Butcher & Bee Hosts Burgers & Brews

Claire O'Bryan

It’s no secret that in Charleston, we’re all about LOCAL. We’re proud of our city, our restaurants, our farms, our people. We’ve earned a lot of braggin' rights over the last few hundred years, and each year those rights get even bigger.  


Last Thursday night became my new personal definition of the combination to equal perfection: A night intertwined by all the loveliness of the aforementioned list.  My husband’s nonprofit, Palmetto Medical Initiative (PMI), was having a volunteer reunion at Butcher & Bee. After the party, one of my favorite musicians, Ben Rector, was playing at the Music Farm. It was almost too much for me, as I can only handle so much excitement at one time. 


Me at the beer cooler


As an organization, PMI has taken more than 500 volunteers to Uganda and Nicaragua, and has treated well over 20,000 patients since 2009. In less than two years, they built a fully functioning clinic, hospital, and operating room in Africa. If you’ve ever been to Africa, you’re well aware that this is no easy task. Charleston has embraced the organization and the people they serve. This year, PMI has been selected as one of Charleston magazine's Top 5 NonProfits in the Lowcountry. 


Thank you to our volunteers


This third annual reunion of Palmetto Medical volunteers was themed “Burgers & Brews.” The party is a way for the organization to say THANKS to everyone who’s given their time, money, and hearts. Butcher & Bee was the perfect partnership this year to really throw a special party for some truly special people—the eatery embodies all things local and sustainable, and they graciously let us have their space for the night to celebrate.    


Guests gather outside Butcher & Bee


Butcher & Bee leapt onto the upper King street scene not even one year ago. They "lovingly craft sandwiches using time-honored preparation techniques." I don't know what techniques they're using... but I like it. They pride themselves on sourcing locally grown ingredients, from Charleston when they can, and from the Southeast when they can't find it at home. They've recently started a garden behind the restaurant to keep up with their needs. Because of the use of so much local and regional food, the menu changes daily. Twice. Sometimes THREE TIMES if they're hosting a coveted "pop-up dinner." Their hours are funky, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and then again on late nights from 11 p.m.-3 a.m. They're just as commited to excellent grub at two in the morning as they are at two in the afternoon. And did I mention that it's always BYOB? With NO corking fee?    


Local fruit and cheese plate


On the menu:

  • Fresh local fruit and cheese plate
  • House-made hummus with garlic toast
  • Fried local okra
  • Portabella sliders
  • Ham sliders
  • Burger sliders
  • Double fried french fries with their homemade ketchup
  • BEERS (and a little wine)

The fried okra was awesome. I've had a lot of fried okra in my day, and I've never had it like this.


The best fried okra


Battered and fried whole, the local okra didn’t lose an ounce of flavor in this process like your standard fried okra often does. I don't know what the dipping sauce was, but I'm going to pretend it was good for me. The portabellas in the sliders were marinated well and super flavorful. The double-fried french fries were heavily peppered instead of salted, which gave them a fresh kick that you may not have expected, followed by fresh ketchup. I don't know if I've ever had FRESH ketchup?!


 Even the hummus was unique and tasty, and everything definitely disappeared by the time the night was over. 


Fresh hummus


In short, this was the most fun night ever. If you’ve read my review of Butcher & Bee on HeavyontheVeggie, you know how much I love it. You could even say I’m entranced by it. Owner Michael Shemtov is truly a treat. He is a total sweetheart, and was even there for the party to ensure that all went smoothly. It was a night of local food and local people, coming together to celebrate their hard work over the past three years.


PMI's Katie McKenzie and Tyler McCoy


Thank you to Butcher & Bee for supporting local non-profits, and for making a special night even better!