Before we dive into my experience as a guest at one of my favorite restaurants, I want to let our readers know that this will be my last blog post for BevSpot. I’ll be moving on to help the bar and restaurant industry in other ways, and I leave this wonderful source of industry knowledge in Reggie’s capable hands.
Thank you, Rachael. You’ve been an incredible force of mentorship and leadership in our content team. I’m sure I can speak for all of our readers when I wish you the best of luck in your future.
Getting back to the task at hand, what is a memorable experience you’ve had at a restaurant or bar?
There’s this place called Edmund’s Oast in Charleston, SC. Joe and I went down there for the Charleston Wine + Food Festival earlier this year, where I was attending events, interviewing some industry experts and writing a few articles for the BevSpot blog. Two of our good friends also live in Charleston, so we spent a lot of time with them.
Was this place a local recommendation then?
Yeah. Our friends, Tim and Bobbi, both work in the restaurant scene [in Charleston], so they know a lot of people in town. We were really taken care of and made to feel like friends.
The night before our dinner at Edmund’s Oast, we went to one of the events that was part of the wine and food festival. It was called Pecha Kucha, and it was kind of like a TED talk for the food industry. The owner of Edmund’s Oast, Scott Shor, spoke about restaurant reviews and online bullying in the form of Yelp reviews, and it was pretty funny, actually.
I feel like everybody in the industry hates Yelp. So that’s not surprising.
He came over when we were at dinner the next night, and we were all laughing about some of the review messages he’s received. During his talk, he mentioned a review card someone left him that said “YOU ARE DOOMED,” which is hilarious and awful. So we left that on our review card after our meal, too. We all had a good laugh, and it was nice to feel like we were a part of that group and that establishment.
To get more a personal connection.
So, when you saw the owner before, at the talk, it felt more special than a complete stranger walking up to your table.
Our friend Tim worked at Edmund’s Oast briefly, during its beginnings, so he knew the owner.
Did the owner know you were coming?
No, it was more small talk. Like, hey, my friends are in town. Here they are. Meet them.
What was the restaurant like?
Edmund’s Oast calls itself a brew pub, but it’s much more. They have this amazing beer selection, which includes even a peanut butter and jelly beer, which sounds awful but is actually not. They brew these really delicious juicy IPAs, which I like a lot. You can see the whole brewery behind these big, glass walls…
Oh, so it was like a taproom?
Yeah, they brew all their beer in the back and have part of the brewery on display behind the bar. The space sort of looks like a German beer hall, but a beautifully designed modern version. Very high ceilings. A lot of wood. Long bench tables.
Was all the beer being served their own creations?
They serve about 10 of their own rotating beers, but they offer other beers, too. Their list of sours is especially impressive, which I appreciated because sour beers are my favorite. They also serve charcuterie, which they do in-house. It’s all very nose-to-tail. And I know they’re all about partnering with local farmers and building relationships with the community through the produce they source.
Could you feel that feeling of community in the establishment?
Definitely. I think people love it because it’s such a part of the community. It’s relaxed. It’s loud. It’s fun. And the quality of food they’re serving is really high. It’s one of those local establishments that you just have to go to.
A local favorite. That makes sense. We do have a bunch of those kinds of places here, too.
We sure do.
What would you say was different there than the places here? Did anything stand out?
Nothing in particular, actually. I guess the menu is a little more Southern-inspired than anything you’d find here. But I could see a place like Edmund’s existing somewhere like East Cambridge or Somerville.
But another part of the meal that made it particularly memorable was just hanging out with these two friends who we hadn’t seen in a really long time, who we love and were having a great time with. Just hanging out at this excellent restaurant for hours and hours, eating and drinking.
Did you go to any other places that night?
Afterwards we went to a local brewery around the corner called Revelry. And then we went to this really great dive bar called The Royal American, which has great live music. It’s a little rough and a lot of fun.
That’s really interesting. I wasn’t expecting it to be so similar to here. Was there any other food that stood out to you besides the charcuterie?
The beef tartare was great. The chicken liver parfait was also great. And there were these pickled shrimp on a thin slice of dark rye bread from a local bakery called Root Baking Co. that many of the locals are obsessed with. It’s difficult bread to get your hands on, apparently. It was delicious, and as someone who sometimes bakes bread, I can really appreciate how special it is to source such a high quality product. Oh, and all of the cheese. We ordered a massive plate of it alongside the charcuterie. And the broccoli dish was a standout. Everything, actually.
Did you get to mingle at all with other people there?
We didn’t do much mingling. The staff members were awesome and super friendly. I think they came over and chatted with us every now and then, but it was mainly just us four, hanging out and catching up. Being friends.
I had a great time at the Charleston Wine + Food Festival while we were down there. But I think Charleston itself and a lot of people in the industry dislike it, because all these people come into town and it’s just such a scene.
Did you find that to be accurate? Were there a lot of snobs?
Not that I came across. There are certainly a lot of industry people: journalists, food reviewers, award-winning bartenders, some famous chefs. It’s probably pretty stressful and a long weekend for the people in the industry in Charleston. But all the spots we went to were great. Everyone was accommodating and happy to have us.
Check out Edmund’s Oast for yourself.