This week I had the opportunity to eat at The Westendorff, one of Charleston’s newer restaurants – open about 6 weeks at the time of this posting. I always love finding great new restaurants that are open on Sunday night and serve brunch as well (the restaurant started serving brunch on Monday September 21st 7 days a week) and is open for dinner every night.
The Westendorff is located in an old family-owned hardware store that was operated by the Westendorff family for nearly 100 years. During the renovation, the owners saved the original stucco and exterior signage from the 1920s, fireplaces from 1905 and interior stairs milled from the original quarter sawn pine floor joists.
There are three dining areas. You can sit at one of the two dining counters, a throwback to the old diner feel, or a few small booths in the main area. The dining room has several tables and the patio also has table seating. In the main dining room, you’ll find restored, exposed brick and modern counters and chairs while in the garden room in the back you’ll find a more casual rustic look. Even the bathroom fits the mood with an old basin sink.
We sat at the counters during this visit. The waiter was knowledgable and provided great recommendations; service was great all through dinner. Having been on a diet for the last 6 months, I take my splurge nights very seriously. After having spent about 50 hours at the Google For Entrepreneurs StartUp Weekend event I was exhausted and craving comfort food. After reading through the menu I decided, upon the advice of the friend who brought me to the restaurant and the waiter, to order the burger.
The Debragga Dry Aged Beef burger came with American Cheese, a pickle aioli and lettuce (I had it sans tomato.) The burger was served with fries – a gigantic pile of very crispy fries, and a pickle. Mouth watering? I haven’t even told you the most amazing part yet. The burger is only $12. Yes, you read that right. $12. One of the most impressive things about the menu are the prices. Fabulous food at a reasonable price is not an easy thing to find in Charleston. Well, the team at the Westendorff have accomplished that and much more.
The burger, two thin patties, was cooked to medium temperature and was full of flavor. The cheese melted nicely over the patties and didn’t overpower the flavor of the beef. I love pickles and I like mayo on a burger, so the pickle aioli was like a dream come true for me. I think the waiter cringed when I asked for mustard but I told him not to worry, it was for the fries. The burger didn’t need any other than what was on it. I think it has been about 3 months since I had burger, so I was really looking forward to enjoying this one and it didn’t disappoint. My splurge night was so well worth the splurge.
My friend order the pan roasted organic chicken with corn puree, charred Okra, Maitake mushrooms. It’s the third time in 6-weeks that he’s ordered the dish, so it must be really, really good. It smelled delicious and I noticed that the chicken was cooked perfectly, something that’s not easy to accomplish. My friend validated my observation and confirmed that he was still in love with the dish.
Here are some of the more unique items on the menu (current at the time of this posting) and I look forward to trying many of these and more!
Geechie Boy Grit Arancini with Cheshire pork chorizo sausage, Mascarpone filling and Peach serrano chutney for $10. Smoked Chicken Wings finished with house made apricot hot sauce, pickled Vegetables for $10. Cheshire Pork Spareribs Smoked with Vietnamese Raw Slaw, Peanuts, and Cilantro for $15.
What looks good on the brunch menu? Besides everything? Here are a few items that look especially tasty. Westendorff Egg Sandwich with Havarti cheese, avocado, sliced heirloom tomato, two farm fresh eggs, on Browns Court benne seed roll with petite salad for $11. A house made bagel with whipped cream cheese, smoked salmon, pickled red onions, fried capers, caper berries & grated egg for $10. You can bet that’s the first brunch item I’ll be ordering. A Tempura fried flounder sandwich with pickle aioli, bibb lettuce, heirloom tomato slice, on Browns Court benne seed roll for $13.
I had the opportunity to speak with the owner during my recent visit and he was very welcoming and enthusiastic about restaurant and its future. I wish them enormous success because I think this is a very welcomed restaurant in crowded Charleston restaurant scene.
The restaurant is located at 114 St Philip Street in downtown Charleston near the College of Charleston and a block from the Visitors Center.
All photographs courtesy of The Westendorff.