If you are looking for the best deli around, you can now stop searching. East Bay Deli has been voted number one deli in Charleston since 2004, and now I know why. There are a total of six East Bay Deli’s in the Charleston area and three in the Columbia area. But for me I visited the place where it all began, East Bay Deli located at 334 East Bay Street in downtown Charleston.
Upon walking in I noticed the aromas of fresh bread and deli meat overwhelming my nose. I love the smell of fresh bread, it is one of the most satisfying and intoxicating smells imaginable. Upon regaining consciousness from my sense of smell being overwhelmed with deliciousness, I noticed the unique décor East Bay Deli had going on. It was like Charleston diner in the 50’s, but with a bit of millennial flair. Slick coated black and white checkered flooring throughout the entire deli, and vintage Coca-Cola signs on the walls. Hootie and the Blowfish concert poster, a Marilyn Monroe portrait, and even an old Theater Guild poster. My most favorite art work is the large mural of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge that covers an entire wall upon entering the deli. At the end of the mural on the right hand side is a Megalodon tooth that was found in the cooper river. There is tons of seating that includes; large modern communal style tables, booths, and traditional two and four seater tables. There is also a dog friendly patio seating on the back side of the building that is prefect for our Charleston warm weather. The music that plays so slightly in the background is a delightful assortment of 50’s music, all the best hits. As you make your way to the counter to order you will see the very large menu directly above you, the writing is slightly small so I grabbed one of the convenient to go menus to help out. You place your order with one of the welcoming team members East Bay Deli has then you take a number and choose a table. Now sit back and relax and wait for your order, or grab your plate and head to the salad bar.
Now you may think I would recommend one of the many, many delicious sandwiches that East Bay Deli has to offer, but I am actually highly recommending the salad bar. The Charleston Deli dip and the Patty Melt are my favorite sandwiches here, but the salad bar is why I go. I have never come across a more masterful salad bar in my entire life. There are three different choices of leafy greens; mixed greens, romaine, and spinach. After being extremely excited about my choices of greens I move on only to find myself even more conflicted by the amount of toppings I have to choose from. Its the best thing I could have ever imagined. Mozzarella cheese, blue cheese crumbles, cheddar cheese, pears, pickled okra, cherry peppers, bell peppers, tomato, edamame, boiled eggs, bacon, peperoni, ham bits, chicken salad, tuna salad, garbanzo beans, the list goes on and on. Then to the dressings, you have your traditional ranch, and thousand island type dressings, but then you also have sesame oriental, poppy seed, and a raspberry vinaigrette that is out of this world. East Bay Deli has brought their salad bar game to the table and dominated! All the greens and toppings are FRESH, and yes I put “fresh” in all caps because it tastes like you took a bowl outside and fixed your salad straight from your grandmas vegetable garden. This foodie loves her some East Bay Deli salad bar!
So if you ever are in the Charleston or Columbia area you know where you need to go! East Bay Deli also delivers if you can’t make it out as well as caters. You can order by phone or app. So there is no excuse not to try it at least once, but I am telling you that’s all it takes and you will be hooked!