It’s a given – Charleston has some of the best food in the world. It pretty much defines dining destination.
We love visiting Charleston, but this time wanted to go more “local”, hunting out spots known mostly to those who live there year-round. The Wreck of the Richard & Charlene used to be known only to locals, but since the 90’s, they’ve gotten a lot of national press and now serve folks from all over the world. You’d never know it, though. I’m thinking only a certain percentage of Charleston visitors venture outside downtown, and those that do, have to find the place!
The Wreck is on Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant, just across Charleston Harbor. And I mean ON Shem Creek. Step out the back door and this is what you’ll see:
Look to your left and see:
We’re talkin’ seafood right off the boats that day.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. The first thing you have to do is FIND the Wreck. It’s tucked away between two commercial businesses who themselves are tucked away at the back of a residential neighborhood. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see a huge anchor in front of a red door, half hidden by overgrown flora, at the back of a dirt parking lot.
Butted up to one side of the lot is where you park if you’ve arrived by sea. Just kidding, but this really is the parking lot.
Some reviews you’ll read say they don’t take checks, credit or debit cards here, but they do now. They do not split tickets.
Casual is the word here. Screen-porch seating overlooks the creek. Free boiled peanuts in a paper bowl arrive at your table as soon as you’re seated. Your meal will be served on paper plates. And mind the uneven concrete floor.
Those boiled peanuts were tempting, but we took a pass. Instead we began with soup. Charleston signature dish She Crab ($7.50) for me, served with Sherry for drizzling on the soup if so desired (I desired).
Clam Chowder ($5.95) is one of PIC’s favorites, so it was a given. Take a look at this soup. Absolutely clam-tastic!
These Stone Crab Claws (1/2 lb $20.95) were delicious and perfect for sharing – no “I cut, you choose” required.
Hmmm. How to delicately crack these claws? There’s no delicate about it. Our server brought over a pile of paper napkins, instructing us to fold them over the claw and whack with their special cracker – a heavy pipe. Worked perfectly!
All dinners are served with Red Rice, Slaw, Hush Puppy and a Wreck trademark, Fried Hominy Square. Lest you think a fried hominy square be a bland, land-lubber’s bit o’ nonsense, you’ll be surprised at how good this creamy inside – crunchy outside, spiced up just a bit, little square of flavor is. Crab, Oyster, Scallop and Shrimp dinners are portioned as Richard’s at 1/2 pound, or Charlene’s at 1/4 pound.
Being the fish lover he is, PIC ordered Flounder ($18.95). He was not disappointed with this generously portioned, beautifully seasoned, flaky fish. Unfortunately, the white Lima Beans were bland and overcooked.
If I’m not ordering crab cakes, I’m almost always ordering shrimp. This is Charlene’s 1/4 pound portion ($27.95). Mmm, Mmm, Mmm. Crispy and cooked to perfection. And, I’m a little embarrassed to say it, but I could have eaten three or four more of those hush puppies. The rice . . . meh, but the slaw was fresh and tasty.
The Wreck of the Richard & Charlene gets its name from a derelict shrimp trawler that was picked up, spun around and impaled on pilings on the very spot where the restaurant now sits, during hurricane Hugo. Read more about that here.
Dining at the Wreck is a fun, funky, delicious fresh seafood adventure.
The Wreck of the Richard & Charlene
106 Haddrell Street
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464