The Tiny Diner bills itself as green, which means it minimizes its carbon footprint and maximizes its use of nature and natural ingredients. To those ends, a bee colony lives on the roof, solar panels shade the outdoor patio, and its own half-acre urban farm yields berries, herbs, and vegetables. While the menu reflects high-minded principles in such items as house-made granola, strictly organic eggs, and a vegan lunch of sweet potatoes, rice, beans, peas, corn, kale, and asparagus, it is also possible to come to this adorable little diner and eat a full-bore breakfast burrito (loaded with bacon and chorizo) or a spectacular bacon cheeseburger (grass-fed beef, of course).
Jane, I, and our friend Kenny happened to show up during the Charleston month of the diner’s “Plates Across the States” program, for which the normal menu is supplemented with items that honor a particularly delicious location in the U.S.A. Lowcountry specialties that month included pimento cheese, biscuits and gravy, shrimp and grits, country captain, and a pulled pork sandwich. Honestly, none of those regional dishes dishes wowed us; all seemed to suffer a problem that is virtually unheard of in Charleston: underseasoning.
On the other hand, the everyday items we tried were terrific. That grass-fed burger is pillow-thick and juice-heavy and the barbecue-seasoned fries that can be ordered with it are memorably salty-sweet. We love the ordinary (not) green salad, buttermilk biscuits with apple butter, and turkey-gruyere sandwich on a good potato roll. Carrot cake, drenched with caramel sauce and sprinkled with spiced walnuts, is monumental. House made sodas are breathtaking, vibrant with flavor and truly refreshing. We are especially fond of strawberry-basil and cucumber mint; and fresh ginger ale is a knock-out.
The Tiny Diner is an upbeat eatery where the staff very much enjoy working in so purposeful a place. Small as it is, indoor seating is comfy, while the alternative, when weather permits, is at a table out on the broad patio. Here sunlight filters down from the solar-paneled roof and bathes diners in a dreamy blue light.