Food & Drink

The Best Brunches in 16 Charleston Neighborhoods

Weekends are made for brunching. It’s the perfect marriage of breakfast and lunch, where any dish is appropriate to eat before noon as long as you put an egg on it -- and to truly appreciate this harmonious and sanctified meal in all its glory, you’ll need to know the best places to go. To that end, here are the best brunches in 16 of the Holy City’s most popular neighborhoods, so you'll never have to stumble too far for good food and mimosas on Sunday morning.

1kept
Chris Watkins/Thrillist

Ansonborough

1Kept
Trendy and contemporary spot with cozy breakfast dishes and rosé all day
1Kept is one of the many restaurants in Charleston that proves that being in a hotel doesn’t preclude you from having fantastic, quality food. Having opened last July, they only introduced their brunch menu in January of this year, which features shareable dishes like the dippy egg (with toast points for, you guessed it, dipping), hearty dishes like the Southern Benedict (with rice cakes and Benton’s ham), or lighter dishes like a quinoa bowl (with grapefruit supremes and dried cranberries). Add in some rosé all day for $25 or a DIY Aperol spritz bar and some live music, and you’ve got yourself the makings of a stellar brunch party.

the park cafe
Courtesy of Jonathan Boncek

Hampton Park

The Park Cafe
Fresh neighborhood cafe with greenery-lined walls & a menu of international influences
Park Cafe is arguably one of the prettiest restaurants in all of Charleston. But PC’s not just a pretty face; it’s got some of the freshest, tastiest food north of Calhoun. The space is bright and airy, and the offerings tend to be a little on the lighter side (like the The Park Lettuces salad with pickled shiitake), perfect for those of you who still need to be, ugh, productive afterwards.

caviar and bananas
Courtesy of Boncek Images

Lower King

Caviar & Bananas
A one-stop shop for coffee, gourmet grocery items, and grab-and-go fare
This little gourmet market & cafe is nestled just a block off of King St near the College of Charleston’s campus. The newly introduced brunch features an eclectic variety of options for different diets and tastes -- but nothing can beat the crispy chicken buttermilk biscuit (Southern fried chicken topped with scrambled egg, aged Cheddar, and tasso gravy on a flaky buttermilk biscuit). It’s not on anyone’s diet list, but it sure is tasty.

NoMo

Edmund's Oast
A wall of beer and dry-aging meats set the tone in this New American-style brewpub
The first thing you’ll notice when walking into Edmund’s Oast will be the giant wall of beer. The second thing is all the meat hanging around (probably not the best place to bring your vegetarian friend). When it comes to brunch at this sophisticated brewpub, you’d be an idiot not to try some of the charcuterie that Edmund’s does so well (is it ever too early for charcuterie? Nope.) paired with an order of the cornbread with honey butter, and maybe the PB&J beer if it’s on tap.

los dog care
Courtesy of Lost Dog Cafe

Folly Beach

Lost Dog Cafe
Beachy, hound-friendly diner serving up American classics
If you want to try the best biscuits and gravy you’ve ever eaten in your life while surrounded by hundreds of pictures of puppies, then you need to change into your stretchy pants and hightail it (pun intended) to Lost Dog Cafe on Folly Beach. The cozy cafe is a favorite of locals and tourists alike, and is perpetually busy, so be prepared to wait for a while to get a table. Help pass the time by grabbing a Mason jar mimosa or Bloody Mary from the bar to sip on while you wait.

Wiki Wiki Sandbar
A lively and tropical South Pacific restaurant with a Hawaiian-influenced menu
Highly anticipated before opening, Wiki Wiki Sandbar has definitely exceeded expectations as a favorite of both locals and tourists alike. For brunch, the menu is fully stacked with both Lowcountry and Hawaiian favorites, with enough options to satisfy any palate. If you’re feeling pretty hungry, the Pu Pu Platter is a fun way to start a meal, and offers a great selection of appetizers, like char siu ribs, five-spiced wings, wiki sticks, coconut shrimp, and more (yes, more). For adventurous eaters, you won’t want to miss the Spam Hash with potatoes, beef gravy, and a poached egg. And for those looking for something a little less out of the comfort zone, the Wiki Fried Chicken Sandwich is everything a fried chicken sandwich should be.

Isle of Palms

Sea Biscuit Cafe
Down-home breakfast joint where eggs and bacon are king
When you’re looking for a solid, no-frills brunch that satisfies your need for grease and eggs, Sea Biscuit Cafe definitely hits the spot. It's been a staple on IOP for more than 27 years, so it must be doing something right. But be warned! It’s cash only, so leave the plastic at home. We recommend trying the crab cake Benedict with a side of shrimp & gravy.

James Island

The Lowdown Oven and Bar
Low-key neighborhood tavern with elevated pub food & a fantastic outdoor patio
If you think all brunch food should be served in little cast-iron skillets, then you need to get to The Lowdown on James Island, stat. While not every single menu item is served in a skillet, the frittata, cornbread, and Dutch baby all are, and each one is more delicious than the last. The menu has a wide variety of options, ranging from sweet to savory, and all are hearty enough to make you want to go home and nap afterward. But hey, isn’t that what Sundays are for?

Johns Island

Fat Hen
Casual bistro where French and Southern cuisine come together harmoniously
Johns Island might be off the beaten path a bit, but Fat Hen makes it worth the drive. Marrying the best of Lowcountry cuisine with French classics results in culinary masterpieces like the pulled BBQ duck sandwich, topped with house-made BBQ sauce, bacon blue cheese slaw, and pommes frites. C'est magnifique.

North Charleston

Madra Rua
Cozy, Irish-style pub with authentic recipes and cold beer
Located in the coolest neighborhood in North Charleston -- Park Circle -- Madra Rua is an Irish pub that’s a favorite among locals for its authentic Irish recipes and ice-cold layered drafts. On Saturdays & Sundays, it serves one of the best and heartiest brunches in North Chuck, featuring favorites like the Irish eggs Benedict with house-made corned beef, or the giant breakfast burger.

The Junction Kitchen and Provisions 
A rustic, constantly busy kitchen serving breakfast, lunch, and grab-and-go meals
The Junction is perennially popular regardless of the time of day, but brunch is by far their sweet spot. You’ll want to get there early if you expect to grab a table without a long wait, but even if the wait is long, don’t second-guess yourself. The menu features a lot of Mexican-inspired dishes, like the shouldn’t-be-missed Mexican Hash (cactus braised pork, black bean pico, crispy cheesy hashbrowns, over easy egg, avocado, and honey jalapeno chutney) or the Not Your Mamacita’s Burrito (scrambled eggs, swiss, coffee rubbed bacon, sweet potato chips & white balsamic drizzle). Best off all, many of the dishes on the menu can be made vegetarian or vegan, so everyone can be happy!

The Obstinate Daughter
Courtesy of The Obstinate Daughter

Sullivan’s Island

Obstinate Daughter
Bright space with nautical flair and a menu full of pastas, pizzas, and seafood
One of Sullivan’s Island’s newest and most popular restaurants, Obstinate Daughter’s brunch menu has a bit of everything. For those of you needing your sugar fix first thing in the morning, we recommend the French toast with local berries. If you’re more into the savory options, you can’t go wrong with the OD skillet, chock-full of potatoes, chorizo, mushrooms, and eggs. Or get both. We’re not the boss of you.

Summerville

Palmetto Flats
Italian- and Southern-influenced bites and a build-your-own Bloody bar
Palmetto Flats is the kind of restaurant that you’d expect to find in downtown Mayberry, complete with kindly neighborhood servers who take your order as if you’ve been friends your whole life. Brunch is served every Sunday from 10am-3pm and runs the gamut from various versions of eggs Benedict, to pecan French toast, to biscuits and gravy. There’s also a Bloody Mary and mimosa bar, complete with a variety of juices, Fat and Juicy and Charleston Bloody Mary mix, fresh fruit, and various vegetables for your Bloodys that are just as fun to make as they are to drink.

West Ashley

Early Bird Diner
Funky neighborhood joint serving up classic diner food with a modern twist
Early Bird Diner is frequently found on “best of” lists when it comes to Charleston dining, and it really lives up to the hype. It’s classic Southern cooking done right, with breakfast being served all day (meaning until 4am on Friday & Saturday nights). The true star of the EBD brunch menu are the chicken and waffles (pecan-encrusted fried chicken and a cinnamon waffle drizzled with honey mustard and syrup), which might just change your life.

Upper King

Prohibition
Prohibition-themed spot (duh) with heavy jazz and Southern influences
At first glance at speakeasy-style restaurant Prohibtion’s menu, you might think it was your typical brunch fare, but the great thing about Chef Greg Garrison is his ability to take a classic and give it a new and unexpected twist. Take, for example, the huevos rancheros, which are served with jasmine rice, black bean salsa, chorizo fried eggs, and a lime cream. Or the stuffed French toast, with sweet cream, apricot, and macerated berries. You can also get unlimited mimosas or a fantastic cocktail to quench your thirst during your meal (and you don't even need to do a secret knock to get it).

Virginia's on King
Courtesy of Virginia's on King

King Street Historic District

Virginia's on King
Classic Southern cuisine with heavy low country influences
Named after a sweet local woman known for her fantastic Southern cooking, Virginia’s on King keeps that rich tradition alive during their popular weekend brunch. The menu is chock full of Southern-inspired dishes, like tomato pie, fried chicken livers, and fried chicken. The real star of their brunch menu is the shrimp and grits Benedict, which marries Charleston’s quintessential dish, shrimp and grits, with everyone’s favorite brunch item, eggs Benedict and features fried grit cakes and Tabasco hollandaise. Talk about Lowcountry flair!

Halls Chophouse
An old-school steakhouse with a gospel brunch and Southern entrees
By night, Halls Chophouse is a typical steakhouse with dim lighting and family-style portions, but on Sunday mornings the restaurant transforms into a Southern sanctuary for their Gospel brunch, complete with a live (and local) gospel choir. The menu consists of Southern brunch favorites -- like shrimp & grits, crab cake eggs Eggs Benedict, and sweet potato pancakes -- as well as mimosas, Bloody Marys, and Bellinis to wash it all down. Who could ask for more?

Parcel 32
A bright, airy cafe with fresh and inventive brunch selections
Parcel 32 might only be celebrating its one-year anniversary in Charleston, but it looks like they’ll be here to stay. The atmosphere is gorgeous -- from the plant wall as you walk in, to the unique tile floor, to the framed historical posters and trinkets on the walls, it’s basically a Pinterest board come to life. The menu consists of fresh, local ingredients prepared with modern techniques. Favorites include the chicken and buttermilk waffles with scallion cream cheese and benne seeds, and the duck confit hash with sofrito and charred spring onion. Their drinks are equally unique, and you would be remiss to pass up the Parcel Spritz, made with Champagne, Aperol, grapefruit-elderflower Cannonborough Soda.

Mount Pleasant

Crave Kitchen and Cocktails
Award-winning mac & cheese that’s worth the drive to Mount Pleasant
One of Mount Pleasant’s best-kept secrets sits tucked away in the unassuming Target shopping center on the way to Isle of Palms. Whether you eat inside at the impeccably decorated dining room or outside on the open patio, you're all but guaranteed a great experience. For brunch, we recommend The Charleston (fried green tomatoes with house-made hollandaise, Bering sea crab meat, and poached eggs) or Chef Landen Ganstrom’s famous mac and cheese -- because what's the point of being an adult if you can't eat mac and cheese for breakfast?

Grace and Grit
A haven for the passionate grits connoisseur
Although seafood and Southern fare feature heavily on the menu, it’s Grace and Grit’s namesake that is the true shining star at brunch. The grit flight offers four distinctly different ways to try the South’s favorite grain: with pimento cheese, blueberry, peaches and cream, and Brussels sprouts pesto, giving your tastebuds new ways to try an old staple. But the grits flavor combos don’t stop there! Order your grits a la carte and you can choose from 14 different flavors, like smoked pecan and maple, coconut cream, and gumbo. (Gr)it’s all good!

Nico
A seafood-forward menu with French and Lowcountry influences
A quick jaunt over the Cooper River Bridge will lead you to Nico, a lively French-inspired oyster and seafood bistro right off Shem Creek. Offered on Sundays only, the brunch menu has plenty of seafood options, like the smoked salmon Benedict and the lobster roll, but also caters heavily to the non-seafood crowd as well. The Monte Cristo (ham, Gruyère, dijon, harissa honey) is sinfully decadent, while the La Salade Verte (lettuce, tomato, goat cheese cigar pickled cucumber, dijon vinaigrette) is light and airy while still being hearty enough to satisfy. Oyster lovers definitely shouldn’t leave without trying the Shuck Off cocktail with Bekah’s Bay oyster, dixie vodka, and Charleston bloody mix.

bay street biergarten
Terrence Edwards

Wraggborough

Bay Street Biergarten
Lively, German-influenced sports bar with a huge beer list and themed brunches
If you're looking for a brunch that doubles as a party, Bay Street Biergarten is definitely the spot. On the second Sunday of each month, BSB hosts a themed brunch complete with drink specials, delicious food (we recommend pretzel bombs, crème brûlée French toast, or the breakfast burger), and a DJ pumping out tunes all morning long -- popular themes have included Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, and the upcoming Beyoncé brunch. Plus, the last Sunday of every month lets you brunch for a cause with Puppies & Pints benefiting Lowcountry Animal Rescue (with the added bonus of being surrounded by puppies).

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Sydney Gallimore is a Charleston-based food writer & social media addict who can probably brunch you under the table. See the proof at @Sydney_Inc.