Clay and I love good food and staying connected with new restaurants here in Charleston. We’re self-proclaimed foodies, and it’s helpful that I run 40+ miles a week to justify my eating habits addiction.
Recently, we attended Yelp’s Elite Evening at Barony Tavern, a newly-opened restaurant tucked inside the Renaissance Charleston Hotel on Wentworth Street. Barony Tavern is decorated like a Southern hunting lodge and serves casual Southern cuisine, featuring both a tavern menu of lighter options and a dinner menu.
Barony Tavern’s renowned executive chef, Bob Carter, is one of the best-known chefs in Charleston. He’s appeared on the Food Network and several network cooking shows including Martha Stewart, and he’s known for his legendary coconut cake.
Yelp serves to connect people with local businesses, and I found it when we moved to Charleston in 2012. It’s a good website if you’re new in town or travelling and need a recommendation on where to eat, visit, shop, get gas, etc. You can read reviews for everything from dentists to delis, and you can join and write your own reviews. If you utilize Yelp reviews, I encourage you to pay it forward by joining and writing reviews.
As a Yelp Elite (I’ve been one since 2013), I write reviews and get invited to fun parties and events like this one. I’ve written over 300 business reviews, and you can read them here. Elite events are a great way to get to know new businesses as well as fellow Yelpers.
Charleston’s Yelp Community Manager, Scotty, and Yelp’s intern Molly did an excellent job organizing the Elite Evening. I commend them because they’re busy in the community visiting new businesses, trying new restaurants, letting businesses know how Yelp can help them with marketing, dealing with businesses where negative reviews were left, and of course, planning and managing events.
I’ve never been disappointed in a Yelp event, and Scotty and Molly’s hard work is a big reason why.
Since the event was for 50 elites and their guests, Barony Tavern provided samples and tastings rather than a traditional dinner service, and everyone was encouraged to stay for dinner or return to Barony Tavern to experience a full meal. I didn’t take a ton of food pictures, but you can check out Victorious Photography’s pictures from the event if you want to see some.
I didn’t get to sample everything, but some of my favorites included the seasoned shrimp nestled in pimento cheese and the lobster roll. I also got to sample the crab cake, which was all meat and one of the best crab cakes I’ve had. Everyone agreed that all the samples were good- no one had anything they disliked or didn’t care for.
Along with food, we tried a drink called the sweet tea-tini, which contains Firefly sweet tea vodka. Sweet Tea is a Southern staple that no Charleston restaurant or bar dares to mess up. I’m not usually a sweet tea fan, but I liked the tea-tini. It was sweet and strong- you only need one.
Of course, the showstopper was the ultimate coconut cake, and each guest received his or her very own slice. Best of all, Chef Carter and his pastry chef demonstrated how the cake is made, even putting it together in front of us. Seeing how much sugar and butter go in the cake is crazy, but everyone enjoyed it guilt-free anyway!
The cake was rich and one of the most delicious coconut cakes I’ve had. Chef Carter’s recipe is the same used at his previous restaurant, Peninsula Grill, where the whole cake sells for $130.
Speaking of Chef Carter, he was super down-to-earth and made a point to speak to everyone who attended, thanking us and inviting us back to the restaurant. In a city packed with delicious restaurants, personal touches and attentive staff go far. Service is usually why we return (or don’t return) to restaurants, and Chef Carter’s personal service definitely “made” our night at Barony Tavern. We can’t wait to go back for lunch or dinner.