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
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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