Marina Variety Store

Diner | Seafood
excellent
Worth a detour
Save

The Variety has the menu of a high-quality seafood restaurant and the personality of a downhome diner. It’s a 6:30am treasure for breakfast on the waterfront and the right place for a quiet dinner overlooking scenic marshland and the yacht basin. Renowned Lowcountry chef Philip Bardin, who clued me in to it, quoted a local food savant who described it as “the place Charlestonians love but never tell anyone about.”

Well, I am here to tell you that it’s worth a visit. Nothing you’ll eat is earth-shaking; there’s no cutting-edge cookery. But the big menu of expectable local seafood (plus steaks, burgers, sandwiches, and salads) is crowded with good things to eat.

This kitchen knows how to fry seafood: soft, sweet flounder is so well-complemented by its crisp coat; the breading on firm little fried shrimp is paper-thin and nicely spiced; oysters deliver just the right balance of crunchy crust and marine lusciousness. Alongside the good fried marine life, of course you want French fries. They’re hand-cut thin and deliver real spud flavor.

Other menu highlights include shrimp & sausage jambalaya, buttermilk fried chicken, and an item called Bear Island: smoked sausage, shrimp, onions and peppers atop creamy grits.

The food’s good and the menu has something for everyone, including breakfast of shrimp & grits & fried green tomatoes, crab cake Benedict, and Lowcountry hash browns; but it’s the whole experience of being here that puts the Variety on my Charleston good-eats map. The location is breezy; the view from windowside tables is priceless; and, best of all, the waitstaff are delightful pros, the kind of people you’d expect to see in your favorite local diner … which, for savvy Charlestonians, this place is.

What to Eat
Marina Variety Store, Combo Platter
Combo Platter
Must-Try
Flounder, oysters, shrimp & a hushpuppy
Marina Variety Store, Flounder
Flounder
Must-Try
Flounder: elegant crust, sweet meat within
Marina Variety Store, Shrimp
Shrimp
Must-Try
Firm little shrimp sport crisp, see-through coat.
Marina Variety Store, French Fries
French Fries
Must-Try
Hand-cut fries are full-flavored.
Marina Variety Store, Collard Greens
Collard Greens
Deep, dark, fine & funky collards
Marina Variety Store, Key Lime Pie
Key Lime Pie
Traditional Key lime pie doesn't need all that whippo.
Directions and Hours
closed now
Sunday6:30am - 3pm
Monday5pm - 9pm
Tuesday5pm - 9pm
Wednesday5pm - 9pm
Thursday5pm - 9pm
Friday5pm - 9:30pm
Saturday5pm - 9:30pm
Roadtrips
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
7 stops | 227 MILES | 4 hr 13 min

Hash (on rice) is the star side-dish at barbecue parlors throughout South Carolina. A byproduct of whole-hog cookery, but frequently also made with beef, it can vary from soup-loose to stew-chunky. It delivers intense barbecue flavor, but beyond that dreamy duet of meat and smoke, it can vary from relish-sweet to savagely peppery. True Barbecue

Information
Price
$$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
Yes
Outdoor Seating
No
Website

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