The American fascination with Black Friday is a paradox. We resent it for cutting into our most beloved eating holiday, yet we're equally mesmerized by its promise of doorbuster specials and deals of the year. Some of the staunchest Thanksgiving traditionalists take advantage of Black Friday's marathon to seamlessly glide into the holidays, buying presents and erecting Christmas decorations before the weekend is out. If you're so inclined to brave the crowds of elbow-throwing bargain hunters, you might as well do it on a full stomach. Below is a guide to the best grub stops, no matter where you decide to search for savings:
The Shopping Mecca: Tanger Outlets, North Charleston
Door Buster: Hello Deli. 2409 Mall Drive. North Charleston. 6 a.m.-3 p.m.
Open at 6 a.m. daily, Hello Deli is a hidden gem typically reserved for the corporate crowd that staff nearby offices. They offer deli classics like a bagel with lox and cream cheese ($6.99) and a fried egg sandwich with bacon ($2.99), but the menu includes other options like omelettes, Belgian waffles ($3.99), and challah french toast ($3.99). Shoppers coming off all-night buying sessions should take note of their reuben ($6.99), a high pile of kosher corned beef and melted swiss topped with sauerkraut and Russian dressing on grilled marble bread.
All Day Sale: The Barbeque Joint. 1083-A E. Montague Ave. North Charleston. 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
Just a five-minute drive from the outlet mall masses you'll find a less crowded option at the Barbeque Joint. The tender pulled pork is available on a sandwich or platter with a variety of barbecue sauces. For those still craving poultry after Turkey Day, they also have pulled chicken as an option. The sides are standard barbecue fare, with standouts like the collards and the classic Carolina hash and rice.
The Shopping Mecca: Mt. Pleasant Towne Center
Door Buster: Charleston Café. 1039 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. Mt. Pleasant. 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Carb-loading for a day full of shopping? Treat yourself to the Sundae Waffle ($9.50) a dessert-like combination of berries and bananas topped with caramel, pecans, and whipped cream or a deep-fried PBJ ($4) made with strawberry jam. Charleston Café has a unique list of breakfast casseroles with a variety of meats, vegetables, cheeses, potatoes, and sauces. Try the Edisto Island ($9.75) with shrimp and smoked sausage with a spicy tomato cream sauce. They also have lighter options, like the fresh fruit parfait ($7.50) for those hoping to make penance for the thousands of calories ingested the day before.
All Day Sale: Gullah Cuisine. 1717 N. Hwy. 17. Mt. Pleasant. 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Chain restaurant options abound at Mt. Pleasant's Towne Centre, which houses everything from P.F. Chang's to Brooklyn-imported Grimaldi's Pizza, but those hungry for a Lowcountry experience will be better served by a meal at Gullah Cuisine, just a couple stoplights down Hwy. 17. The restaurant offers a lunch buffet and a fuller a la carte menu for dinner. Standouts include the fried chicken ($7/$13) and okra gumbo ($5/$17), a robust stew teaming with chicken, shrimp, and Gullah spices.
The Shopping Mecca: King Street
Door Buster: Bull Street Gourmet. 120 King St. Downtown. 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
For highbrow shoppers scouring King Street for designer duds, the best starting point is Bull Street Gourmet. Bakery items like croissants with Nutella and strawberries ($6) add a sugary start to the day. No sweet tooth? Opt for the duck confit hash ($10), made with caramelized onions and peppers and topped with eggs. If you're getting a late start, grab a roasted beet salad ($8) with fried leeks and feta. Shorten your shopping haul by picking up a couple bottles of wine or other artisan food gifts.
All Day Sale: Co. 340 King St. Downtown. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Nothing soothes the worn-out, stressed-out, or shopped-out quite like a hot bowl of soup, and King Street's best restorative broths can be found at Co. Don't be fooled by their soupy status — these bowls are packed with multiple proteins, vegetables, and noodles. The Vietnamese ramen ($12) features pork belly, bok choy, and poached egg in a pork broth with egg noodles, while the dac biet pho ($14) is teeming with shredded beef, meatballs and rare beef in a beef broth with rice noodles. Also worth a try are the sambal beef and kimchi dumplings ($5), pockets of steamed dough packed with competing flavors of spicy and sour.