Running for Brews: Top 5 Run-For-Beer/Food Clubs You Need To Join Right Now

CHARLESTON BEER RUNNERS

CBR is my all-time favorite run club. What I like most about this running club is that they run to a different bar every week, providing a great way to sample all the great craft beers Charleston has to offer. The bars usually offer great deals on select craft beers to beer runners, and sometimes even offer discounted food items. Last week, I ran with this club to Home Team BBQ, where I enjoyed a $5 draft watermelon wheat beer and indulged in a few of their sides for just a little over $3 each!

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Mac and Cheese, Collard Greens, and Baked Bean Sides at Home Team BBQ

CHARLESTON RUNNING CLUB

This club is one of the oldest and longest running clubs in Charleston run club history. They help run some of the major races in Charleston, including the Cooper River Bridge Run. The group runs on Tuesday nights at 6:30 on the Ravenel Bridge. The run starts and ends at Bar Mash. Once a month they do a “Travel’n Group Run”, in which they run about 3 miles to a nearby bar. They run in a different part of Charleston each month. On October 15, they will be running in The Old Village of Mt. Pleasant and the run will end at Mainland Container Company, where you can indulge in a large selection of local craft beers, as well as food items like their $7 hush puppies (only $5 if you get there before 7!). The run starts at 6:30. There will be an Facebook event page posted for the run, so make sure to join the event page for more details.

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FLEET FEET RUNNING CLUB

Fleet Feet of Mt. Pleasant has a run club that runs every Wednesday to a different bar. What’s fun about this club is that at each run, they do amazing giveaways, such as a brand new pair of running shoes or even Bluetooth speakers! Next week they are running to Mainland Container Company, where they will be playing a team Scrabble. The run starts at 6:30pm at the Fleet Feet store in Mt. Pleasant.

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EXEMPLAR FITNESS RUN CLUB

Exemplar Fitness is a gym located on James Island, but something that many people may not know is that they have a FREE run club that meets every Tuesday at 6pm at Basic Kitchen. The group is lead by an Exemplar Fitness trainer, so it’s a great way to get an excellent workout in before indulging in Basic Kitchen’s fantastic Neighborhood Night special – $10 Burgers all night long!

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Basic Kitchen’s “Good Burger”

PARK CIRCLE PACERS

This group runs every Thursday evening in Park Circle at 6:15pm and also on Sunday mornings at 8:30am. The group meets and ends at Commonhouse Aleworks, so you can be sure to get your local craft beer fix. The group also does a “Brunches of Fun” run on Saturday mornings, starting at 9am near or at the brunch location and ends back at the brunch location for delicious noms. Make sure you check out their facebook page here to find out where they’re heading to next! The next “Brunches of Fun” run is on October 19.

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The Top 5 Places to Celebrate a Southern Oktoberfest

Fall weather is starting to set in, which means its just about that time to break out the beer steins and lederhosen! Oktoberfest is an annual folk-fest that happens in Munich, Germany. Lucky for us, the tradition has spread to many parts of the world..including Charleston! Some of the events are happening THIS WEEKEND and some are happening in weeks to come. I’m here to show you how you can get your Charleston Oktoberfest fix, without having to spend huge wads of cash.

1. 9/28/19: Park Circle Oktoberfest – head over to Park Circle in North Charleston for live music from several bands throughout the afternoon, several local food vendors, as well as beer, wine, cider, and lemonade. There will be artisan vendors for all your local craft-shopping needs, as well as games from Fly Dog Fitness, Blade and Bull Axe Throwing, and The Fun Factory. Parking is just $10 cash (I would suggest carpooling or taking an uber for the ultimate affordabilty factor) and event entry is FREE. Event is from 12-6pm.
2. 9/29/19: Frothy Oktoberfest Celebration – head over to Frothy Beard Brewing Company for food specials, live polka music from the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Pop Band, as well as the Hans Schmidt German Band. You can also participate in stein hoisting competitions and enjoy their newly released Marzen Oktoberfest beer. Event is FREE to attend and is from 11am-10pm.
3. 10/5/19: Bay Street Biergarten Oktoberfest – head over to Bay Street Biergarten for games such as “wrecking ball” and Blade and Bull Axe Throwing. Enjoy live music from Dan’s Tramp Stamp and the Money Bags, as well as DJ NattyHeavy. Event is FREE to attend and is from 11am-11pm.
4. 10/5/19: COASToberfest – head over to Coast Brewing Company for delicious craft beers, brats, and games. Event is FREE to attend and is from 12-5pm.
5. 10/13/19: Oktoberfest at Gene’s Haufbrau House – head over to Gene’s in West Ashley for live music, beer and brats! Event is FREE to attend. You just pay for the beer and brats! Event is from 1-6pm.

West Ashley Takes A Trip To Miami At Spanglish Cocina + Bar

Another day, another restaurant opening in Charleston! I am continuously pleased by the ethnic food growth Charleston has seen in the past couple months. From authentic Spanish tapas to French restaurants to Spanish-Cuban food, its amazing how well a city with a food norm of shrimp and grits has adapted to more eccentric flavors.

Last week I attended the opening night of Spanglish in West Ashley. Spanglish was formerly operated as a stall at Workshop and was also operated as a month-long residency at The Daily. It is owned and operated by Lynda and Thomas Prado, who both grew up in Miami and have been striving to bring the same authentic Cuban-American food they grew up eating to Charleston, with a bit of a Spanish twist. Ultimately, they opened up a brick and mortar in West Ashley in the former home of Bluerose Cafe.

Upon arriving at Spanglish, the excitement about this restaurant was quite noticeable. The restaurant was completely full just about an hour after opening and we were placed on a wait. After about 30 minutes, our table was ready for us and we entered into a small diner-esque restaurant, with Cuban music reverberating throughout the restaurant and neon pink decor scattered throughout. We were told that this decor is typical of a Miami Cuban restaurant.

My friends and I decided to share the “Spanglish Platter”, which cost $28 and consists of tostones, yucca fries, empanadas, fried pork belly, and croquettes. We were told that this was a great way to get a taste of standard Cuban cuisine and when splitting it, only cost us about $9 each. The platter was a pretty decent size and was the perfect amount of food for 3 people. My favorite food item on the platter was the empanadas. The meat filling was extremely flavorful and the empanada shell itself was fried to crispy perfection. There was good crunchy texture on the outside and a spicy flavor with a hint of sweetness on the inside. The other items on the platter were good, but we felt that this platter needed a bit more variety. It was a platter composed of deep friend foods, and some of it seemed almost too dry. I’ve never been to Miami, so this may be exactly how Miami Cuban-American cuisine should taste, but I definitely felt the need for a salad to balance out all the fried stuff.

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I opted for a simple watercress and avocado salad that was topped with sunflower seeds, grapefruit and a citrus vinaigrette. This salad cost me about $11. I would say that pricing is a bit high for such a simple salad, but it was worth it for how flavorful and fresh the watercress tasted. It was the perfect way to balance out all the fried foods I had just eaten.

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In terms of this restaurant’s affordability, I would say that going with a group of friends and ordering the Spanglish Platter is the best way to get a good bang for your buck. It provides a good way to sample the staples of Miami Cuban cuisine, and is enough to feed 3 or more people. The restaurant also offers a few entrees that are priced in the $12-$18 range, but are served with rice, which makes the price more sensible. You should also note that Spanglish does not yet have their liquor license, so if you are looking to have some wine with your meal, make sure you bring a bottle along with you.

 

Hurricane Dorian Survival Guide: What’s Closed and What’s Open

It’s that time of year again..hurricane season! What better way to kick it off than with Dorian, causing a mandatory evacuation, lane reversals, and windows being boarded up. With as many people making the decision to leave, I’m sure there are quite a few people making the decision to hunker down and brave the storm. Fortunately for those who made the decision to stay, I’ve compiled a list of restaurants with great deals that are staying open during the storm and restaurants who have made the decision to close.

OPEN ALL WEEK LONG OR UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE:

  • Proof on King: $5 house wine and spirits and $7 classic cocktails.
  • Sesame Burgers: opening at 11am and serving up half-priced burgers during Burger Happy Hour (3-6pm and 9pm).
  • Juju: get the soup or the phenomenal Bikini Salad for under $10!
  • Wiki Wiki Sandbar: head there for happy hour for light bites under $10! Select sides $5 or less.
  • Carmella’s: enjoy a heaping amount of delicious sorbetto for just $5!
  • Mex 1 Coastal Cantina: enjoy queso for just $6.50!
  • 132 Spring: $5 homemade biscuits with butter and jam.
  • Mercantile and Mash: select grab n’ go items $5 or less!

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OPEN UNTIL WEDNESDAY EVENING:

  • Indaco: half-off pizzas and $5 bites from 5-7pm.
  • The Cocktail Club: $5 bourbon on Wednesday, $6 cocktails any day, and half-off food from 5-8pm.
  • Bar Mash: enjoy a happy hour from 5-8pm, complete with $5 bites, shots and house daiquiri’s for $5, a Coors Banquet for $2, house red or white wine for $6, and the daily craft can for $3.
  • The Watch Rooftop Kitchen and Spirits: head there for “sunset hour” from 4-7pm, which includes $3 domestic beers, as well as $5 small bites.
  • Edison James Island: enjoy half-priced bottles of wine on Wednesday from 4-9!
  • Miller’s All Day: $5 tomato biscuits, $6 pimento cheese biscuits, $3 sides, and $5 bacon jacks!
  • Prohibition: $1 oysters all night, as well as $5 mystery reds starting at 4pm.
  • Goat Sheep Cow North: open 11-6pm, happy hour all day!
  • Burton’s Grill: closing at 4, but enjoy happy hour specials starting at 4:30pm.
  • Dockery’s: open until 8pm. Happy hour specials at the bar! Highly recommend the truffle fries and hummus plates.
  • Five Loaves Cafe: open starting at 11am(Mt. Pleasant and Summerville locations ONLY). Get a half sandwich for $8 or less!

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Traditional Spanish Eats from Estadio

Soon to come to the blossoming Spring Street hub is a brand new Spanish tapas restaurant called Estadio. Recently the chef of the restaurant, Alex Lira traveled to Spain to understand the magic behind traditional Spanish cooking. Now that he has returned, Estadio will be popping up in various restaurants around Charleston in order for people to get a taste of their offerings before their official opening. Last week Estadio had a pop-up event at the Harbinger Cafe in collaboration with the next-door wine shop, Monarch Wine Merchants and I decided to go check it out.

At this event, Estadio was offering up homemade, all-you-can-eat paella and mushroom toasts for just $15 and Monarch was offering up $5-$6 glasses of wine. This was a deal I knew I wouldn’t be passing up. Upon entering the cafe, I paid my $15 to the lovely owners of the Harbinger Cafe, was given a small slice of Estadio’s mushroom toast on a plate, and then went to the back of the cafe, where I found a very large pan of sizzling paella being cooked over fire, while also being topped with local shishito peppers. I couldn’t wait to dig in.

While waiting for the paella to cook, I ventured over to Monarch, where I sampled a few white Spanish wines and a few red. My favorite was ultimately the Txakolina white wine. It was tangy with a hint of sweet flavor. I had never heard of this kind of wine before, but later learned that it’s a wine that is native to the Basque region of Spain. What a perfect wine to pair with paella!

 

 

After my wine sampling, the paella was served. I ventured back over to the Harbinger, where I loaded up my plate with the still hot and sizzling paella. I went to Spain a few years ago and had paella cooked by a native, so I was quite impressed to see this paella being cooked almost the same exact way! I first tried the mushroom toast, which proved to be a stand-out appetizer. The bread was toasted to perfection, in that it wasn’t too hard to bite into, but still had a good crunch. The toppings tasted fresh and full of different flavors. Next, I dug into the large helping of paella on my plate. The first bite was an instant fusion of flavors. I tasted many different kinds of spice, a bit of heat, and a bit of sweet flavor from the shishito peppers. I later discovered that the shishito peppers were locally sourced, as will be most of the ingredients in the dishes they plan to serve. This paella was definitely winning in my book!

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I could not be more excited for Estadio’s opening on Spring Street. I’ve mentioned in previous posts how much I’ve been craving more ethnic food options in Charleston, and I believe that Estadio will be a perfect contribution to the ethnic food scene. Not only are they striving to learn traditional Spanish cooking, but they are proving it is possible for Spanish cooking techniques to be learned and brought in to Southern culture.

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Estadio is planning on opening at the end of the summer. Follow them on Instagram to find out where they’re popping up next!

Farm Fresh Eats at Herd Provisions

Tucked away in the quiet neighborhood of Wagner Terrace in downtown Charleston is a brand new bistro-style restaurant called Herd Provisions. Herd Provisions was formerly operated solely as a food truck, being known for their burgers made with meat fresh from the owner’s farm in Virginia called Leaping Waters. After opening a brick-and-mortar, they still are known for those burgers, but also have a much more extensive menu.

I took my mom out on a mother/daughter date to Herd because I had been dying to go check it out and conveniently, she lives in the Wagner Terrace neighborhood. I had tried a burger from their food truck before, but was eager to see what else they had to offer. Upon walking into the restaurant, I was immediately in awe of how rustic and beautifully laid out the restaurant was. It was elegant, but at the same time I didn’t feel like I was under-dressed in my movie-going attire. We were able to find seats immediately at the bar, where we were very warmly greeted by the bartender. There is a great selection of draft beers, so we each opted for a local draft beer, which were both delicious. Since I had already tried one of their burgers, we both decided to try some of their vegetarian options. We ordered their brussels sprouts, their rotisserie cauliflower, and their eggplant schnitzel.

The brussels sprouts are cooked in a black garlic shoyu and are served in a small bowl. They were crispy, crunchy and had hints of sweet and tangy flavors. If french fries could be made into something healthy, this would be it. We were pretty blown away by how delicious and addicting these were!

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The rotisserie cauliflower was definitely a highlight. The large partial head of cauliflower was carefully placed on top of an English pea beurre spread, which was cold and had slight hints of citrus flavor. The cauliflower itself was perfectly crunchy and had all the right spices mixed in with it.

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We both agreed that the stand-out dish was the eggplant schnitzel. Cooked just like your average schnitzel (minus the meat), the dish couldn’t have pleased our taste buds more. The fried eggplant was placed in a large bowl of a light, creamy and tangy sauce and was served with small chunks of cooked cabbage. What I loved most about this dish was that the breading on the eggplant was full of so many different flavors. It was also very lightly fried, making it seem not so heavy.  The cooked cabbage was soft and delicate and seemed to melt right in our mouths.

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Price-wise, your best bet for a great deal on food at Herd is to go for happy hour. Our entrees were priced in the $17-$20 range, though the brussels only cost us $5 for a side. During happy hour, you can enjoy the HERD Burger and a beer for just $10, drink specials, and snacks, such as pimento cheese for less than $10. I definitely plan to return to Herd for happy hour in the near future.

We both agreed that Herd might quickly become our new favorite neighborhood hang- out spot. They are even planning to open up an outdoor patio in the back of the restaurant, where they plan to have live music, a fun spot for adults to get their drink on and the kids to get their run on. With outstanding food, great service, and a classy, yet laid-back atmosphere, you really can’t go wrong with Herd Provisions.

Herd Provisions is open Tuesday-Sunday for lunch and dinner. They offer happy hour food specials from 3-5pm and happy hour drink specials from 4-6pm. They also have a butcher shop in the front of the restaurant, which is open Tuesday-Sunday from 11am-7pm.

Family-Style Dinner at the Porch on Market

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a birthday, bachelorette party, or baby shower than at a large table talking and laughing through a multi-course meal. The Porch on Market is a brand new event venue, where everything is served family style at a fixed price. I had the opportunity to try their Lowcountry Boil dinner with a bunch of fellow bloggers.

Of course, appetizers came first, which consisted of tuna wontons. The tuna was so delicate and very carefully placed on top of a crispy, thin cracker. The delicate texture of the tuna, paired with the slight crunchiness from the cracker made for the perfect combo.

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Next, we moved on to our second course, which consisted of cornbread and salad. The cornbread was sweet, gritty, and light, truly encompassing every taste and texture  of your grandmother’s southern cornbread. The salad was composed of a variety of different vegetables and I opted for a balsamic vinaigrette to top it with. It made me feel slightly less guilty for all the cornbread I was indulging in!IMG_20190721_220301_315

Our third course was our main course, lowcountry boil! I’m a big fan of lowcountry boil, mainly because potatoes and corn are two of my favorite things. I’m not a huge lover of shrimp, and I tend to pick them out. However, the shrimp in this lowcountry boil simply blew me away with how tender and full of flavor it was. I probably ate more shrimp than I ever have in one seating at this dinner! The corn was cooked to a perfect tender texture, making it easy to bite into and savor each bite. The slight spicy flavors that were mixed in with the lowcountry boil really gave it the extra kick it needed to make me want to come back the next day for more.

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We finished our meal with a southern dessert classic – banana pudding. Not only do I love lowcountry boil, but banana pudding is also up there with one of my favorite desserts. There really is no better way to finish off a classic southern meal than with this dessert. I felt that The Porch did a great job of providing the perfect ratio of pudding to crushed vanilla wafers and whipped cream on top. I loved it so much that I asked for a to-go box and took about 3 bowls of it home (we can keep that on the DL though).

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The Porch not only offers Lowcountry Boil dinners, but they also offer shrimp boils, shrimp and grit dinners, old school family dinners, BBQ dinners, surf and turf dinners. pork rib dinners, lobster bake dinners, and oyster roast dinners. All of the dinners are multi-course with your choices of sides and a dessert. Each person pays a fixed price for their meal. With all the food you get and being able to enjoy it family style, the price is great. The lowcountry boil dinner is the cheapest option, costing just $29 per person, which includes the lowcountry boil, a mixed green salad and a dessert. Whatever occasion you may be looking to celebrate, this is a great place to enjoy it.

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Taco Tuesday at Mainland Container Co.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, we are big fans of Taco Tuesday. This week my friend, Michelle and I decided to check out a fun hidden gem in Mt. Pleasant called Mainland Container Co. This is a restaurant that is comprised of an indoor restaurant and an outdoor bar that also has tables you can sit at scattered around the bar. It’s the perfect place to go after a long day at work, take a load off, and sip on a pina colada or a cold craft beer.

Mainland Container Co offers happy hour specials every night of the week, as well as daily food specials. On Tuesdays they have a deal on tacos that consists of 2 fish or chicken tacos for $8. They also have a great selection of $5 appetizers during happy hour. We both opted for the fish tacos, as well as hush puppies for an appetizer. The hush puppies had just the right amount of crunch on the outside and soft texture and sweet corn flavor on the inside. The only thing about the hush puppies that we were not fans of were that they were smothered in a very sweet pepper jelly, that seemed to make them a bit too sweet. We felt that it took away from the natural sweet flavor of the corn on the inside.

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The tacos were quite delicious. The fish had just a hint of spicy flavor and was delicate and flaky. The tacos were also comprised of a sweet slaw, radishes, and and avocado-chipotle cream sauce. The combination was perfect and provided a great medley of sweet and spicy flavors with a good amount of chewy and crunchy textures from the slaw and chunks of flavorful fish.

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Mainland Container Co is a great place to go to feel like you are being transported to a tropical island, as you are surrounded by beautiful trees and are right near the ocean. It’s also very casual, so there’s no need to dress up when dining here. If you go on a weekend, you may even be lucky enough to catch some live music! With a chill vibe, great prices, and great food, you really can’t go wrong at Mainland Container Co.

Happy hour at Mainland Container Co is from 4-7pm, Monday-Friday.

Italian on the Cheap at Indaco

It can be easily assumed that having a meal at a restaurant on upper king street is not going to be cheap. Many of the restaurants are more upscale and charge at least $12 for a single cocktail. However, what many do not realize is that you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to enjoy food on upper King Street, as long as you go at the right time.

We recently decided to pay a visit to Indaco for happy hour, where we discovered that as long as you sit at the bar, you can get appetizers for as little as $5 and whole pizzas at half price. They also have specials on drinks, with a glass of wine costing just $6 and Peroni’s costing $4. We tried the fried artichokes off their appetizer menu, as well as the mushroom pizza. The fried artichokes are topped with a walnut-anchovy vinaigrette and Parmesan cheese. We absolutely loved the crunchy texture of the artichokes and the walnut-anchovy vinaigrette provided the perfect amount of salty and nutty flavor, which really took the dish up a notch.

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The mushroom pizza is topped with maitake mushrooms, prosciutto di parma, red onions, mozzarella and fontina cheese. We absolutely loved the sharp and tangy flavors of the two kinds of cheeses melded together, as well as their thick and creamy textures. The prosciutto enhanced the pizza by providing more salty flavor. One of our favorite things about the pizza was the crust. It was chewy, soft and crisp, and also had just the right amount of thickness. If any kid were to not eat the crust of their pizza, it definitely shouldn’t be the crust on Indaco’s pizza.

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The mushroom pizza normally costs $19, but we got it for just $9.50. I can’t think of a better deal on a gourmet pizza than that! We even had leftovers to take home. If you’re looking for a great spot for an Italian date night, look no further than happy hour at Indaco. Be sure to arrive on the earlier side though, because the bar seats fill up fast!

 

Happy hour at Indaco occurs Monday-Friday from 5-7pm, at the bar only.

Affordable, Global Cuisine at Mpishi

Last month, Daniel Island acquired a fabulous new addition to their flourishing culinary scene. Mpishi is now open and is serving up delectable pastries for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and family style dinners every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night at a fixed price. I visited Mpishi for dinner and found this restaurant to not only be delicious but also a great bang for your buck, especially for dinner.

Mpishi is owned by a man named Andy Clay, who also is the head chef of the restaurant and his wife, Allie Clay who is the pastry chef. This restaurant is unique because it doesn’t serve just one specific cuisine. Andy Clay has had 25 years of experience in global cooking, giving him the ability to serve up multiple types of cuisines in his restaurant. For breakfast, the restaurant serves things such as pastries, greek yogurt and granola, waffles, pancakes and nutella french toast, with most items priced at $10 or less. For lunch, they offer things like a grilled mac and cheese sandwich, veggie wraps and other sandwiches, being priced at just $12 or less (they come with fries too!). Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday they offer a family-style dinner service that has a different theme each night. Typically they do a burger night, a Thai night, and an Indian night. I went with my grandmother on burger night and we feasted on a variety of dishes that only cost us $16 each!

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Since, I am not a huge meat-eater, I opted for their southwest black bean veggie burger (they have regular burgers for meat-eaters too). The burger came with a large salad, a bowl of mac and cheese, as well as a bowl of thick-cut french fries. It was the perfect amount of food for two people. The burger was seasoned well and the salad had the perfect mix of greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, nuts and seeds and was topped with a delicious sweet and tangy balsamic dressing. The fries were lightly fried and crisp and the mac and cheese was almost comparable to my mom’s homemade mac and cheese. It wasn’t completely smothered in cheese so much that you couldn’t feel the smooth texture of the noodles, but still maintained a great tangy flavor. We left the restaurant with full bellies and the satisfaction of only paying $16 each for all the food we got. I even had leftovers that I took home with me!

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If you are looking to go out for dinner with a large group of people, I would definitely suggest hitting up Mpishi for dinner on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday evening. It’s a great way to feel like you’re at a dinner party, without having to do all the cooking. The restaurant is open Wednesday through Friday from 6:30am-2:30pm and reopens for dinner on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 5-8:30pm. They are open on Sundays as well from 8:30am-2:30pm.