmosphere was relaxing, and every bite of food had great flavor. Anytime I can eat outside and not suffer heat stroke I am very happy, and the dining area was both shaded and cooled by fans. The bathrooms were original from the gas station days, with graffiti on the walls. I almost looked for a key on a stick to return to the attendant. Luckily they were cleaned better than old gas station bathrooms. Fuel has been featured on Diners, Drive Inns and Dives, and although I have not seen that episode I can see why this place was chosen.
Apparently many people take their dogs with them to eat around here. I think this is strange. Do these people go take the dog for a walk, and while out strolling say to themselves, “lets go out to eat, I’m sure Fido will love it too.” Somehow I think the dogs are not as happy as the rest of us, while we are enjoying our black bean burgers and pulled pork tacos the dogs are sitting under the tables smelling all this food and not getting to eat any delicious scraps. This weekend a very smart group of people had taken their dogs out, volunteers from an animal shelter. Every dog was wearing a vest that was embroidered with “adopt me” and the humans kept wandering around the outdoor patio with these adorable little family seeking animals. Almost every restaurant that has an outdoor section has dogs here in Charleston.
I am looking forward to sharing this restaurant with my visiting family and friends. I like the outdoor feel, the friendliness of the staff and the wonderful creative food. But I will not be sharing this place with my dog, I am not interested in keeping up with my animal friend while relaxing on the patio, and I am not sharing my meal, not one bite. I am too greedy for that!