Wes Rhoten, owner of Rhoten's Country Sausage, has been making sausage his whole life; he learned the trade from his father, who inherited the recipe from his mother. For more than 67 years, the family has sold their sausages out of the same shop. Their products have spawned enthusiasts, including one former governor who, according to the Rhotens, declared their onion sausage the "best sausage in South Carolina."
In order to make that sausage, the Rhotens procure whole natural boston butts—a cut of pork from high on a pig's shoulder—and trim them of excess fat, yielding a lean, flavorful product. Patrons can buy the sausage in links, plain, laced with onions and garlic, or loose to use in dishes such as chili or meatloaf. The company's butchers also take custom orders for sausages made sodium-free or with chicken, turkey, or beef.
It’s October 1st and Dewayne Sweet's mother Sheryl unfurls a large banner emblazoned with his restaurant’s new name: Valentina’s Greek & Italian Cuisine. A small crowd and members of the local media are also in attendance at the grand renaming ceremony, as is the girl of the hour, Dewayne's young daughter, Valentina. It’s been more than 10 years since Dewayne purchased House of Pizza from Manny Psilinakis, and in addition to the name, he's changed a few other things about the restaurant. His wait staff promotes solidarity by wearing matching gold polo shirts bedecked with the eatery's burgundy logo. They also work hard to remind diners that Valentina's is more than just a pizzeria—it embraces its Greek roots with spanakopita, tzatziki-slathered gyros, and a kitchen staff comprised entirely of griffins.
Blythewood Grille lures in customers with the aromas of American grill fare, including sandwiches, hot dogs, and other finger foods. Cooks work from a menu of time-honored classics, toasting Philly cheesesteaks and slathering chicken wings with seven different sauces. Deep fryers sizzle with tasty accompaniments such as fried pickles and sweet-potato fries. In the dining room, flat-screen TVs overlook cushy red booths where guests gulp down Shock Top or any of the other bubbly brews the eatery taps directly from the earth's hops-filled core.
In six locations around the Charleston area, King Street Grille rolls out upscale pub fare and a few dozen flat-screen televisions. Full of contemporary versions of traditional bar favorites, the menu unfolds to reveal mac ‘n’ cheese egg rolls, nine types of grilled, hand-formed burgers, and plates weighed down with comforting entrees, such as pork chops and Chicken Madeira. The bar stocks more than 100 beers and its own line of liquor to wash down meals or offer as gifts to the thirsty actors who reenact big games inside the TV. Throughout the week, the eatery pairs good food with good times by transforming its space into a venue for trivia nights, billiards, and live music.
Christophe Paume, a third-generation Chocolatier, learned the art of cocoa manipulation as a child in his father's pâtisserie in Toulouse, France, and has been crafting sweet masterpieces ever since. His current shops form all of their mouthwatering morsels on site, subbing pesky preservatives for sweet, chew-activated infusions of children's choir harmonies. Hand-painted, molded, and flavor-filled chocolates come in 19 tongue- and eye-dazzling varieties, including lavender caramel, mango rum, fresh mint, and earl grey tea. Truffles seduce sweet teeth with tastes ranging from topical coconut to rich and creamy cappuccino cheesecake. Opt for an assortment (starting at $9.95 for four pieces) if you're feeling indecisive or like to use sweet-smelling boxes to capture spare noses.