Causing a buzz, North Charleston’s trendy Park Circle neighborhood has attracted an increasing number of new residents, visitors and restaurants over the past few years. Now, on any given night, the strip of East Montague Avenue that runs from Spruill to Virginia Avenue is filled with people enjoying an alfresco dinner at EVO Pizzeria, strolling down the sidewalk with ice cream or sharing pitchers of beer at DIG in the Park. If you haven’t ventured out to this area of Charleston yet, use these restaurants as an excuse to explore the neighborhood.
LoLa | EVO Wood-Fired Pizzeria | Park Circle Creamery | Madra Rua
Sesame Burgers and Beer | Lotus | Stems & Skins | Accent on Wine
Orange Spot Coffee | Fratellos Italian Tavern | DIG in the Park
The Brew Cellar | Commonhouse Aleworks
One of the few places in Charleston offering Louisiana-style cooking, LoLA serves traditional New Orleans dishes, including seafood gumbo, gumbo yaya and crawfish poppers. The restaurant was the Carolina Creole Food Truck before settling into a permanent place in Park Circle. Though the mobile eatery has retired from the streets, the truck is still used as the restaurant’s kitchen, giving diners plenty of space to sit and enjoy their meal inside the restaurant or on the back patio at a picnic table or outdoor bar.
EVO Wood-Fired Pizzeria
At EVO, all baked items, from the pizza dough to the bread, are freshly made in the attached bakery. If you’re craving pizza, EVO is one of the best places in Charleston to grab a pie. Stick with tradition and order a thin-crust cheese or try one of their signature offerings like local favorite Pistachio Pesto. Each pizza is fired in the wood oven, resulting in crisp, flavorful crust. Share a pizza with a friend and split one of the large salads, many of which rotate based on in-season vegetables.
Park Circle Creamery
A night out for dinner in Park Circle would not be complete without a stop at the Park Circle Creamery. Pop in to sample their handcrafted flavors ranging from Cherry Dream to Pecan Pie, then order a few scoops in a cone or opt for the ice cream taco. Be sure to check the creamery’s Twitter and Facebook pages to learn about regular events including tastings and ice cream-making demonstrations for kids.
Boasting a number of accolades, including Best North Charleston Bar and Most Authentic Pub, Madra Rua captures the vibe of a traditional Irish pub while serving authentic dishes like fish and chips, shepherd’s pie and corned beef. Touting the claim “best pub for soccer fans,” Madra Rua streams live sports year-round, with a special emphasis on soccer events.
Sesame Burgers and Beer
As one of the first spots to bring a spotlight to Park Circle, Sesame Burgers and Beer knows a thing or two about running a well-oiled machine. With 2 other locations throughout the area, Sesame puts quality ingredients and sustainable sourcing at the center of every menu – without sacrificing flavor. Their burgers are juicy (and hormone free), they strive to make as many items in-house as possible, and their staff is welcoming and friendly. Any visit to Sesame Burgers and Beer promises great food and awesome vibes, so you know you can’t go wrong!
Authentic Vietnamese food can be hard to come by in Charleston, but Lotus does it right. The sleek, modern decor creates an upscale ambience, and the flavor profile of the dishes is unique and authentic. Order the green curry mussels to start, then adventure to one of their pho bowls. For a more traditional option, diners can try the ginger chicken, shaking beef or stir-fried noodles. The perfect place for your next dinner out with friends or family, Lotus also offers patrons the option to sit at outdoor tables with small grills in the center, allowing them the unique experience of grilling their own food.
Stems & Skins
One of two wine bars in Park Circle, Stems & Skins boasts a long list of “fresh and freaky ferments,” serving the trendy and unusual pet-nat – a type of fizzy wine that’s unfiltered and gets its bubbles from naturally fermenting inside the bottle. If you’re no oenophile, the bar also carries local and international beers and can whip up tasty cocktails. While enjoying the wide range of wines, pair each glass with some charcuterie or ricotta with fermented honey, or be adventurous and try the olive and octopus skewers.
Accent on Wine
Providing Park Circle with another wine bar option, Accent on Wine doubles as a boutique wine shop. Sit at the bar or one of the small tables and try any of the 30 wines offered at the bar. If you find something you love, let the bartenders know, and you can purchase a bottle (or two) to take home with you. Spend some time browsing the retail selection with more than 400 wines or check out the craft beer offerings, many of which are locally brewed. If you plan to have a few glasses, order a cheese and meat platter to complement your wine and fill your belly.
Orange Spot Coffee
An excellent place for a light breakfast, Orange Spot Coffee creates healthy smoothies, delicious teas and coffees, savory and sweet scones, muffins, a daily quiche and bagels. In the afternoon, spend a few hours relaxing at one of the outdoor tables and order a pressed sandwich. Vegetarians and meat-eaters alike can order from this lunch menu offering paninis like turkey and brie, caprese, ham cuban, and Adult Grilled Cheese.
Fratellos Italian Tavern
When you’re craving hearty comfort food, Fratellos Italian Tavern will meet all your expectations. Sip on a fine Italian wine while perusing the menu of rich pasta dishes, chicken parmesan and other classic fare inspired by Italian family cooking. On a nice summer evening, you can dine at one of the outdoor sidewalk tables and share the calamari and stuffed mushrooms while waiting for your main course.
DIG in the Park
Every neighborhood needs a sports bar, and DIG in the Park is Park Circle’s go-to place to watch a big game or just grab a few beers. Offering an unbeatable daily deal, DIG serves $10 pitchers of Shock Top and Bud Light all day, every day. One of five locations, DIG in the Park is an offshoot of the original Daniel Island Grille. A former gas station, this location has been converted into the perfect outdoor bar, with plenty of space on the large patio, an outdoor bar and several TVs. Between the indoor and outdoor areas, this bar has more than 24 big-screen TVs for your viewing pleasure and serves up a combination of classic and unique bar fare like Thai spring rolls, loaded nachos and Hawaiian pork tacos.
The Brew Cellar and Commonhouse Aleworks
If you’re looking for a beer-centric spot, then you can’t go wrong with either The Brew Cellar or Commonhouse Aleworks, conveniently located side by side in the heart of Park Circle. While neither currently sells food of their own, they frequently welcome food trucks, giving patrons the best of both worlds: unbeatable selections of beers on tap and a never-ending rotation of grub. Currently with 50+ beers in stock at The Brew Cellar and 10+ beers on tap at Commonhouse Aleworks, both places are perfect to try out new flavor profiles or to fill up and take home one of your tried-and-true favorites to enjoy later.
By Samantha Connors2