Savannah Highway Bright Spot: Angel Oak Restaurant Unique, Delightful

Angel Oak Restaurant
John’s Island, S.C.

I love discovering quaint, off-the-beaten-path delights. That’s what I would call Angel Oak Restaurant, a small, family owned spot on John’s Island. Located right off of Savannah Highway, about 10 miles from downtown Charleston, Chef Jay Kees is serving up some of the most flavorful Southern fare in the city, combining a balance of down home dishes with those that compete with the forward thinking, highfalutin’ standards of Charleston dining. That’s one reason it isn’t hard to believe Angel Oak Restaurant holds the title for longest running business in this location. Going on more than three years in service (they opened in summer 2012), the eclectic space was once a general store, a Mexican restaurant and an ice cream shop.

wpid-1115151333.jpgThe one room eatery holds 15 tables with bench style seating and an assortment of wooden chairs. Guests may also choose to sit outside, where bulb lighting and table lanterns create a soft ambiance. At the entrance, a large hostess station filled with paper menus and reams of craft paper greet guests. Staff members dressed neatly in blue jeans and plaid button down shirts work the dining room.

 

Filled with intentional and meaningful details, the setting creates a warm atmosphere perfect for families or date night. Popular tunes play on the speakers. Small bottles filled with fresh flowers make inviting, simple centerpieces, coupled with a mix of blue, green and clear Mason jars for drinking glasses. Utensils rest comfortably on nautical cloth napkins. Open for lunch, supper and Sunday Brunch, I’ve had the pleasure of dining here on many occasions for all but supper.

wpid-1115151258.jpgOne of the most popular Sunday Brunch dishes has to be the House Made Beignets, a plate piled high with powdered sugar-dusted doughnuts, served with chocolate sauce. Reminiscent of dulce de leche, the sauce has sweet caramel notes. Other Sunday Brunch dishes include hearty selections such as Country Fried Steak and Eggs, Chicken and Biscuits, Bacon, Egg and Cheese Croissant, and the Croque Madame. If you enjoy a good champagne cocktail, the $10 bottomless mimosas make the restaurant a motivating choice.

wpid-1115151311.jpg
The Bacon, Egg and Cheese Croissant is served with your choice of one side, and a garnish of watermelon. Home fries make a crispy accompaniment.

wpid-1115151312.jpg

The Country Fried Steak and Eggs feature two buttermilk biscuits topped with collards and country fried steak, finished with poached eggs and gravy. Come hungry!

Consistent with the widely held belief of many a good chef, the husband and wife team at Angel Oak Restaurant prides itself on sourcing local, seasonal ingredients to best highlight the cuisine of the community. South Carolina farmers and purveyors including Geechie Boy Market and Mill, Legare Farms, Blackbird Farms, Limehouse Produce, Saffron Bakery and Burbages provide fresh ingredients from breads and grits to produce, beef, pork and eggs. The restaurant boasts its own herb garden.

wpid-1018151132.jpg
The Croque Madame is my favorite dish yet! It’s a toasted ham and cheese sandwich topped with a fried egg, finished with mornet sauce and served with a bright arugula salad garnished with pickled red onion.

Lunch, including a daily Blue Plate Special, features a variety of appetizers, salads and entrees. On my last visit, I ordered the sampler plate with Bacon Braised Collards, Tomato Salad and Mac N’ Cheese. Fresh and well executed, it was every Southerner’s taste of home. Mainstays like Fried Green Tomatoes, House Made Pimento Cheese and Fried Pickle Chips offer familiar comfort. A nice selection of local beers are available, along with a standard wine list.

So, the next time you’re stuck in traffic on Savannah Highway, stop in to Angel Oak Restaurant. Unassuming and rustic, its recipe for success is clear: Quality ingredients, locally sourced + friendly service in a unique environment. What more could a diner want?


New to Some Kinda Good?

Thumbnail
Food Enthusiast Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser

Now based in Charleston, South Carolina, Georgia native Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser 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, her 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 RebekahFaulk.wix.com/RebekahFaulk.

Angel Oak Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Advertisements

Mastering the Art of the Fried Chicken Sandwich

Boxcar Betty’s sits right off of Hwy 17 on the left headed toward Folly Beach.

Boxcar Betty’s 
Charleston, South Carolina

“This place is like a fancy Chick-fil-A,” said Kurt, my good lookin’ husband, as he took a juicy bite of his “Build Your Own” fried chicken sandwich at Boxcar Betty’s on Saturday afternoon. Kurt has a way of putting everything in layman’s terms, so there’s no mistaking the meaning. I thought his perception was spot on, as this “purveyor of gourmet fried chicken sandwiches” is known for its high-end take on a classic Southern delicacy. Their philosophy is simple: Pair the best chicken with locally sourced ingredients. They take one thing – fried chicken – place it between a soft bun – and offer a variation of toppings and sauces so customers can customize their sandwiches. This is a place where only FRIED chicken – not grilled, baked or roasted – reigns supreme.

A large menu is front and center on the wall, as customers stand in line to place their orders.

As a resident of West Ashley, I had driven by the place a hundred times. Intrigued by the look of the outside, and the inviting words “Chicken Biscuits” that often appear on the sign, we pulled in to discover a real delight. Upbeat music plays over the speakers, and regulars bring books to read by the window as they await lunch.

Fried Pickles between an order of sweet potato fries and a chicken sandwich.
Fried Pickles between an order of sweet potato fries and a chicken sandwich.

We started the meal with an order of fried pickles, served with house-made ranch dressing. With just one look, I could tell they were done right. Crispy with a thin coating of seasoned flour, the recipe starts with cucumbers sourced from Joseph Fields Farm in Charleston.  Just $4 will get you an order. Check out Food Editor Hannah Raskin’s take on these pickles in The Post & Courier. The handcut fries (pictured below) are seasoned while they’re hot and have a nice crunch. Growing up at home, my dad would make them like this and let them drain on a paper grocery sack on the countertop.

A custom fried chicken sandwich with handcut fries.
A custom fried chicken sandwich with handcut fries.

Here’s how it works: You can choose from three predetermined sandwich options – #1 The Boxcar including pimiento cheese, peach slaw, house pickles and spicy mayo; #2 The Chicken “Not So Waffle” with bacon jam, maple syrup, pimiento cheese and tomato; or #3 The Buffalo with blue cheese sauce, tomato and bibb lettuce. If the three of those don’t get your mouth-watering, opt to Build Your Own, with toppings such as Kentucky beer cheese, sweet chili sauce or shallots. There’s something for everyone! Kurt built his own and kept it simple with Swiss cheese and honey mustard and an order of handcut fries, and I chose The Chicken “Not So Waffle” with sweet potato fries. That bacon jam combined with pimento cheese and the crispy skin of that fried chicken was SOME KINDA GOOD, now! With a big bite of my sandwich, I happily bobbed my head to the beat of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” as the lyrics perfectly echoed my emotions toward the sandwich.

Inside the restaurant, antique, exposed wood creates a retro vibe while a mix of colorful boxcar wall art and modern lighting combines old with new. Guests can sit on bar stools or at tables in the quaint dining area. Nothing on the menu is over $7, and aside from the chicken sandwiches, the menu offers chicken tenders for kids, and a few salads. Pecan pie is served in a cup and floats are also available for dessert.

Chicken + Bun = Some Kinda Good!

When you eat at Boxcar Betty’s, you’re also helping the environment. All the materials on your tray come completely compostable. You’ll find the chicken + bun stamp on everything from the paper-wrapped sandwiches and order numbers to the front doors. If it’s fried chicken you seek, Boxcar Betty’s does it well. It’s refreshing to discover a place that takes pride in every ingredient. Dine here for a truly unique and memorable meal – they’ve genuinely mastered the art of the fried chicken sandwich!


Food Enthusiast Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser
Food Enthusiast Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser

Now based in Charleston, South Carolina, Georgia native Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser 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 RebekahFaulk.wix.com/RebekahFaulk.

Boxcar Betty's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Living the Dream Through Cupcakes and Caffeine

wpid-05021412472.jpg.jpeg

CAKE 
Statesboro, Georgia

It’s mid-morning on a sunny Saturday, after a satisfying brunch and visit to my local farmers’ market. Dressed completely casually with nowhere to be, I stroll along East Main Street in downtown Statesboro to find an inviting sidewalk chalkboard and the doors open wide at CAKE Bakery and Cool Beanz Espresso Bar. Upon entering, I discover much more than cupcakes and caffeine. Here two kindred spirits — one culinary artist and one head coffee geek — have joined forces to make their dreams a reality.

wpid-0407141733.jpgMeet David Hoyle, former senior project manager for a technology integration company, turned owner of Cool Beanz Espresso Bar. Here’s a guy who said, ‘It’s now or never,’ and dove head first into his passion–pure coffee, expertly brewed. He started down the path of coffee discovery after tasting his first cup of lightly roasted coffee on a business trip in Caracas, Venezuela. Before, David says he was a fan of triple grande, 3-pump skinny mochas. When it came to drinking coffee, he would disguise its bitter taste with heavy doses of cream and sugar, consuming what he calls “coffee-flavored sugar milk.” Curiosity led him to begin experimenting with various brewing methods which can alter and enhance the flavor profile of a coffee bean. Now, just over two months into his new business venture, he’s having the time of his life offering three different brewing techniques to Southeast Georgians everywhere: Pour-over, Immersion and Espresso. He prepares every single cup by hand. Armed with the finest local ingredients, he’s ready to rock your coffee world.

Two Statesboro-based coffee companies supply all David’s coffee beans: Three Tree Coffee Roasters and Iron Wedge. Java isn’t all he’s serving up. You can order hot chocolate, frozen chocolate shakes, chai tea lattes and milk. On my last visit, I ordered Three Tree’s Ethiopian coffee. Naturally bright and sweet with a hint of berries, every sip was smooth going down, not wanting for anything.

wpid-photo.jpg
Contributed Photo

This is Shannon Ward, bakery owner. A former registered radiologic technologist and sonographer, Shannon enjoyed her career in the medical field but needed a job that would allow her creative spirit to soar. After becoming a stay-at-home-mom, she began baking cake pops and cakes for extra income. She gained quite a following in Screven and Bulloch Counties, and with the support of many encouraging friends and family, gained the confidence to open CAKE. 

wpid-0509141720.jpgIn addition to those tried and true flavors like chocolate, birthday and red velvet cake, Shannon enjoys changing up the menu daily, offering creations like the baklava cupcake with all the essentials–lemon, honey and pistachios–or her maple and bacon cupcake. She says she loves the freedom of coming into her kitchen early in the morning, looking at what she has on hand and whipping up something unexpected and amazing. So far, I’ve tried the PB&J and Key Lime flavors. I also love her nod to all things local, from the ingredients she bakes with to the Georgia Southern-inspired True Blue cupcakes. Based on customer requests and her own inspiration, Forrest Gump might equate the ever-changing menu to a box of chocolates–you never know what you’re going to get. 

wpid-0407141728a.jpgFrench Macaroons are also offered daily, along with homemade quiche.  Birthday and other special occasion cakes are made to order. Tying the knot? Wedding cakes are available too.

wpid-0407141727.jpgCAKE is a small space with big impact. Chic and modern with exposed brick walls and quaint little tables, the atmosphere is inviting and cozy. The artwork hanging in the bakery is all for sale and painted by a local artist. Even the fresh flowers on each table are provided by a neighboring florist. Food is served on dinnerware with metal utensils. These small touches really enhance each visit. You get a happy and pleasant energy the moment you enter, and those kinds of details keep me coming back.

My Ethiopian coffee along with a Peanut Butter & Jelly cupcake.
My Ethiopian coffee along with a Peanut Butter & Jelly cupcake.

With a name like CAKE, what’s not to love?



New to Some Kinda Good?
Thanks for stopping by! If you like this post, you may also be interested to read about a few of the other local restaurants and bakeries I’ve reviewed. As the Statesboro Herald food columnist and a Georgia Southern University alumna, the ‘Boro is a second home to me. Be sure to like Some Kinda Good on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter, to keep up with all my latest, local food discoveries.

CAKE Bakery & Cool Beanz Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon