Brothers Joe and Kevin Nierstedt opened their Johns Island hot chicken-and-ice cream outpost in the spring of 2019 with their own Michelin starred-experience and plans for a whimsical, family-friendly menu, perfect for your drive to or from the beach. Initial dispatches indicate the Nashville hot fried chicken is solid, but also keep an eye out for the local vegetables and funky wine selections that will appear at Kinfolk. Besides the fried stuff and the cold stuff, look for some smoked stuff, with several options for smoked meat pulled straight from the pit onsite. —Sam Spence (Dish, Summer 2019)
A stone’s throw from Kiawah, KinFolk occupies the tiny space once inhabited by Crave Smokehouse. With snug seating for two dozen, it’s something of a shack in its own right. There’s a welcoming “door’s always open” vibe that permeates everything from the decor to the food. The menu changes often, seemingly most influenced by the whims of nature and her bounty, and on my visit, the heirloom tomato salad beckoned. Simple and straightforward, it does exactly what one would hope — elevate the pure pleasure of a perfectly ripe, late-summer tomato. When approaching the Nashville-style hot chicken, I started in the shallow end with the quarter bird prepared mild — much like Indian or Thai cuisine, note that even the ‘mild’ has a small touch of heat. Served on a slice of white sandwich bread and accompanied by three lightly brined bread-and-butter pickles, the chicken itself is at once crisp and juicy. Arguably, it’s at the hot level that the dish achieves true Nashville distinction. The melange of black pepper, smoked paprika, and sweet sugar hit first, followed by a slow burn at the back of the throat. The chicken’s inherent blandness helps to temper any real intensity, and the heat lingers for just a few seconds. In other words, order it this way if you can.