The Red Pepper is a single Italian eatery with rich roots. The owner first learned the ropes of the restaurant business at his grandmother's Italian restaurant in Rochester, New York. As he developed his skills, he and his family began opening their own eateries across the country, each time granting the locals with their own Italian cuisine. Eventually, the family settled in Summerville and The Red Pepper was born. There, red umbrellas and baskets of flowers dot an outdoor patio, drawing diners into the fresh air for alfresco meals composed of classic Italian cuisine including pizza, panini, and cold and hot hoagies. In the kitchen, chefs craft savories from ingredients such as tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella. The dinner menu abounds with seafood and pasta dishes, and for dessert, the owner’s wife handcrafts treats from Old-World recipes his family has cherished for generations.
Friends for more than a decade, Michael Biondi, Steve McCauley, and Joey Siconolfi share a love of board games, the outdoors, and, perhaps most importantly, brewing beer. At their Charleston nanobrewery, Frothy Beard Brewing Co, the trio draws on local ingredients to craft an eclectic lineup of flagship, seasonal, and specialty pours. Along with mainstays, including a ginger-flavored pale ale, Frothy Beard's 1.5-barrel system yields everything from coconut-milk stouts to peppermint porters. Pints and flights flow freely in the brewery's taproom, where bartenders also fill take-home growlers or the cupped-together hands of especially thirsty patrons.
Beneath the shade of oak trees bearing Spanish moss, Irvin~House Vineyards' owners Jim and Ann Irvin concoct five award-winning wines from four varieties of muscadine grape grown and harvested on their 48-acre property. Each batch fills bottles adorned with labels crafted by local Charleston artists before visitors sample their muscadine-rich flavors during tastings and tours. In addition to weekly winery sessions, the Irvins enthrall community members and wine connoisseurs alike with varied events, such as bluegrass and grape-stomping festivals, held on land that shelters a renovated party barn, flower and vegetable garden, chicken coop, and outdoor picnic area. The Irvins' acreage also accommodates Firefly Distillery, which supplies tastings of its Firefly vodka and Sea Island rum to curious visitors and marooned pirates bemoaning their empty flasks.
The grape gurus at Gas Light Art and Wine Gallery pour glasses of flavorful ambrosias in a gallery adorned with several pieces of art showcasing humankind’s furry four-legged best friends. For the flight of Lost Dog wine, guests can treat their taste buds to a sampling of four classic varietals—chardonnay, white zinfandel, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon. After each glass has been lapped up, crack open a full bottle of your choice of Lost Dog wine, each one graced with an oil painting of a canine that barks with every uncorking (a $19.95 value).
O' Hara & Flynn's wine selection contains a menu of more than 25 wines by the glass and many more by the bottle, each of which is hand picked by the shop's owners. Enjoy light, elegant snacks—like artisan cheeses, meats, breads and olives—at one of the shop's rustic wood tables or comfortable bar area, or bring the party outside the shop's walls with a variety of wines and specialty foods available for purchase. Try a glass of South Australian Darby and Joan chardonnay or South African Passages merlot ($8 for a glass). Most glasses of wine run about $8, while bottles range from $28–$60. Sample a few new wines in one sitting with a wine tasting flight (any two or more are available at glass price, consult in-store for more info), in order to fully stimulate each of your tongue's tastes zones, including sweet, bitter, zing, and kapow. Alongside the lineup of hard-to-find wines are a variety of craft beers from around the world, like the Belgian Cherish Lambic ($7). Alternatively, you can stay domestic with the locally brewed East Bay IPA ($5).