As organic foods and gardening grow in popularity so do their offerings on lowcountry menus. The Middleton Place Restaurant takes this idea to the next step and grows many of their own menu items right in their own historic gardens. A wide variety of vegetables are grown seasonally including, kale, collards, cabbage, turnips, broccoli, tomatoes and so much more. What they cannot grow on site they try to source locally from area farmers and fisherman.
The Middleton Place restaurant is one of the crowning points of America’s oldest landscaped Gardens. Middleton Place also boasts a house museum, Living History Stableyards, African American Heritage programs, carriage rides and kayak tours. After a full day exploring the Gardens, the restaurant is the perfect place to relax for lunch or dinner.
Traditional lowcountry fare like Okra soup, she-crab soup, shrimp and grits, collard greens and Huguenot torte are just a few of the tempting dishes served for lunch daily. The evening brings guests a more elegant dining experience as they overlook the Mill Pond and Azalea Hillside. Dinner features a more formal menu spotlighting local seafood, organic chicken, and carefully selected cuts of meat, and seasonal vegetables.
In keeping with traditional Southern Foodways, the Middleton Place Restaurant strives to use seasonal, local, and organic ingredients whenever possible, as well as supporting the conservation efforts of the Sustainable Seafood Initiative, the Billfish Foundation, Slow Foods and Fresh on the Menu.
The restaurant is also steeped in 20th Century history. In the spring of 1928, the Junior League of Charleston set up one of its first fund raising enterprises, a Tea Room located in the Mill at Middleton Place. League volunteers served okra soup and sandwiches to guests seated at tables overlooking the Ashley River. In 1949, the Tea Room, now the Restaurant, was moved to its present location.
The building is an architectural gem and curiosity to visitors in and of itself. Designed by W. Bancel LaFarge in 1933, based on research done in Barbados, the roof lines are the same as the neighboring Mill where the restaurant originated. Today’s restaurant was originally used as a guest house, with two bedrooms and a sitting room upstairs. The cypress-paneled room downstairs was a living and game room surrounded by a screened porch.
Proceeds from the operation of the Restaurant support the preservation work of the not-for-profit Middleton Place Foundation.