Grits & More On The Menu At Mt. Pleasant Midday Eatery
By: Jeff Walker, Restaurant Review
No self respecting upscale Lowcountry restaurant serving up traditional Charleston cuisine is complete without grits on the menu. Like shrimp and pecan pie, grits have and always will be a staple food in the Holy City. And while grits are an ideal complement to many southern entrees, when the word grits reflects the title of your establishment, than the owners of such are held to a much higher standard.
Thus in the case with ‘The Grit Counter’ (TGC), a midday lunch eatery located at 320 Wingo Way, near the intersection of Mathis Ferry and 17 North in Mount Pleasant. As an off-shoot of the more full scale ‘Grace & Grit Restaurant’, TGC is a more affordable casual and quick lunch destination according to manager Eli (short for Elizabeth) Kline. And much like their name, TGC focus on a wide variety of grits dishes, and create your own grit medleys. Eli and her husband Frank (chef) are the co-owners of TGC.
If you are adventurous and have a eclectic palate, you’ll enjoy lunch at TGC. Nine (count-em), nine distinctive and extra-ordinary grit creations, including a very special ‘grit of the day’. Among the eight grits served up everyday include ‘the can’t live without traditional’, and everyone’s new favorite Pimento Cheese. Smooth with just the right amount of zeal.
While those two along are worth bellying up to the counter, I highly recommend the Smoked Pecan & Maple or the Jalapeno Cheddar. The former definitely has that sitting around the campfire aroma, with a bit of smokiness to the hominy. The latter is a not quite a five alarm fire, but no doubt tantalizes the palate. Want to sample several creations, order the ‘flight of grits’ and sample four for just $8. Tastefully and affordably insane!
The Grit of the Day is a cornucopia of flavors. The Blueberry Grits are akin to swirling all the goodness of grandma’s blueberry cobbler, into the wholesomeness of pure Adluh Stone Ground Grits. Keeping it in the Palmetto State, the much approved Adluh Company out of Columbia SC provides TGC with traditional white and yellow kosher grits milled by Allen Brothers Milling Co., Inc. Authenticity is key at The Grit Counter.
TGC’s signature bowls are the main attraction at The Grit Counter. Six unique creations beginning at $9, with the Shrimp & Grits (smoked gouda grits, local shrimp, onions, peppers & scallions in a Tasso ham (cured) red-eye gravy) topping out at $14. Ample servings well worth the admission price.
The Grits With Grace is a southern salute. A blend of caramelized onions, and arugula, in a brussels pesto cream, surrounded by local brie grits with a cornbread crumble. Paying tribute to the southwest, the Ranchero Bowl begins with smoked tomato grits, teeming with homemade Chorizo, green tomato salsa verde, chopped egg, all blanketed in a smoked jalapeno sauce under crumbly cornbread.
While grits receive top billing at TGC, they do offer up several soups, salads, and sandwiches with the same southern flair. Five house-made sandwiches honoring local favorites. The Lowcountry Po Boy comes with your choice of fried oyster or shrimp. The Smoked Chicken Salad is complete with heirloom tomatoes, lettuce, and bacon on toasted white bread. With your choice of side for a cool $10.
Want something with a bit more zest, the Charleston Hot Chicken Sandwich comes with a kick in every bite. Seasoned southern fried chicken breast, smothered in homemade chili oil, with pickles and a spread of mayo on white bread. With a side just $11.
Speaking of sides, all eight resemble southern delicacies found at picnics and church gatherings throughout the low country, including collard greens, butterbeans, fried green tomatoes and pickle chips. You can opt for soup of the day or any flavor of grits to accompany your sandwich plate.
Completing the lunch menu are three signature salads. Fruit lovers might go for the Arugula Salad, a bed of greens covered in smoked pecans, strawberries, tomatoes, with feta cheese draped in a lemon herb vinaigrette dressing. The Chopped Grilled Chicken with anchovy dressing is a nice variation from the norm.
From $3-$6 you have six options to choose from on the Kids Menu. For the discerning diner 12 and under they can select fried or grilled shrimp, alongside the two of the most popular handheld snacks, grilled cheese and chicken tenders. Each come with side of cheesy grits, fries, or fresh fruit. Sure to keep your kids happy and busy while dining in.
You can wash any entree down with an assortment of beverages. Sweet Peach Tea and Fresh Squeezed Lemonade are an ideal southern complement to grits, sandwiches, or salads. Having Grace & Grit as their more established parent means TGC is able to serve up various beers and wines with lunch. Sometimes you just want an adult beverage with your comfort food.
Keep in mind grits are among the most versatile food group known to southerners. Grits can be presented and prepared in various ways, and are welcome at breakfast, lunch, and dinner tables, as a side or an entree. At TGC they have you covered especially during that midday grits craving, however the Blueberry Grits are more akin to having a breakfast dessert. There are no rules when eating grits at TGC, except relax, savor, and enjoy.
Open 11-3pm Tuesday thru Sunday at 320 Wingo Way Suite 101, The Grit Counter serves up the perfect ‘southern lunch’. Need more GPS, you’ll find them sharing the same kitchen as Grace & Grit. On beautiful warm sunny days enjoy their dog friendly open air patio. Of course takeout and delivery are available.
While G.R.I.T.S. has become the un-official acronym for Girls Raised In The South (and let’s face it southern girls are the best), when it comes to the food & beverage industry and more specifically The Grit Counter, G.R.I.T.S. might reflect Grit Recipes Including Tasty Sandwiches, or salads & soups (whatever S works for you). Discover more at https://gracegrit.com/counter/
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