Hominy Grill is such an institution in Charleston, South Carolina that there aren’t many times of day, regardless of the day of the week, when you won’t find a line of diners waiting outside the door in the courtyard for a table.
Part of the restaurant’s charm is its location on Rutledge Street, off the main commercial drag, in a largely residential area. The throwback decor of the multii-room house is casual and welcoming, too: half curtains on the windows, schoolhouse pendant lights and fans hanging from the old tin ceilings, white wainscoting on the walls with blackboard menus above announcing the daily specials.
The tables are covered with brown paper to absorb the water that spills out when you break open the boiled peanuts brought to the table, a Southern amuse bouche of sorts.
We arrived with friends just after noontime and were able to order a variety of low country classics from a robust menu divided into appetizers, snacks, sandwiches, salads and hot plates such as ribs and fried chicken.
The most impressive part of the menu is the exhaustive choice of sides including mac & cheese, squash casserole, cheese grits, lima beans, deep-fried cheese grits, collard greens, a vinegar-based cole slaw, pickled cucumbers and onion, jasmine rice, mashed sweet potatoes and more. Biscuits and corn bread come with many dishes and can also be ordered a la carte.
We started off our meal by sharing an appetizer plate of fried green tomatoes that seemed like they hadn’t quite ripened enough.
We ordered four plates: barbecued chicken on a Kaiser roll; sautéed chicken livers with country ham gravy; a vegetable plate with three sides and cornbread; and the signature dish, Charleston Nasty biscuit with fried chicken topped with cheddar cheese and sausage gravy.
The pièce de résistance of the meal was the delicious, homemade chocolate pudding topped with whipped cream, kindly served with four spoons. With a perfectly smooth consistency, this sweet indulgence will remind you of your childhood, if you ever enjoyed “cleaning” your mother’s pot of warm pudding right off the stove.
Hominy Grill Chef/Owner Robert Stehling was named best chef in the Southeastern United States in 2008 by the James Beard Foundation. Lunch at Hominy Grill offered us a fun opportunity to sample many Southern comfort foods at a reasonable price. While the dishes weren’t as tasty or inventive as some we had at other restaurants in the city, the service was friendly and efficient, and the setting relaxed and informal.
It could be deadly to eat this high-calorie, high-cholesterol food regularly but on a trip to Charleston, Hominy Grill is a nice place to experience authentic low-country home cooking with few embellishments.
IF YOU GO
207 Rutledge Street, Charleston, South Carolina
Open 7 days a week, check hours; reservations only available for dinner (free parking next to the building)
*See four of the most requested recipes from the Hominy Grill
On Eater: How to make the Charleston Nasty Biscuit
Some prior posts about the cuisine of Charleston on More Time To Travel:
- The Cuisine of Charleston: A unique mix of history and geography
- Charleston snacks: To satisfy and sweet or salty tooth
- The tastes of Charleston
- World’s Best Breakfasts: The Mac Attack at The MacIntosh in Charleston
- Tasting the world’s best ribs at JB’s Smokeshack
- Carolina Cider Company: Halfway between Charleston and Savannah