82 Queen is one of Charleston’s quintessential historic restaurants and 2016 marks their 34th anniversary. They were one the first restaurants of their kind to serve collards on the menu and the first restaurant to win an award for making the best, She Crab Soup in town! They have remained steadfast in their mission to serve local, Low Country Cuisine (even in this fast paced, ever-changing food scene that we find ourselves in now). 82 Queen has not diverted from their core mission. This last year the restaurant brought back Chef Steve Stone (who worked alongside the opening chef and helped to create the award-winning soup). Chef Stone is excited to be back at 82 Queen and work with manager Jonathan Kish to bring the best Low Country cooking in town to the table to be enjoyed by locals and visitors. Most people who live in Charleston have eaten at 82 Queen, at least once in their life. It has one of the most beautiful courtyards in the city and the brick floor bar is just about as historic and unique of a place as you can find. With all the new places opening around town, its easy to forget about the community cornerstones that have been here for years. These places have paved the way for the new kids on the block, have weathered decades of storms and prevailed. There aren’t many of them left…and amidst all the new and flashy hot spots, I feel like its extremely important to preserve some of the originals for future generations. I have made it one of my personal missions to make sure they get their spot light too. Many people don’t realize that they were one of the original leaders of the local food movement: using local produce, sustainable seafood and changing their menus often to use what is in season. Yes, they have some signature dishes that aren’t going anywhere, but they offer several new items seasonally as well.
To celebrate their anniversary this year they are taking a different approach than they have previously. They have decided to not have the customary parties or oyster roast celebrations….instead they are donating $1.80 from every cup or bowl of soup ordered between February 1st-13th, to the community outreach center: One80 Place. If you aren’t familiar with the organization, they provide food, shelter and support services to individuals and families to help turn their lives around. They offer many amazing services such as: counseling, medical care, legal advice, employment services and meals. I asked manager Jonathan Kish how they decided on picking, One80 Place as the outreach center for their donation. His response: “everyone deserves healthy local food. One80 Place offers that for the people they are helping, and its the same approach and belief we have about food. Community support is important to us and we want to get more involved with being part of the community and giving back to it. When we decided to do this, we picked our #1 most recognized and popular dish to give a portion of the proceeds back to the community.”
I had the pleasure of dining on a bowl of the soup while chatting with Chef Stone and Jonathan. It was as delicious as I had remembered it to be…prize worthy indeed! Listening to them discuss community support, hearing stories about the restaurants history and the plans they have for the future, was inspiring. They love their restaurant, their city and good food! I felt honored to be invited and look forward to revisiting soon. I can’t wait to check out the new spring menu in March! Happy Anniversary!