The Founders Of The EatOkra App Say You Have To Visit These Two Charleston Restaurants - Exclusive

If there is anyone you should be taking restaurant recommendations from, it's the founders of the EatOkra app. Connecting foodies to amazing, local, black-owned eateries is literally their claim to fame. The husband and wife duo, Anthony and Janique Edwards, founded EatOkra in 2016, first as a way to find restaurants in their own neighborhood. The app has quickly grown into a nationwide resource, directing people to tens of thousands of black-owned restaurants in dozens of cities around the country.

When Mashed got the chance to speak exclusively with the founders about EatOkra's rapid success β€” not to mention their big plans for the future of the app as both a community resource and a business tool β€” we couldn't let them go without getting some restaurant recs. Luckily, the Edwards had recently returned from the 2022 Charleston Wine & Food Festival in South Carolina, and they were eager to share two can't miss, EatOkra-approved restaurants to try next time you're visiting the Holy City.

Where to get your barbecue and soul food fixes in Charleston

When you think of Charleston cuisine, a few things probably come quickly to mind: fresh caught seafood, authentic southern soul food, and Carolina barbecue. If you follow EatOkra's recommendations when you next visit Charleston, you'll get your fix of all of that and more.

For your Carolina barbecue fix, the Edwards say "Rodney Scott's Barbecue [is] very, very good barbecue down in South Carolina." You may have already heard of Scott or seen him featured on Netflix's Chef's Table. The James Beard-recognized pitmaster is famous for his whole hog barbecue, cooked to perfection over an open pit using old school techniques.

For great seafood and soul food, Anthony and Janqiue Edwards say you have to check out Gillie's. Not only are you in for "amazing, amazing food" including "shrimp and grits, soul rolls, catfish" and more, but you can't help but feel the love and history that literally seeps from the walls. Gillie's was created several generations ago in honor of the founders' grandmother, who came up with all the recipes, but never opened her own restaurant. "Right before she passed away...they created that restaurant in her honor," the Edwards shared. When you enter the restaurant, you'll see their grandmother's photo hanging front and center of "a huge gallery wall", surrounded by photos "of grandmothers from customers to people that have worked the restaurant over the years ... it's a whole wall full of grandmothers from different generations."

​​The EatOkra app is available for download on the App Store and Google Play.