Alluette’s Holistic Soul Cafe
80 A Reid Street, Charleston, SC
You’ll have to detour a few blocks off of Highway 17 to get to this place – but it’ll be well worth it. Local ingredients, prepared with care and good for you? You can’t go wrong with that combination.
It’s easy to get to from Highway 17 in Charleston (locally known as the Crosstown or Septima Clark Parkway). As you come off the Ravenel Bridge (if you’re heading south on Highway 17) – you’ll take the Meeting Street exit, if you’re traveling north on Highway 17, just stay on Cannon Street then take a right on King. Reid Street runs between King and Meeting Streets. You can’t miss Alluette’s on Reid Street.
Today we pulled up right in front, a perfect parking space. There was sweet tea, sweetened with a ‘secret’ ingredient (which I didn’t try, since I’m personally addicted to unsweet iced tea – but I am curious, and will try it on my next visit). My lunch companion (who got a bowl of lima bean soup ‘to go’ for her husband when we left) and I shared a cucumber and cream cheese sandwich (with slices of onion and lettuce – all on delicious sandwich bread), and sauteed local shrimp, carrots, onions and bell pepper on a bed of spinach with a light dressing. There were yummy-looking cookies, as big as pancakes, in glass jars near the cash register. Great organic, vegetarian, vegan, and just plain healthy food options filled Alluette’s menu. She spoke to us for a bit, before we placed our order and she had to get into the kitchen – and she mentioned that she was writing a cookbook. I hope she finishes it up soon.
It was all delicious – and as Robert Moss at the Charleston City Paper wrote in his review…
“All told, you leave Alluette’s feeling light, refreshed – dare I say it – even a little bit healthier than when you went in.”
Alluette making a tofu stirfry (a lower fat version of her Geechi Girl Tofu)
“Street-level art is a hallowed tradition in Charleston, and the next time you visit, be sure to take note of the fantastic and often florid hand-painted lettering, in calypso colors, on the sides of the taxis in town. That same lettering can be found on the blackboard menu at Alluette’s Café, on Reid Street, where Alluette Jones-Smalls, chic and impeccably dressed, cooks her “Holistic Soul”: vegetable-centric, truly luscious, Southern food (you can still have a mean fried chicken here) that is perhaps closest to what native Charlestonians actually eat on a regular basis. She recently stepped in front of the counter to welcome and seat us at one of the dozen or so tables that make up the cafe, and after a chat returned to the kitchen to get down to business. Her flavorful, crisp-edged black bean burger put to shame any we might have experienced in Berkeley or Northampton, and the bright, fresh slaw that came with the salmon burger was proudly organic. Just don’t place an order if you’re in a rush, because for all its gracious hospitality, lunch at Alluette’s moves at the speed of a limping ceiling fan. And don’t expect to find Sean Brock dining here: as the purple script on the menu proudly announces, Alluette’s a no pork cafe.”
More about Alluette’s…
Charleson Chow (Holly Herrick)