Gulp: Don’t Take Your Kids to Breweries

A few months ago, a local publication offered advice, unsolicited to my knowledge (much like this post), regarding how to go to bars in Charleston when you have small kids.

How about … don’t?

Find something else, somewhere else. But to take a child to a dedicated drinking den — it’s a literal brewery! — shows a distinct lack of imagination and a bit of selfishness.

You can soft-sell your sips at restaurants or various fun parks that peddle booze and cater to children. No prob there, plus the Chuck-E-Cheese band sounds pretty good after a couple of Coors Lights.

But shoving your kid in a corner with a coloring book while you take down a couple of IPAs in the taproom is kind of sad.

Someone recently pointed out to me the cuteness of apple juice boxes in the cooler at one local brewery.

To that I say: Gateway Drink!

Here’s another thought while you’re out sampling flights and pretentiously discussing flavor notes: spring for a babysitter, you cheapskate. I doubt your infant is going to split an Uber with you anyway.

How is there even a debate that children don’t belong in breweries? What’s next, biker bars rolling out tricycles for tots? (Well, that’s actually a pretty great idea, but I digress.)

Just because the patrons of these increasingly fancy breweries are often wearing designer jeans, ludicrous boots and $200 Barbour vests, it doesn’t change the fact that the primary, if not sole, purpose of going to these places is to drink beer (or wine for the more difficult among us).

Two of the most annoying people groups are drunk folk and children. I should know; I’ve been both, and they don’t mix.

Oh, and one more thing: keep your dog at home while you’re at it, too.

An Unenthusiastic Critical Examination of Chick-fil-A

In which I broach some wildly uncomfortable topics re: chicken.

Look, I don’t really want to do this, but after several sub-par visits there are some questions to be raised about Chick-fil-A.


What’s Not Great?

  • Tough Nuggets: Listen, *sometimes* the nuggets at Chick-fil-A are amazing. The catering trays have their charms, don’t get me wrong. But SOMETIMES the nugs are like deep-fried ROCKS. Hard and tough is great for an MMA fighter or your personal injury lawyer, less so for a chunk of chicken.
  • Waffling on the Fries: On their day, the waffle fries are fairly glorious. Golden, salty, delicious. But the balance is delicate and there are times it can taste like you’re eating elaborately cut cardboard. NOT my pleasure, Chick-fil-A.
  • Spicy Chicken Sandwich: CFA has never nailed this. It’s a great idea, but the sandwich isn’t crisp (due to the extra spices?), for some reason. And that just doesn’t work.
  • Sauces: Chick-fil-A sauce is great, though not in league of Cane’s or the little-known Cook Out Special Sauce. After that, though, things fall off a cliff. Serviceable barbecue (which they disastrously tried to retool before scrapping), awful honey mustard, “zesty” Buffalo and Polynesian are a waste of everyone’s time. Like, seriously, get out my face with Polynesian sauce.
  • Salty: Everything — everything! — is Taylor Swift-level salty.
  • Grilled Nuggets: Literal garbage.
  • Lemonade: Offensive.
  • Weak Breakfast: Chicken minis? The aforementioned nuggets wrapped in undercooked dough? Sounds *delicious.* And the biscuits ain’t no Bojangle’s.
  • Closed on Sundays: Loathe to criticize here, but it’s annoying!

The Good (to Great):

  • Strips: The best item on the menu, by far. Juicy, tender and flavorful. WHY ISN’T ALL THE CHICKEN THIS GOOD?
  • Pickles: Pickles make the chicken sandwich a star.

Chick-fil-A’s ultimate problem is consistency. Then again, on some level, I guess that could be said for most everything in life.

What Ever Happened to the Iconic Comedy?

It got Munsoned.

While flipping through the new DirecTV on-demand offerings recently (thanks, rain), it dawned on me it’s been years since a cultural milestone comedy has been released.


Now it’s possible that I’ve just moved far enough along in life that I’m not “hip” to all the cool new flicks out there, but what was the last big, quotable film in the order of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Office Space, Anchorman, Super Troopers, Step Brothers, etc.?

Alrighty then, I believe you have my stapler, That escalated quickly, Littering and …, The Catalina Wine Mixer. All classics that many people — well, particularly bros — reference to this day.

But what have the 2010s, and especially the last five years, brought us? Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates? Baywatch? (Perhaps The House, out this month and starring Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler, will be a reprieve, though that somehow feels unlikely.)

Take a look at these non-comprehensive, off-the-cuff lists of comedies from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Then look at the 2010s. Where are the laughs?


  • Ghostbusters
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • Caddyshack
  • Airplane!
  • Coming to America
  • The Princess Bride
  • Weird Science
  • Revenge of the Nerds
  • National Lampoon’s Vacation
  • Trading Places
  • This Is Spinal Tap
  • Spaceballs
  • The Blues Brothers
  • Trains, Planes and Automobile
  • Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
  • Three Amigos
  • National Lampoons’ Christmas Vacation
  • Fletch
  • Major League
  • Uncle Buck


  • Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
  • Billy Madison
  • Happy Gilmore (The price is wrong!)
  • There’s Something About Mary
  • Dumb and Dumber
  • Tommy Boy/Blacksheep
  • Kingpin
  • Wayne’s World
  • Office Space
  • The Big Lebowski
  • Home Alone
  • What About Bob?
  • Captain Ron
  • Groundhog Day
  • Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery


  • Anchorman
  • Old School
  • 40-Year-Old Virgin
  • Knocked Up
  • Wedding Crashers
  • Superbad
  • Step Brothers
  • The Hangover
  • Dodgeball
  • Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
  • Team America: World Police
  • Super Troopers
  • Meet the Parents
  • Mean Girls
  • Bad Santa


  • The Other Guys
  • Bridesmaids
  • Ted
  • Horrible Bosses
  • 21 Jump Street
  • The World’s End

It’s possible the dearth of big-time funny films can be attributed to TV’s emergence as a prestige medium over the past two decades. Maybe audiences now prefer bite-sized digital content. Regardless, you have to wonder when the next massive comedy might come along.

Essential Mount Pleasant Shopping Centers, Part I


Strip malls. Centres. Shoppes. Plazas. Whatever name you choose, there are a plenty of them — and a lot of gratuitous e’s — in Mount Pleasant. We’ve rounded up the MOST essential retail hubs that you totes gotta visit.

Here’s part I:


Star Tenant:
Harris Teeter … Hey, did you know there are SEVEN Harris Teeters east of the Cooper River? That is an actual fact.
Watering Hole: Starbucks
Good Eats: Is Moe’s technically in Village Pointe? Who knows! Ali Baba and China East complete a world of flavors, we guess.
Also Appearing: Minuteman Press (give them your printing business), Gwynn’s of Mount Pleasant, Rite-Aid
Fancy E:

Navigating to Staples will have you saying, “Hey, parking here is not easy.”
Star Tenant:
 Whole Foods … Despite the nearby plethora of Harris Teeters, Whole Foods is forever the Official Grocery Store of Mount Pleasant. Side note: The average household income within a 1-mile radius of Patriots Plaza is $111,137 — almost enough to cover one Whole Foods run per month.
Good Eats: Graze, Aya Cookhouse
Also Appearing: Staples, Party Plan-It, Causey’s Barbershop
Fancy E: No


The prepositional usage makes no sense here. Neither did the decision to replace Pinz Bowling and More with an Aldi. =( … Interesting fact: The Plaza was also until very recently home of Radio Shack.
Star Tenant: The aforementioned Aldi.
Watering Hole: None
Good Eats:
Pattaya Thai (?)
Also Appearing: Firehouse Subs, Batteries Plus Bulbs, Pivotal Fitness
Fancy E: No

Star Tenant: Bi-Lo
Good Eats: Langdon’s Restaurant & Wine Bar, arguably Mount Pleasant’s fanciest restaurant.
Watering Hole: Collective Coffee, voted Best Mount Pleasant Coffee Shop — by the staff of
Also Appearing: Golden Garden, NMotion (Not a boy band.)
Fancy E: Nah

Star Tenant:
The largest of Mount Pleasant’s three Publix. Also what is the plural of Publix?
Watering Hole:

Good Eats: The bomb sushi at Locals
Also Appearing: Clarey’s Liquors, Animal Eye Care Associates, Angels &Rascals
Fancy E: No, but they could have gotten away with one

Owned by the same company and they’re adjacent, so they mutated into a Super Shopping Center.
Watering Hole: Tru Blue’s House of Wings
Good Eats: Probably five of Mount Pleasant’s top 15 restaurants: Congress, Kanpai, Cuoco Pazzo, Charleston’s CafeCinco Tex-Mex (should it ever open)
Fancy E: No, but there is a silent K

One of innumerable smaller centers lining Mount Pleasant thoroughfares, Crickentree is home to arguably the best all-time pun-name retailer: Consigning Women & Men. Consigning Women! Could you imagine Julia Sugarbaker at a consignment shop? LOLZ. No, you could not. The 37-year-old shopping center was also once home to From Here to Maternity. Pun game is strong.
Star Tenant: I think we just covered that.
Watering Hole: None. RIP Village Tavern.
Good East: Five Loaves
Also Appearing: Eyecare Center of Mount Pleasant
Fancy E: No

Literally in the shadow the Bowman Road flyover. Once home to a Blockbuster Video.
Star Tenant: Stuckey Furniture
Watering Hole: None since Kickin’ Chicken moved to greener pastures. The e-cig store will have to do. (Aside: Are vape shop and e-cig store interchangeable?)
Good Eats: Asian Flavor, possibly.
Also Appearing: Nothing Bundt Cake (That pun takes the pie.)
Fancy E:  Yessir

Play on, playas. Dick’s Sporting Goods anchors Bowman Place.

Once considered as a location for Mount Pleasant Town Hall, a massive 2015 renovation saw the removal of a Soviet-era KMart and a Little Caesars. Alas, RIP The Keg Club.
Star Tenant: Dick’s Sporting Goods
Watering Hole: TBD
Good Eats:
Kairos Greek Kitchen from chef John Ondo of Lana fame seems to have real potential.
Also Appearing: Urban Cookhouse, MidiCi (coming soon), J. Crew Mercantile, Nordstrom Rack, DSW Designer Show (It’s a fancy strip, what can we say?)
Fancy E: 
Surprisingly, no


The parking lot features a main lane that bisects the entire blacktop from the entrance to the front door of Staples. Along the way is a seemingly unmitigated series of turnoffs and pull-through spaces. Anything goes!
Star Tenant: Walmart
Watering Hole: None
Good Eats: We’ll say the recently opened Jim ‘N Nick’s is nearby enough.
Also Appearing: Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Michaels, 5 Below (Also not boy band.)
Fancy E: No

The retail behemoth of Mount Pleasant. Pro tip: The Mount Pleasant Police Substation there doesn’t sell hoagies, so don’t ask.
Star Tenant: Belk
Watering Hole: P.F. Chang’s (Ask my long-time associate Zach Wiegand about that. He is the Norm of P.F. Chang’s. Wiegand!)
Good Eats:
Grimaldi’s Pizzeria
Also Appearing:
Regal Palmetto Grande Stadium16 (fancy E!), Barnes & Noble, a bunch of high-class stores we probably can’t afford.
Other notes: Five (5) roundabouts up in there. … Hand sanitizer stations are denoted on all maps.
Fancy E:
Of course

You might think this is part of Town Centre. You would be wrong.
Star Tenant: Bi-Lo
Watering Hole: Charleston Sports Pub
Good Eats: Tsunami, Taco Bell (Deal with it!)
Also Appearing: Thomas Family Barber Shop, Marco’s Pizza
Fancy E: No

Oakland-Plantation -Mount-Pleasant
Epic sculpture. // Photo: AgentOwned Realty

The sweetgrass basket monument is cool.
Star Tenant: Walmart
Good Eats/Watering Hole: Chains for days — East Bay Deli, Wild Wing Cafe, La Hacienda, Wasabi, McDonald’s, Jersey Mike’s, Pizza Hut and a Chick-Fil-A that absolutely prints money.
Also Appearing: At one point there was a Goin’ Postal location here. Who signed off on that name!?
Fancy E: No

Tenants include a bar, a gun store and an e-Cig depot.
Star Tenant: Palmetto State Armory
Watering Hole: Manhattan’s
Good Eats: Peking Gourmet … It’s the closest Chinese takeout to us and you could do worse.
Also appearing: Shear Madness, Accurate Chiropractic
Fancy E: What do you think?


Star Tenant: Yet another Harris Teeter.
Watering Hole: Dog and Duck
Good Eats: Restaurants seem to cycle out of here pretty quickly. The Granary, Pawley’s Front Porch, Hubee-D’s, Finn’s and more have all come and gone. (RIP Beef ‘O’ Brady’s.) There’s an Italian restaurant there. Is it good? Maybe!
Also Appearing: Wonder Works
Fancy E: I do declare

Charleston Barbecue, Ranked

A definitive and infallible ranking of pork barbecue in Charleston, S.C.

I will not be questioned!

  1. Rodney Scott’s BBQ
  2. Swig & Swine (Best hash in town.)
  3. Duke’s BBQ
  4. Cooking Carolina (Eastern N.C.-style food truck.)
  5. Home Team BBQ
  6. Bessinger’s BBQ
  7. Melvin’s BBQ
  8. Jim ‘N Nick’s
  9. Smoky Oak
  10. Lewis Barbecue (Not a brisket poll; no contest there.)
  11. JB’s Smokeshack
  12. Smoke BBQ
  13. Queology 

Note: This list doesn’t factor in hot guts, wings, brisket or beverage programs. It’s all pork, all the time.

Note 2: I haven’t visited the smokehouses, Cumberland Street, Poogan’s and Southern Roots. Feel free to let me know if I’ve missed a worthy contender.

Note 3: Places like Sweatman’s and Music Man were too far out. This is essentially Charleston, James Island, North Charleston and Mount Pleasant. The inner core of the Charleston Metro, if you will.

Hotline Bling

Earlier this year I got the itch to own an old-school desk telephone.

Why? Well, I like everything about them.

I like the gray, letter-embossed buttons, the cradle receiver and the curly, stretchy cord. I like that you can carry the base around. I like how, if you take a black-and-white photo of someone while they’re speaking into such a phone, it automatically looks like a Very Important Phone Call.

My first thought was to get one for work. My strategy chats with clients would no doubt benefit and I would sound more authoritative when speaking with reporters.

The gravitas would be palpable.

The idea was quickly shot down by Michele, who fills a litany of roles at the office, including making equipment dreams come true. She said a phone like that wouldn’t connect to our uber-modern telecommunications system and that if I wanted one I could use it as a “paper weight.”

Touche, Michele.


It’s like the Bay of Pigs up in here.

As I continue to convalesce, my boss has been making regular visits to see me. Earlier this week he brought with him a sizable box. It was from Michele — and it was the red phone pictured above.

Touche again, Michele.

I quickly added a land line to my phone plan for a couple of bucks, tracked down a DSL filter, and started dialing people up on what I’ve dubbed The Brockline.

It’s glorious. The ring is amazing. The sound it makes when it comes on and off the hook is like poetry.

The line has no caller ID, no call waiting and no voicemail. It is simply a direct landline to my house. If you ring it and I’m home, I will answer. And if you’d like the number, message me for a Very Important Call.