Bull Street Gourmet has a way of following me around, or maybe it's the other way around. When I lived in Harleston Village, in the heart of College of Charleston country several years ago, the original corner shop (rife with gourmet sandwiches, other-worldly chicken salad and nicely priced wines) popped up to the delight of many, including me. A small, casually elegant space, it fit the neighborhood's culinary needs nicely and in a price range that was friendly to all, especially student budgets.
Last fall, young owner Justin Croxall bravely flexed his entrepreneurial muscle and expanded, in a big way, adding a much larger location near the corner of King Street and Broad Street in the heart of downtown, and just a few blocks away from my new (well, new/old) house. It was a smart move, and one that was done very well. This stretch of King is growing with smart little shops (like Heirloom Books across the street) and increased foot traffic with accompanying appetites. And, aside from nearby Fast & French and Brent's, there are precious few places around to satisfy them.
The "new" Bull Street is bigger and brighter than the old one and has a lot more to choose from. Visitors can grab a basket and shop from a vast array of imported cheeses, wine, pasta, sauces, fresh fruit and vegetables and more, all arranged on sparkling stainless steel shelving. Fresh bread is delivered daily from Normandy Farms and Bull Street knows how to fill them. The smoked duck club ($10) is stuffed with juicy, deeply-flavored duck confit, smoked duck ham, smoked gouda and pickled onion and finished off with the peppery bite of arugula. The celebrated chicken salad, made with chicken roasted in-house and cut into fat cubes is just as good at this location, with the crunch of roasted almonds and the bite of dried cranberries all bound together with a pale pink, punchy, cranberry salad. A cornucopia of salads and soups are also on the new menu here.
However, what I love most, are the breakfast sandwiches. An artsy crowd can regularly be found here in the early hours of any given day, sipping coffee and breaking into these warm, made-to-order beauties. The BYO breakfast sandwich ($6) can be made exactly the way you like. You pick the bread (croissant, bagel, biscuit or English muffin), you pick the way you want your eggs cooked (scrambled, hard, poached, egg whites only if you like), and you pick your meat of choice (my favorite is the salty, thick country ham), and you pick your cheese of choice (cheddar, Swiss, provolone or gruyere). They come out of the bright, spotless open kitchen hot and ready to start your day.
The tables are constantly cleared and cleaned by the friendly staff who get the food out in a hurry, but without leaving customers feeling rushed. It's hard to leave empty-handed with a fat choice of excellent condiments, pickles, olives, and imaginative sauces, like a bright green walnut pesto to toss in imported pasta from Bull Street's well-stocked shelves. Bull Street also has an extensive catering menu. Indeed, Bull Street Gourmet has a history of being in the right place at the right time and doing things right every time. I'm personally very happy to have them in the neighborhood.
Bull Street Gourmet & Market
120 King Street, Charleston, SC 29401
Photo Courtesy of Bull Street Gourmet