Leon’s Fine Poultry & Oyster Shop is a humble and hidden, yet stylish, gem. But rather than one of Charleston’s centuries-old historic treasures, it’s housed in a former auto body shop, outside the city’s restaurant scene and fashionable neighborhoods, points out Bon Appétit. It’s all the creation of Charleston restaurateur and designer Brooks Reitz. With exposed rafters, big garage doors, and concrete floors, the atmosphere of Leon’s previous life as a garage remains, but atop these touches is a stylish and comfortable flair, including mid-century furnishings and gallery-style portrait walls.

When it comes to the food, Leon’s is all about oysters and fried chicken, which, in a city knee-deep in great fried chicken, still stands out. As Michael Symon has noted of his favorite spot, the oysters here are perfect, and they’re served up in a variety of ways (via Leon’s): Raw; chargrilled and served with lemon, parsley, butter, and Parmesan; and fried on roll. As the name indicates, there’s also fried chicken on the menu here. According to Bon Appétit, it’s “brined, glazed in Old Bay [seasoning], and fried in lard” and is “one to seek out.” Charleston Magazine says the irresistible chicken is a “fryer-hot, pepper-kissed bird with … a crisp crust.” 

Small plates include some delicious-looking fried Brussels sprouts and crispy clam wraps. Complementing the fried fish and chicken dishes is a refreshing draft rosé and frozen gin and tonics, as well as beers and ciders, both basic domestics and curated crafts, as well as a short but refreshing list of house cocktails. So, if Charleston is part of your 2022 itinerary, don’t miss out on Leon’s. You might just run into Michael Symon while you’re there.

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