Over the last few months, we’ve made several trips to Workshop, Charleston’s first “fancy” food court. Located on way, way, waaaaaaaay upper King Street, Workshop features a rotating set of kitchens – some there for the long haul (like Bad Wolf Coffee and Juan Luis) and others for a few short weeks or months (Beech Test Kitchen, we miss you!). From crowd- (and kid-) pleasers like Slice Co’s New York-style pizza to more exotic fare like Sambar’s Indian street food, Workshop’s varied restaurants offer something for every palate. With so many diverse dining options – not to mention ample free parking (a rarity in Charleston!) and a ton of indoor and outdoor seating – Workshop is a great gathering place for a group. So when we were asked to come up with a fun, casual spot to grab a bite to eat after a group tour last weekend, our recommendation was easy: Workshop and its six restaurants in one!
Last Sunday, we joined about 25 fellow William & Mary alumni and guests (Tribe Pride!) for a really interesting and informative tour of the H.L. Hunley submarine in nearby North Charleston (locals, this is worth your time if you haven’t been!) before making the short drive over to Workshop. While we were a bit disappointed to discover that the very popular Juan Luis is closed on Sundays and that the Asian-inspired Slider Gold was only offering a limited menu that day, everyone quickly found food to their liking at Workshop’s other stalls. Sambar and the Vietnamese-focused Pink Bellies were the big hits of the evening.
Sambar is a very welcome addition to Charleston’s limited Indian food scene, especially since its offerings are a bit more adventurous than the standard chicken tikka masala. On our visit, several W&Mers enjoyed the thali – a variety of delicious dishes served on a single plate. Perfect for sharing (though not quite large enough to constitute a full meal for two), Sambar’s thali plate comes with basmati rice, vegetables, sambar, green and mango chutneys, raita, dosa and a choice of pork vindaloo, coconut cashew curry or chicken curry. It’s a great introduction to Sambar’s cuisine, as is the “dosa and dips” (Indian flatbread served with a variety of chutneys and sauces). The lamb meatballs, served with curried lentil hummus, eggplant and cherry tomato masala, gingered turnips and naan, were another favorite, and we’ll definitely be ordering these again on our next visit.
Pink Bellies offers Asian-inspired noodle and rice bowls topped with a variety of meats, onto which you can (and should!) add a delicious, 63-degree sous vide egg. The chicken thigh rice bowl and pulled pork-laden garlic noodle bowl are particular favorites – both offer heaping portions of perfectly-cooked rice or noodles topped with pickled vegetables and a mound of the meat of choice. It’s tough to go wrong with anything on offer.
While several of the Workshop stalls serve alcohol, the selection is limited (though thoughtfully selected to pair well with their food). Luckily, Workshop is right next door to, and shares its outdoor space with, the newly-opened Edmund’s Oast Brewing Company. Our crew had no trouble ordering beer and wine at the brewery and bringing it back to enjoy at Workshop, making both spots all the more appealing. We can envision many more group gatherings in this great new space … we’ll definitely be back soon to work(shop) our way through its many offerings!
1503 King Street, Charleston, SC
Open daily for lunch & dinner (though individual kitchens’ hours may vary)