Oysters Straight from the Ocean
Few places mean more to Charlestonians than Bowen's Island Restaurant. The restaurant has existed in one form or another since 1946. The original ramshackle building, covered in messages written in Sharpie by years of diners, burned to the ground in 2006 before I had a chance to visit. When I finally did make it out to the wooden shack on the way to Folly Beach, I fell in love. Current owner Robert Barber, a former politician, started rebuilding immediately and continued to feed hungry locals steamed oysters straight from the inlet beyond the dock. The paper plates are modest, but topped with fried seafood, fries and hushpuppies. Oyster lovers will be brought a snow shovel full of the bivalves. Top with cocktail sauce and wash it down with a local beer and you have yourself one of the best dining experiences in town. It may not have awards hanging on the walls or white linen tablecloths, but Bowen's Island Restaurant is where you should be eating in Charleston.