The Wreck

Review by: Michael Stern

How do I find The Wreck?

As the coastline beyond Charleston, SC city limits has been developed, dozens of seafood restaurants have opened to serve newcomers and tourists. The docks at Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant, just north of the city, are lined with them, all quite pleasant-looking and with similar shoreline menus; but if you meander farther along the water, out Live Oak Road to Haddrell Point, you will find a Roadfood jewel in the rough. And we do mean find, for the restaurant known as The Wreck has no sign outside; and we also mean in the rough, for it is located in a former bait locker, and décor is mostly piles of cardboard beer cartons.

What should I eat at The Wreck in Charleston, SC?

The Wreck of the Richard and Charlene is mobbed at mealtimes with customers who come for crunchy fried shrimp, scallops, and oysters, broiled fish, she-crab soup, crunchy tubular hushpuppies and fried squares of spiced grits. Depending on your appetite, you can get a meal either “Richard-sized” (copious), “Lil Richard-sized” (pretty darn big) or “Charlene’-sized” (normal portion).

The restaurant’s ambiance

Everything is presented on cardboard plates with plastic utensils; beer comes in the bottle. You enter through an open kitchen, where we once witnessed the chef advising a customer in no uncertain terms that he refused to prepare an order of fried oysters to go, because they had to be eaten immediately. In the concrete-floored dining room, you sit on plastic lawn chairs at tables clothed with fish-wrapping paper (but romantically lit by candles at night). And if the weather is cool, you are warmed by a couple of fireplaces.

A tiny bit of history

Formally named for a boat hit by Hurricane Hugo back in 1989, The Wreck of the Richard and Charlene is indeed disheveled; but its food is impeccable. And the view from the porch of docked shrimp trawlers couldn’t be more appetizing.

What To Eat




she-crab soup

key lime bread pudding


Deviled Crab


The Wreck Recipes


What do you think of The Wreck?

2 Responses to “The Wreck”

Margaret Ezell

September 29th, 2007

My favorite places to eat are the off the beaten path places, what I thought The Wreck would be from the description. As a native of South Louisiana I like my seafood! The Wreck is hard to find, even with directions. I asked a local how to get there when we were within a mile. I also asked if he liked it. I should have taken his body language and “not my favorite” and turned back to Charleston to Hymans, which we love.

The food is way overpriced for what you get on a paper plate. We had the large boiled shrimp: 1/2-pound for $19.00. They were very fresh but bland, nothing special; no Old Bay or other seasoning. The red rice was like eating something from a Rice-A-Roni box. The fried hominy was less than one inch square; bland. I did like the hush puppy! The coleslaw was fine.

They have no handicapped parking and the steps are a danger to all including my 91-year-old mother who was with me. The next day I had meetings in Charleston and asked six locals about The Wreck. All said it was way over rated; the quality has changed over the years. They do not go there anymore. People are passing on its formerly great rating.


Sarah Broz

July 21st, 2004

I sought out the Wreck on the basis of glowing reviews from sites like this. However, having eaten there, I think I must have dined on an “off night” because I think the food is over-rated.

The complimentary boiled peanuts are nothing spectacular. They were probably boiled the same day but were heated in a microwave. As for the she crab soup, it was not very flavorsome nor was there much of the crab in it. In fact, the soup may have been watered down since there was a lack of depth to the flavor plus a scarcity of crab. This was the second bowl of she crab soup I’d consumed in less than a week and the first (from another seafood eatery in Shem Creek) was far superior. Adding the sherry at the table is a novelty but that doesn’t help to give body to the soup since it’s added after the cooking process.

I had an entree of fried shrimp and scallops. The coating on the fried seafood was nothing memorable though it was not heavy, so I give the Wreck kitchen staff credit for that. The scallops were tastier than the shrimp and were delicate and tender, not chewy. I enjoyed the sweet tomato flavor of the red rice.

My spouse suggests that the soup lacked flavor because it was served in a disposable cardboard bowl (think picnicware). This is a fair point. All food and drink is served in plastic or cardboard disposable picnicware except the silverware. This doesn’t impact on the flavor of entrees like the seafood but could be detrimental to the famed she crab soup.


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