Grab a Bite: Graduate Guide to Lunch Near Campus

Forget to pack a lunch? Need a coffee between classes? Grab a Bite is our three-part series sharing the best places to eat on and around campus. This edition covers off-campus lunch spots, as suggested by our graduate student community!

Historic charleston sc

Charleston is well-known as a foodie’s paradise, with a vast selection of cuisines available throughout Downtown and region as a whole. This can make remembering to pack a lunch or snacks extremely difficult, with so many delicious options around our campus! We asked our Instagram community for their favorite lunch spots off-campus, and below are their responses, ranked alphabetically:

Brown Dog Deli (225 Calhoun Street):

Brown Dog Deli is a “classic gourmet foodie deli” located just steps off campus. Open Monday – Saturday, 11am – 9pm, and Sundays from 11am – 4pm, Brown Dog Deli has convenient hours for graduate students on any academic schedule. Their menu includes breakfast items (served 8am – 11am Monday through Friday) like biscuits and breakfast sandwiches, to smoothies, salads, sandwiches, and wraps. There are even vegan and vegetarian options! Popular items include the Pig N’ Fig, a pulled pork sandwich with granny smith apple, bacon jam, and a fig-rosemary preserve, Turkey in the Straw, a turkey sandwich with strawberry-goat cheese, balsamic reduction, strawberries, bacon, red onion, and arugula, and the Fried Green Tomato BLT, complete with Palmetto pimento cheese, pepper jelly, and ranch on a homemade herb focaccia.

Circe’s Grotto (85 Wentworth Street):

Circe’s Grotto offers made-to-order sandwiches, paninis, wraps, and salads with fresh ingredients only steps off campus. Open Monday – Thursday, 10am – 4pm, Friday – Saturday, 10am – 3pm, Circe’s Grotto has classic sandwiches elevated to new highest by using the freshest ingredients. Their menu includes all-day breakfast, hot and cold sandwiches and wraps, as well as an array of fresh salads. Popular items include the Turkey Melt, made with Cabot cheddar, onion, avocado, and red pepper mayo, Thymely Tuna Melt, with homemade tuna salad, cheddar, onion, and tomato, and the Baby Spinach Salad, with peas, pine nuts, parmesan, and pesto vinaigrette.

Cuban Gypsy Pantry (141 Calhoun Street):

Cuban Gypsy Pantry is a Cuban food eatery that just a few minutes off campus. Open Monday – Saturday, 11am – 8pm, and Sundays 11am – 5pm, Cuban Gypsy Pantry is your new go-to spot for all things flavorful and Cuban. With a menu that includes empanadas, pressed sandwiches, and some vegetarian options, you won’t have any trouble finding a delicious meal here. Popular items include the Cuban with Chips, with pulled pork, salami, ham, cheese, pickles, greens and mustard, the Plantain Boat, with whole fried sweet plantain stuffed with picadillo beef, a fried egg, green sauce, and cheese, and the Beef Empanada Plate, which comes with beans, rice, plantains, and sauce.

East Side Soul Food (46 America Street):

Authentic soul food awaits you at East Side Soul Food. Just a fifteen-minute walk from campus, East Side Soul food serves up big soul flavors at their mom-and-pop eatery. Each dish includes a protein and two soul sides. Open Monday – Saturday from 11am – 9pm, this great spot is convenient for grad students on any schedule. Popular items include the ribs, fried fish, red rice, and collard greens.

Five Loaves Café (43 Cannon Street):

Five Loaves Café is a café that strives to create a healthier, more sustainable and responsible restaurant and operates under a greener philosophy. Utilizing locally-sourced and environmentally-friendly ingredients, Five Loaves serves up a menu of salads, sandwiches, soups. They even have gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian-friendly options! Open Monday – Friday, 11am – 8pm, and Saturday – Sunday, 10am – 3pm, 4pm – 8pm, Five Loaves is just a few minutes’ walk off campus. Popular items include the Eggplant Fritters, with greens, grilled asparagus, and goat cheese, Chicken Salad Club, with avocado, smoked bacon, red grapes, greens, tomato, and onion, and the Mexican Chicken Chili.

Mama Kim’s (349 King Street):

Looking for authentic Korean food at a reasonable price? Look no further than Mama Kim’s! Located just steps off campus on King Street, this Korean and Asian food eatery is a must-try for graduate students. Open Monday – Friday, 11am – 11pm, Saturdays from 11:30am – 11pm, and Sundays from 12pm – 10pm, Mama Kim’s has Korean bites, sushi, soups, and noodles. Popular items include the Bulgogi, which is thinly sliced beef marinated in a special soy marinade, Udon, or chewy noodles with vegetables in broth, and Bibimbop, or steamed rice with vegetables, bulgogi, fried egg and spicy sauce.

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