Although few would think to pile peanut butter and bacon onto a burger, the PB3?which has both?is a favorite of Luke 'n Ollie's Pizzeria owner Jonathan Swartz and a legion of loyal customers. According to The Island Eye News, after tasting a similar creation in New Orleans, Swartz worked on his own to add to the Luke ?n Ollie?s menu. Swartz is an expert at adding creative twists to entrees: his chicken sandwich delights tongues with teriyaki sauce and pineapple. But his pizzeria doesn?t shy away from sticking to the classics. Its pizza crusts?made New York-style by a local baker who follows Swartz?s own secret recipe?pile with mozzarella, pecorino, and fresh ingredients, and diners can bite into traditional meatball or eggplant-parmesan subs while lounging amid the dining room?s exposed brick and black-and-white tiled floor.
Guests can also dine alfresco near palm trees on the patio, where the breeze mercifully dries foreheads as their owners take on the Steak Bomb Challenge. A fan of the Food Network and its creative competitions, Swartz decided to create his own challenge: 10 ounces of philly cheesesteak, 8 ounces of hamburger, 4 ounces of italian sausage, and a quarter pound of melted mozzarella sandwiched onto an 18-inch italian sub bun, all flanked by mountains of french fries. If diners can chow it all down in under an hour, they get it for free. Although many have tried, few brave American heroes have gotten their photos tacked up on the Wall of Winners.
Before leaving, diners should remember to get their photo taken or their portrait painted with Ollie, the 5-foot dog statue on the front patio who dons anything from bathing suits to Hazmat suits to Santa hats according to the seasons.
Dragon Palace Chinese Bistro’s Chef Cheng Sin Yung is completely dedicated to authenticity. He commissioned the construction of his bistro in Taiwan and then shipped the eatery to the states piece by piece, instead of taking the easy way out and floating it across the waters via iceberg. To craft meals that live up to his high standards of authenticity, he spent time in Hong Kong, meticulously honing time-honored Chinese recipes and techniques.
Throughout the lavish dining room, decked in rich maroons and golds, artwork from contemporary Chinese visionaries whispers of the ancient culture, and so does the food. Instead of bombarding patrons with a buffet of Chinese food, he painstakingly curates a menu of dishes including five-spice duck and royal steak kew. The menu forays into the unusual with dishes such as seafood bird nest and minced pork with chinese eggplant, but also includes some familiar dishes, such as lo mein and general tso’s chicken.
The Marble Slab Creamery sensory experience begins by just walking past the storefront, where the buttery scent of fresh-baked waffle cones drifts out into the air. Once inside, buckets of gourmet ice cream, crafted on site from Marble Slab’s original French recipe or flown in directly from ice-cream mines high in the northern Himalayas, entice the eyes with a rainbow of colors. Once clients have made a flavor selection, they choose from a smorgasbord of mix-ins, from fresh fruit to nuts to candy and crumbled cookies, which an ice cream chef then hand-folds in atop a frosty marble slab before packing the finished custom-designed flavor masterpiece into a house-made waffle cone.
In addition to procuring hand-held treats, Marble Slab Creamery can send creations home in a variety of other formats, such as ice cream cakes, cupcakes, and hand-packed quarts, or in the capable hands of a catering team that arrives at events with portable marble slabs or sundae bars in tow.
Dessert refuses to be an afterthought at Ye Ole Fashioned Ice Cream & Sandwich Cafe. More than 30 ice-cream flavors—repeatedly lauded by the Charleston City Paper and Moultrie News—pile atop cones or blend into milk shakes, and classic banana splits make mouths water with their pecans and cherries. The café’s scoops of amaretto cherry or java chunk are generous, living up to the vision of Rod Lapin, who opened the first Ye Ole Fashioned in 1972 with the idea of making customers’ jaws drop at the size of his portions.
Today, at more than half a dozen locations, including one helmed by his daughter Becki and her husband, that hasn’t changed. Ten strips of bacon layer the café’s signature BLTs; chili-laden, all-beef hot dogs weigh down their buns; and the plates are required to start lifting weights regularly before they’re allowed to carry double-decker sandwiches or burgers.
Although his only experience in the food industry was assembling sub sandwiches, Joe Fischbein dreamed of owning his own restaurant. To prepare himself, Joe literally worked his way up from dishwasher to prep cook, meeting future partner and professional chef Casey Glowacki along the way. Though their paths diverged, Joe's dream came true in 2004 when Casey asked him to help run his new eatery: Five Loaves Cafe. Since Casey first established the café, it's evolved faster than a tadpole's opinion of legwarmers. Salads and sandwiches dominate the menu, highlighting cold cuts carved from house-roasted meats and dressings made in-house in small batches. Dinner entrees showcase grass-fed, hormone-free beef from Meyers Farm, free-range chicken from Tanglewood Farms, and vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, as well as fresh-cut local pastas from Rio Bertolini's.
Inside the kitchen at Bistro 536, head chef Alastair Nairn and sous chef Michael Rogers craft updated versions of American cuisine that change with the seasons. In a feature on ABC 4's Lowcountry Live!, Nairn explained that his Scottish roots surface in his cooking, whether it's in a blue crab pot pie or classic plates of fish and chips. Low lights and dark woods in the dining room wrap diners in a cozy embrace, inviting soft conversation amid the flickering table candles and wall sconces as radiant as a 5-year old that correctly spelled "sconces". While the menu changes regularly throughout the year, past specialties have included beef medallions with truffled red potatoes, bacon-wrapped scallops, and prosciutto-wrapped salmon with sundried tomato-pesto cream.