Julia Grant, Linda Pinckney, & Sharon Coakley, Bertha's Kitchen (North Charleston, SC)
There is never a time where there is not a line at Bertha’s Kitchen in North Charleston, SC. That means that you’ll have plenty of time to decide what all you want for your meal (hint: you want lima beans), and you’ll also have time to read the mentions in Southern Living and Garden and Gun hanging on the wall. Owners Julia Grant, Linda Pinckney, and Sharon Coakley cook just like their mother, Bertha, taught them to, and that line from doors open to close existed long before the 2017 James Beard Foundation America Classic Award. Still, the award illustrates what locals have known for a long time: this is the place to get fed. And by fed, I mean much more than just the food on your tray. Bertha’s is the place to go when you need to know that some things, like red rice and green beans, don’t need an update, that no matter what kind of day you had, the fried chicken will be fresh for you until the doors close, that you’ll have a hefty dose of love and an occasional “baby” and “how you been” when you get to the front of the line. Bertha’s is what home tastes like, and these ladies know it. This restaurant is my comfort spot, which I admit here, along with the fact that I like sugar in my cornbread. Go ahead and make your judgement. While you are fighting about the ingredients in cornbread, I’m going to sneak another helping. Join us at the upstairs table, won’t you?