Gullah Cuisine: Carrying on Legendary Lowcountry Cooking [CLOSED]

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Gullah Restaurant South Carolina

Gullah Cuisine celebrates culinary heritage that connects South Carolina with Africa.

Sundays at Gullah Cuisine have become legendary in the Lowcountry. The after-church crowd gorges on the deluxe buffet ($12.99). A back room hosts large parties. During our visit, a family reunion of 50 people was set to arrive by bus. Owners Frank and Charlotte Jenkins even draw hordes of tourists looking to connect with black history through ancestral food.

Gullah is a culture that was forcefully imported from Africa to the area south of Charleston, centering on Beaufort. American Gullah people were initially slaves. Charlotte and husband Frank have run a catering company since 1990, and decided to open a restaurant in Mt. Pleasant on May 10, 1997, to keep up with the increasing demand for their food. When asked to describe their concept, Frank said, “Soul food is exactly like Gullah cuisine, but Gullah cuisine came first.”

A big basket of homemade cornbread squares and rolls awaited us at the buffet’s mouth.

Menu South Carolina

Gullah Cuisine prints a menu, but I surrendered completely to the buffet, which featured rows of covered metal trays.

Fried Chicken South Carolina

Crispy fried chicken was the first of many standout proteins.

Gullah Food South Carolina

Well-seasoned baked chicken included breasts, prized poultry parts rarely included in buffet lines.

Gullah Food South Carolina

Collard greens cooked with ham hock.

Gullah Food South Carolina

Okra succotash joined yellow rice with lima beans and chunks of ham.

Gullah Food South Carolina

Seafood casserole starred big chunks of real crab.

Other trays touted cinnamon-swirled candied yams, red rice, crusty yellow cheddar macaroni & cheese, corn pudding, and shrimp and grits, a definitive Lowcountry dish. At a cutting station, a man carved honey ham and roast beef.

For dessert, Gullah Cuisine offered squares of dense bread pudding with raisins and a layer of built-in peaches, and peach cobbler. The bread pudding was tasty, and the peach cobbler wasn’t bad, but the peaches clearly came from a can.

After our meal, Frank said he plans to try something new in the next two years, and we’ll hear about it. Gullah Cuisine was getting set to launch a jazz night with more upscale food and three performers, including Sam Singleton and Ann Caldwell, for $40. In the meantime, locals can enjoy reasonably priced Southern food, with a big helping of heritage.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

Food critiques are obviously in the palate of the critic. I found the above exhange ..between Ivy and yourself…. “interesting.” As a child of great Southern chefs I would question the commentary on the peaches in the Cobbler being obviously from cans. I had to laugh at that …while you might historically have had ‘fresh peach’ cobbler and while that might be something an upscale chef might set this dish apart with as a ‘take# on Southern or African American cooking ….at 59 yrs I scarce can remember a Peach Cobbler ‘not’ from canned peaches. The measure of great modern day chefs was how they prepared the peaches and the level to which they did not taste ‘canned.’ Before seriously accepting that comment I would have to know the comparison was like to like rather than canned vs fresh. Reminded me of an ‘authentic’ Southern Cuisine restaurant that opened in CA that featured bread pudding made with Croissants. While it was to ‘die for’ – figuratively and maybe literally from clogged arteries…it was disingenuous to claim it was based solely on authentic pre- civil war cooking…a claim made of dishes cooked in extra extra girgin olive oil. lol
caveat: no axe to grind I don’t know the reviewer or commentator, nor have Idined at the restaurant…I was nust researching Gullah food on the internet.

The food is 1000 times better than this photography shows.
And to 1st focus on the bread like this page does is retarded. There is no lima beans in the rice served that way “okra succotash and yellow rice with lima beans and chunks of ham..”, it’s Okra in the rice with bits of ham.
Then the photos/descriptions go even further downhill on this excellent food. I hope they did not have to pay for this as an ad.


My goal was to recommend Gullah Cuisine’s food to readers. I started with the bread since it was located at the entrance to the buffet, then worked my way down the line. My photos weren’t great in this case, but it was the best I could do at the time, given my camera and the lighting.

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