This past weekend I spent some time noshing my way around Charleston. On the way into town we took a little side trip out the long sandy road just before entering Folly Beach to Bowan’s Island Restaurant for fresh oysters. (I’m really not a fan of the gnarly boogers, but still try them every time, just in case that seven year taste bud change kicks in.)
If you’ve never been to the restaurant, it’s a low country legend, named one of the Top 10 Southern Seafood Dives by Southern Living and marked by Coastal Living as one of America’s Great Seafood Dives. Several movies have been filmed here including the date scene in Dear John. The first time we visited years ago, it was just a dark, scary little shack on the water. It was chock full of mismatched tables and chairs and there was Sharpie scribblings all over the walls from floor to ceiling.
In season, you could get steamed oysters by the try load, frogmore stew, or a paper plate of their fried shrimp, oysters or fish with fries and slaw. The menu is the same, but after the restaurant burned down at one point, they rebuilt a nice two story place with a full bar and crazy beautiful views of the river and marshes. People immediately took to the walls with pens again.
My husband ordered a huge tray piled high of the shells right out of the low country waters. (We checked out the oyster boat.)
We walked downstairs to fetch his grub and watched the oyster guy dump out the shells onto a metal sheet, wash them off and dump them into a giant pot over flames. He steamed them for a while, drained them and dumped them out on a big blue lunch tray for the pickings.
My boy sat happy as could be prying open the salty shells for an hour. I sadly, wasn’t stoked about my under seasoned, over-fried fare on my plate, so I walked around taking pictures. So I’m not a fan of the food, but I’d go back every time just for the beautiful sunset.