Meat-and-Three | Soul Food
One of the best


The most useless suggestion we can give for finding good Roadfood is to look for a restaurant that has no sign outside. That’s where you’ll find some of the best local meals … providing you can find the place at all! Ernie’s is an excellent example. Nothing about its exterior other than the smell of pork chops and stewed chicken suggests that it is a place to eat. Nor do most customers bother looking at a menu. They arrive knowing what they want. Even if you are a first timer, printed menus are superfluous because when you step up to the counter, an order-taker recites what is available that day.

The most popular meal, and one of the most satisfying low-cost dinners in all of Charleston, is the lima bean dinner. It is a huge presentation that arrives on one plate (for rice) and in two bowls, one for beans, the other for an impossible amount of brick-red neck bone meat dripping with hammy flavor. For a lesser meal, you get a bowl of lima beans with rice. The beans are liberally laced with pig meat, but you don’t get the whole bowl full of pork that comes with dinner.

Similarly, Ernie’s offers both okra soup and okra soup dinner, the latter poured over rice and supplemented by great chunks of meat. This soup alone has a dense vegetable flavor that is at once hugely satisfying and salubrious. Even the white rice that accompanies Ernie’s fine fried chicken isn’t just plain white rice. It is laced with wisps of cooked onion; it glistens with chicken fat and bristles with grains of hot pepper.

A few other items that are favorites among regulars: turkey wings (gargantuan), turkey necks either as a dinner or simply with rice, gizzards, red rice with pork chops, hoppin john, and out-of-this-world bread pudding.

What to Eat
Ernie’s, Lima Bean Dinner
Lima Bean Dinner
This actually is not a lima bean dinner. It is simply a bowl of lima beans. But there is enough meat among the legumes to make it immensely satisfying.
Ernie’s, Okra Soup
Okra Soup
A fork would be every bit as useful as a spoon to eat this astonishingly hearty bowl of okra soup. Note the succulent pig tail at 3 o'clock.
Ernie’s, Bread Pudding
Bread Pudding
Bread pudding is a huge, heavy block of moist bread laced with fruit cocktail. It comes with plenty of crunchy-chewy strips from the edge of the pan.
Ernie’s, Corn Bread
Corn Bread
Sweet and crumbly corn bread goes well with just about everything on Ernie's menu.
Ernie’s, Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken
Ernie's fried chicken has a good crunch to its skin and plenty of juice inside. You can buy it by the piece or as dinner; you can have chicken barbecued or stewed. Fried gizzards also are available.
Directions and Hours
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
4 stops | 5 MILES | 18 min

You can dine high on the hog in the sophisticated downtown restaurants of Charleston, South Carolina; you also can feast low, on pig tails and neck bones larded into lima beans at a handful of unassuming African-American eateries that are as alluring a part of the city's sea island flavor as its better-known culinary stars…

Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

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