Seafood Marshside with Local Beer to Boot

Bowens Island Restaurant

Bowens Island Restaurant 
Charleston, South Carolina

In my short six months as a Charlestonian, I’ve learned one very accommodating notion about the food scene: The Holy City offers a dining experience for every frame of mind. Without a doubt, diners will find their every hearts’ desire–Want high-end fare, served with keen attention to detail on white tablecloths to the tune of jazz music? How about brunch in a funky roadside dive or on the porch of a historic Victorian home-turned-culinary delight? Maybe it’s serenity you seek in the natural surroundings of the Lowcountry–a place where you can gaze upon the marshlands while sinking your teeth into the ocean’s bounty. Chucktown has it all.

While hand-crafted cocktails and perfectly plated entrées are a luxury, sometimes just the taste of crunchy fried shrimp or a good hush-puppy dunked in cocktail sauce and chased by a cold glass of sweet tea does the trick. On a warm Friday night recently, I found such a place: Bowens Island Restaurant. Down home and casual as can be, you’d never know it existed (the restaurant has no website or Facebook page) unless you had a little insider insight.

The view as you walk up the ramp to go inside the restaurant.
The view as you walk up the ramp entrance to the Bowens Island Restaurant.

Just as traffic breaks free on the way out to Folly Beach, visitors will notice a large spray painted sign which points the way down a washed out dirt road to 1870 Bowens Island Rd. Take this road slowly, not just to avoid a flat tire, but because you won’t want to miss the glorious mansions on each side of the road, flanked by shade trees and grandiose Southern porches.

Guests stand in line to place their orders.
Guests stand in line to place their orders.

You’ll stand in line to place your order. It can be a long line, because people are willing to wait for good food. I met some friends there around 7 p.m. on a weekend, and we waited about 10-15 minutes.

A boater passes by the docks at Bowens Island Restaurant.
A boater passes by the docks at Bowens Island Restaurant.

Views of boats motoring up to the docks, the smell of fresh-caught seafood and the sun setting over the water will keep you pretty entertained. Not to mention the anticipation of at least 10 local brews on tap.

There’s not a bad seat in the house–or outside “the house” for that matter. Take your pick of where to rest your weary bones: Indoor dining room, indoor bar, or outside on the deck facing the water. Should you pick inside, be forewarned, there’s no air conditioning. Ceiling fans and the natural sea breeze keep the air circulating. The dining room is a bustling place. Waiters come barreling out of the kitchen with trays of hot fried seafood, hollering the name on your order.

Orders are served in recyclable cartons with plastic utensils. A big roll of paper towels sits on each table. The menu has everything from fried and boiled shrimp to in-season oysters and fried chicken tenders. The food is well seasoned, hot upon arrival and for those blessed to have eaten a lot on the coast, familiar. Unlike a large percentage of Charleston dining establishments, there won’t be an item on this menu you can’t pronounce or an ingredient you have to question. Hush-puppies, french fries and coleslaw come with just about everything. The “Big Ol’ Seafood Platter” is the most expensive thing on the menu, coming in at $19. Simple, and Some Kinda Good!

The only sign posted on the two-story shack-like restaurant faces the gravel parking area.

If your idea of a night on the town is a laid back, no fuss Lowcountry experience, this is your spot. Open six nights a week from 5 – 10 p.m., you can bet I’ll be there again soon, sipping on a cold Corona.

Food Enthusiast Rebekah Faulk
Food Enthusiast Rebekah Faulk

Now based in Charleston, South Carolina, Georgia native Rebekah Faulk is a freelance writer, entertainer and food enthusiast who writes and speaks about her love of good food and the Coastal South. A Season 2 Contestant on ABC’s “The Taste,” she is the former Statesboro Herald food columnist and past host of the television program Statesboro Cooks. From 2012 – ’14, she appeared regularly as Celebrity Chef at the Statesboro Main Street Farmers’ Market and wrote as a guest blogger for Visit Savannah and The Local Palate. In addition, Faulk’s work is published in Moments magazine and Connect Statesboro. Her culinary accomplishments are recognized in two publications: She is a featured alumna in Georgia Southern Magazine (Spring ’14) and the “Go Girl!” in Moments magazine (March 2104), a tabloid for Moms and Modern Women. To learn more, visit

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My Lowcountry Boil Birthday Bash

On a cool Friday night in early spring, all the conditions were right for my lakeside lowcountry boil. I was celebrating the last year in my 20’s, and I was ready to have one dang good party.

Check out my video to see us cooking, but be forewarned, we are not professional videographers, there’s a lot going on and I was really excited…LOL!

View the photos below to see how the rest of my birthday bash went down:
For weeks, I anticipated the celebration keeping in mind simplicity, coastal inspiration and rustic elements. I covered the tables where guests would eat with burlap, then placed silver pails on top for discarding shrimp hulls. Yellow flowers popped, and votive candles, sprinkled throughout, illuminated the evening.
I found this nautical fabric and just had to incorporate it in the party! I made silverware bundles with it using rope to keep with the theme of things. It’s all in the details!

If I had to think of one meal that expressed exactly who I am, without a doubt, a lowcountry boil it would be. Potatoes, shrimp, corn and sausage with Old Bay seasoning…does it get any better? Poured out on a newspaper-covered table, it’s everything I am…laid back, delicious and colorful. HA! I really can’t think of any other combination of ingredients that says “Let’s Party!” more.

Much like a cocktail without a garnish, no lowcountry boil is proper without Charleston Benne Wafers. On a recent trip to the Carolina Lowcountry, I picked up some crab dip mix and a package of the popular cookie at the Charleston Market. Learn more about my trip by checking out my post, Carolina Lowcountry Classics with My Best Friend. Also pictured above: Mom’s cheese ball with jalapeno pepper and pineapple served with Ritz crackers, coconut cupcakes with coconut-cream cheese frosting, garnished with toasted coconut and lime cheesecake pies.

Fresh fruit is always a welcomed dish. These strawberries came from The Strawberry Patch, a Mennonite Farm in Waynesboro, Georgia and the pineapple, you just gotta love it.

When all the food was ready, the table looked amazing–especially combined with a yard full of friends and family, and our Bourbon and Blenheim signature cocktails. The menu also included fresh bread and my mom’s amazing crab stew made with sherry. I found the perfect bowls for serving the stew at a local restaurant supply store.

This is my good friend Patrick, and our bartender for the evening. Our signature cocktail, called a B&B featured high quality bourbon and Blenheim, a spicy ginger ale from none other than Charleston. Garnished with fresh mint, the beverage was a refreshing palate cleanser. Iced tea, bottled water, Coke, wine and beer, along with boiled peanuts, also were served.

Getting ready to grub down! From left: My brother Joey, and my best friends Levi and Angela.

A fine evening indeed. From left: Angela, me and Patrick.

 There’s no greater feeling than being surrounded by people you love. I’m blessed.

After we ate, everyone drifted over to the fire to hang out, play guitar and sing. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect.
My fabulous guests and new friends Tori and John–Love them!

That was one heck of a party, if I do say so myself! A GIANT thank you and shout out to my mom, dad, brother Joey and sister-in-law Sarah, and my friends Patrick, Angela and Levi for help with set up and break down, cooking, cleaning and bartending. 😉 It certainly takes a team to pull off a party like that and I couldn’t have done it without y’all!

As I looked around the fire that night, I realized that I’ve had the same friends since I was 12 years old. Birthday after birthday throughout my life, they’ve all been there. In addition to that, there were new faces too and I couldn’t be more blessed. To each one that made my birthday special, I am thankful for you everyday.

Now, if only I can top that party for the big 3-0!