There are people who love cooking from scratch and people who shudder at the thought of assembling a turkey club sandwich. Rosewood Market and Deli caters to both. Aisles of grocery items help list-makers check off boxes for gluten-free food, pasture-raised meats and eggs, and local raw milks. The produce section harvests organic choices from local farms, and the cheese case displays sticks and slices from around the region and the globe. In the deli, soups, salads, desserts, baked goods, and other items satisfy tastes from vegan to carnivore. Quick meals in the grab-n-go case include sandwiches and salads that can be topped with homemade dressings and spreads, such as tamari gravy dill vinaigrette and a spicy chipotle spread.
Rosewood Market and Deli has matured from its beginnings as the Basil Pot restaurant in 1973. It’s grown while adhering to the idea that “people can take an active, hands-on approach to their own wellness through delicious food,” as it proclaims on its website. A commitment to sustainability permeates the market, from its cardboard-recycling dumpster and reusable produce boxes to its compostable utensils and ability to accept biodegradable credit cards.
Next to the day's special dishes, the chalkboard at Alluette's Café proudly proclaims a few phrases that may shock loyalists to the fried-chicken school of soul food: "Vegans Welcome," "This is a no Pork Cafe," "Organic & Natural Products," and "Fresh Local Seafood." Alluette Jones-Smalls has been cooking up what she calls "holistic soul food" in various ventures since 1993, but after she overcame the cancer that nearly claimed her life, she embraced the concept of fresh ingredients, free of toxic chemicals, with more vigor than ever.
Now, she's come back to her Charleston roots at Aluette's Café. She cooks everything up to order, which takes a little longer—but Travel + Leisure magazine makes it clear that it's worth the wait, calling the food "vegetable-centric, truly luscious, Southern food." O, The Oprah Magazine's Celia Barbour praised the shrimp as "quite possibly the tastiest … I've ever eaten, dusted with spicy flour and fried so lightly that each sweet crustacean bore a crisp, fragile shell." Alluette doesn't add sugar to any of her dishes or drinks—including her signature Aunt Mary's iced tea, which is sweetened with fruit juice.
Guests can admire the local artwork on Alluette's brightly painted walls as they wait for local shrimp over organic, seasonal greens or hormone-free grilled chicken with brown rice and lima beans. Alluette frequently invites live musicians, poets, and other artists to perform in the shop, and out on the patio, herbs and flowers uproot themselves to waltz for diners.
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.
Periwinkle Cafe & Bakery composes a symphony of locally roasted, organically grown coffee and creative sandwiches, wraps, and pastries forged with fresh ingredients and house-baked bread. Periwinkle’s lunch menu puts a unique spin on classic sandwich creations, such as the ham and apple-butter sandwich ($6.49), which contains Black Forest ham, monterey jack cheese, and dollops of apple butter snuggled safely between slices of fresh-baked Breadsmith bread and a combination padlock. A halved veggie wrap ($5.49), stuffed graciously with seven blushing vegetables and Mediterranean hummus, arrives at tables sporting a dapper fez and flanked by an accompaniment of salad, soup, or fruit salad. Lounge on the spacious outdoor patio, the site of the former Periwinkle Tea Room, and relish bites of cinnamon rolls ($2.50 each), danishes ($2.25 each), or turnovers ($2.25 each).
As they enter under the hanging wood sign bearing a carving of grapes and shuffle past the gray stone and golden stucco façade, patrons at Kozani Restaurant & Bar find themselves transported to the warm kitchens and rolling vineyards of the Mediterranean. Aromas from spices imported from Italy, Greece, Israel, and Lebanon waft through the dining room, signaling the arrival of Mediterranean dishes, including recipes from head chef Tim Robinson's favored region of Emilia Romagna. While he focuses on Northern Italian dishes, the chef also consistently snares an eclectic blend of local ingredients, such as produce and seafood, and crafts gluten-free versions of every dish on the menu. He often appears on the floor to meet clientele, roaming the dining room to chat with diners and make sure their forks have the proper number of prongs. To compliment his dishes, the serving staff often pairs meals with more than 80 wines hailing from Europe, South and North America, and Australia.