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What: Its history is not clear—perhaps it originated in the kitchens of Lowcountry farmers—but it’s generally said that tomato pie has long been a local staple here, making good use of the area’s abundant tomato crop, the season for which peaks in the spring. Sliced red tomatoes are layered with grated cheddar cheese, onions, and basil in a pastry shell; the savory baked result is a beloved local lunch and dinner.
Where: In a nondescript mini strip mall, Dixie Supply Bakery & Cafe (62 State St., map) is a breath of fresh air, a tiny hole-in-the-wall eatery churning out some serious from-scratch Southern fare. Go early and expect a line.
When: Tues-Sun, 8am-2:30pm
Order: The heirloom tomato pie ($6.95) is a little famous here, and we could see why. Fresh out of the oven, the ripe red tomatoes entangled in oozy cheese, the buttery pie is a umami-lover’s dream. Specks of basil and a few well-placed scallions dress things up, while a spice cake adds a little sweetness on the side. The rest of the menu is very tempting, too—from the bacon-and-pimento-cheese biscuit to the “island omelet,” with local shrimp, caramelized onion, and Brie—but be sure to try the creamy grits no matter what you get (and make like a local by adding lots of butter and salt to them!).
Alternatively: We would have loved to make it to Johns Island (about 20 minutes west of Charleston) to try the tomato pie at Stono Market & Tomato Shed Café (842 Main Rd, Johns Island, map; lunch only, closed Sunday), which is owned and operated by Ambrose Family Farm and uses local organic produce whenever possible. In town, other spots to try tomato pie, when available (it is more often served in the spring), include 82 Queen (82 Queen St., map) and Virginia’s on King (412 King St., map).
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