Downtown Culinary Tour with Glenn Morehead
By Alyssa Porter
To participate in Restaurant Week, WhereWeStand joined a group of six on the refreshing “Downtown Culinary Tour,” courtesy of Charleston Culinary Tours. Our particular tour was the 468th tour by Glenn Morehead, Guide and co-founder of Culinary Tours of Charleston.
“Prepare to be stuffed.” Glenn exclaimed with a laugh as went on to deliver the serious news, that we would be sampling ten to twenty dishes in the next three hours. Thankfully, the tour is a walking tour and allows time to breath in between tastings. Rain or shine, you will enjoy learning bits of history you encounter as you walk. Because the tour itinerary is different every time, the walking path’s history is different. These guys know and love Charleston to want to show the hidden goodies.
Walking tours in Charleston typically associated with tourism. This particular tour appeals to locals because, according to Glenn, it would take thirteen years to eat at all of the restaurants in Charleston and sixteen years to visit all of the bars. The Food and Beverage changeover rate has escalated, thus creating intense competition for local chefs and raising the bar for quality cuisine. Chefs opening restaurants in Charleston have tremendous opportunities, such as being featured on the Food Network and recognition for award winning dishes.
Twelve restaurants have partnered with Culinary Tours of Charleston’s Downtown Tour. Every tour is unique because the Chef’s never serve the same samples twice and non-menu items are a special treat for the tour. The meeting spot for all tours is South End Brewery, the historic Wagner Warehouse, located on East Bay Street.
Our first course from Chef John, was an appetizer of green tomatoes topped with their house chow-chow. Secondly, we were served two hand pulled barbecue sliders with house made slaw. And for desert, a southern tradition of BBQ Shrimp and grits was specially made for the tour. This dish is not featured on South End’s menu. For those with seafood allergies, a delicious looking brisket was served. A one word response from a tourist struck me the most, he commented the food was “Outstanding!”
As we walked to Eli’s Table, our next stop, Glenn informed us of rare History and suggested more classic award winning restaurants and pointed out lesser known places worth checking out. At Eli’s Table we were greeted by the general manager with a warm friendly smile and introduced to Chef Tina, who is considered to be one of the best Chef’s in Charleston. This is a great place for vegans or vegetarians, because Chef Tine is very conscientious of separating cooking stations and silverware. We enjoyed three dishes in this romantic setting. We were served a gorgonzola salad, salmon, and the best blueberry topped cheesecake in the world. Eli’s Table is recommended for Breakfast and date night.
It was Happy Hour at our last and most anticipated stop of the day, Burwell’s Stone Fire Grill, a modern steakhouse. On the way we were noted to check out more secret spots. Great service from the one year old Burwell’s. Chef Justin took extra measures to ensure the meals were cooked to perfection. From Chef Justin we ate duck with homemade ramen noodles and most interestingly, slices of steak you cook yourself on fiery hot lava rock, the modern steakhouse aspect of Burwell’s. For desert, Charleston’s up and coming pastry chef served us a scrumptious peppermint-chocolate cheesecake. His delicacies are expected to win awards this year. I’d vote for him!
Our day with Glenn is just a glimpse: Experience an Upper King Culinary Tour, Mixology Tour, Farmer’s Market Tour and more! They host private events and support charity. I encourage locals and tourists to experience a tour from Charleston Culinary Tours. You’ll laugh you’re behind off, learn unexpected History as you walk the street, and eat enough for a week! And, you’ll do it all at a GREAT price!
Purchase tickets in advance to sample affordable, diverse, exquisite cuisine in Charleston. The next time a place to eat comes into question, you can say, “Hey, I know a place…” Tickets, FAQ’s, and full tour information are available online at www.charlestonculinarytours.com and make a great gift! Tickets must be sold in advance, book your tour today!