In Mid-April, I made my first-ever trip to Charleston, South Carolina. Longtime readers of Pop.Bop.Shop. know that I have been trying to get to Charleston for a few years now. I even made that goal one of my New Year's resolutions in 2018, 2020 and again this year.
I was elated to be finally making the trip, and feeling super lucky to have my cousin and her husband to show us around. They moved there as a family about three years ago, but my cousin's husband grew up in Charleston, so between the two of them, I knew we'd have superb tour guides.
Of all the restaurants in the city, they really wanted us to experience Leon's Fine Poultry and Oyster Shop. It's on King Street, best known for its shopping and historic homes.
Leon's has a wonderful outdoor patio right out front. Sitting there is a great way to enjoy the sun, while also having a prime spot for people watching.
Because there were 12 of us, we sat at a big table indoors. We had all four generations present, from a 93-year-old grandmother, all the way down to a two-year-old toddler. I must say, our waitress was warm, lovely and ever-so-patient.
The menu is focused on two major food groups: seafood (including oysters) and fried chicken.
To begin, my dad ordered two dozen oysters for the table. The happiest camper was my six-year-old nephew, who slurped down at least four!
Next came the peel and eat shrimp. My cousin's husband warned us they were messy to eat, but would be totally worth it. They were dusted in Old Bay seasoning, which everyone seemed to enjoy.
We also tried the smoked Mahi dip, which came with classic saltine crackers. Everyone at my end of the table was spreading it with glee onto those buttery crackers.
While the rest of the family was chowing down on the seafood appetizers, I ordered myself a Pimms Cup cocktail. It had that fresh cucumber taste and was a delightful way to start the meal.
The main event was, of course, the fried chicken platter. I snapped this photo after my nephew had already grabbed a huge piece off the plate.
We went with the "big chicken" which is six pieces of fried chicken and two sides of your choice. We chose the cucumber salad which was marinated in sesame oil, shiso and champagne vinegar, and the scalloped potatoes. The potatoes tasted like if mac and cheese was made from potatoes instead of pasta. They were so decadent!
My mom decided to get herself the grilled fish sandwich. She was super happy with it (while also sneaking bites of everyone else's food).
My cousin and I both got the Siam salad. Usually at seafood restaurants I wind up ordering a house salad or Caesar salad that turns out to be pitiful. This salad was spectacular.
It was a huge portion, topped with half an avocado, red cabbage, slices of Mandarin oranges, fried onions, peanuts and a mountain of fresh herbs.
This is the kind of dish that is truly craveable. I could see myself going back to Leon's just for that salad.
When all the dinner plates were cleared, it was time for dessert. Leon's has a soft serve machine and all the kids wanted vanilla soft serve with sprinkles.
I was too full at the time, but after did we did some strolling on King Street, we ended our walk with scoops at Jeni's Ice Cream.
It's worth noting that in addition to the soft serve machine, Leon's also has slush machines, which churn out gin and tonic slushies and rosé slushies. I was the driver for the evening, so I didn't partake, but I'd love to next time.
If you're visiting Charleston and you have a rental car, Leon's has two free parking lots directly next to the restaurant. If you're walking from downtown, it's very close to all the shops.
We loved our entire experience at Leon's. The atmosphere was fun, the food and drinks were delicious, they were kind to every single member of our family, and our waitress really made us feel welcome.