Marina Variety Store

Review by: Michael Stern

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.

Directions & Hours

7am - 9pm
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 7:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Thursday: 7:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Friday: 7:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Saturday: 7:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Sunday: 7:00 AM – 2:30 PM

What To Eat

Combo Platter

DISH
Flounder

DISH
Shrimp

DISH
French Fries

DISH
Collard Greens

DISH
Key Lime Pie

DISH

Marina Variety Store Recipes

Discuss

What do you think of Marina Variety Store?

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