In your first few days living in downtown Charleston, you might wonder what all the fuss is about having a car. You didn't really need one, after all; what could possibly be happening in Mt. Pleasant that's cooler than downtown? As you slowly begin to tire of plateful after plateful of half-cooked dining hall pizza, the bright shine of city life will be eclipsed by a realization: Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Earth Fare, Publix — they're all on the other side of the bridge. Suddenly, you miss your mom's dented old minivan more than you had thought possible. Visions of apples and granola bars dance in your head. Is this adulthood, you wonder? Dreaming of the grocery store? Fear not, car-less freshmen; we've got you covered.
96 Spring St.
Veggie Bin: the upperclassmen secret that you probably walked past on your way to some frat party on Spring Street. Unassuming in appearance, the Veggie Bin is just about a 10 to 15 minute walk to campus, and is stocked with all the kitchen staples your heart could desire. We're talking milk, eggs, bread, cereal, even boxes of mac and cheese (the good kind, not Easy Mac). Even better, the name Veggie Bin stems from the bountiful array of colorful, local produce the store is famous for. It's well-worth the trek.
The downtown Charleston farmers market is held every Saturday morning from April-November, and hawks some of the freshest produce and most delicious food trucks a broke college student could ask for. Plus, Marion Square is just a quick stroll up the block from campus. It's a great spot to stock up on fruits and veggies, obviously, but sometimes that can get a bit pricey. The real gem, though, are the local vendors hawking their wares; particularly Rio Bertolini's pasta, where you can grab a pound or two of freshly made pasta or sauces. If you don't have access to a kitchen, you can stock up on cheese and crackers with which to impress your new pals; and of course get your fill of furry friends.
Nano Farms baskets are the saving grace of the lazy vegetable lover. For $35 dollars, a highly Instagrammable basket piled high with seasonal, farm-fresh vegetables will be delivered right to your doorstep. The basket is customizable; you can choose up to eight different fruits or veggies from a list of about fifteen, and the produce is mostly from South Carolina farms. The bounty should last about a week and a half, if you're careful about storage. Perhaps the best part is that unlike CSAs, where you're required to buy in for a whole farming season, there are no contracts or commitments; just order it when you need it, don't order it when you don't.
Liberty Street Fresh Food Company
30 St. Philip St.
80 St. Philip St.
Say what you will about prepared dining hall foods, but when it comes to the raw ingredients, that's a whole 'nother story. We've watched a girl empty an entire basket of bananas into her backpack at City Bistro. The salad bar was meant to be raided, kiddos. Why spend money on nuts and dried fruit when you can load 'em up into a to-go coffee cup and take them back to your dorm? It's an all-access dining plan, dudes — take advantage while you can.