When doing research trying to find a great spot in Charleston for breakfast, The Early Bird Diner kept popping up on the top of all my searches. The Early Bird’s famous Chicken and Waffles were featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. The Early Bird is also the most popular breakfast spot in Charleston according to Urbanspoon and Yelp. But if it is good enough for the Food Network it is good enough for me.
We were heading for breakfast on a Saturday morning and while we were expecting a long wait, it turned out to be a short 20 minutes or so. The dining room is very small, only about 20 tables if even that. There isn’t a designated area to wait for a table and it was a cold windy day, so we were all crammed indoors in this tiny little area, standing over tables as people ate. I had a great view of everyone’s food though!
Once we were seated we ordered right away and the food came pretty quickly. I ordered the Shrimp and Grits (how could I not? I was in the South!) There are two versions of the shrimp and grits- one was with sauteed shrimp in a tomato-bacon gravy and the other was fried with a sweet and spicy jelly. Since I didn’t want the bacon gravy, I chose the fried version. I had no regrets. It was amazing.
The shrimp themselves weren’t too heavily breaded and the grits were thick and creamy, the way grits should be. Too many times grits are watery and lacking flavor but not here. They were delicious. The sweet and spicy jelly was extraordinary with the fried shrimp.
My dish came with a side of toast and I really enjoyed the rye toast with the sour cherry fruit spread from the jelly bowl on the table.
Chad ordered a dish called The Mess. The Mess is “a scramble of curried vegetables, potatoes and egg topped with avocado.” I was lucky he was willing to share because it was delicious and savory. The curry flavor was just enough to add a little more flavor to the scrambled eggs without being overpowering. The eggs were mixed with potatoes, peppers and onions so his whole plate was a great spicy meal.
While we ordered two very distinctive dishes, there are other more typical diner dishes like biscuits and gravy, omelets and pancakes. However, worth a thought is also the Corn Cake Benedict and if you so desire, the Chicken and Waffles.
It was easy to see why The Early Bird Diner was so popular. What an amazing Southern diner. They are also opened for lunch and dinner, however, breakfast is served all day if you so desire. Five out of five sprouts.