Plus, she shares her favorite newly discovered spots
CM: How did the vision for Lowcountry Eat Out! come about?
CE: In the beginning [of the pandemic], I wanted to support our restaurant friends, but some hadn’t posted on social media in days, and I couldn’t find information on new hours and menus, delivery and takeout options, or even if they planned to stay open. So I texted them for details and compiled it all into a feed, thinking a couple hundred foodie friends might show up. I wanted it to be like the junk drawer of menus at Grandma’s house.
CM: Tell me about the 25,000-plus members that have joined the group.
CE: They range in age from 16 to 84 and come from every corner of the county. They are curious and adventurous and truly want to help. Most are self-proclaimed “foodies” who now realize that being one isn’t eating where the media tells us to eat but finding those off-the-beaten-path spots that few know about, and they are going in droves! The restaurants are amazed at what one post can do.
CM: Have you discovered any great, new-to-you spots?
CE: So many, I’ll be broke and fat for the foreseeable future. (Just kidding.) There’s Panaderia Tlaxcalita on Ashley Phosphate for tacos, vegan bakery Annie O Love’s Cafe of Sweet Abundance, and Sullivan’s Island Co-Op for frosé (plus his Instagram is the best thing since sliced bread). The city also has a ton of Middle Eastern cuisine—I had no clue.
CM: As group administrator, what’s been your biggest challenge?
CE: Twenty-five thousand members and the news media. One channel says “Yes, masks,” another says, “No masks,” and everybody in town is apparently a scientist. Then there are the Veruca Salts, who want it and want it now. And reports of restaurant closures drowning the feed. At one point, I found myself avoiding my own group. I had to dig deep and decide if the pros outweighed the cons, if I could continue with responsibility and pride. Ultimately, I needed to put stricter rules in place, get some help, and not waiver.
CM: Which part of this gig have you enjoyed the most?
CE: Meeting people, hearing their stories. That’s the part people sometimes forget to pay attention to—other people’s stories. My inbox is flooded daily with just that, and when you know them, all of this has so much more meaning.
CM: In the wake of the recent downtown looting, you helped organize a cleanup crew through the Facebook page. What inspired you to pull together in this way?
CE: It’s called being a good human. We all take from the Lowcountry. We leverage its beauty, its restaurants, its cheap taxes, the weather, etc., for personal and professional gains. Thus, when the time arises, we should give back in whatever way we can.
CM: What does the future hold for Lowcountry Eat Out?
CE: I have some things up my sleeve—virtual competitions and a couple other interactive yet socially distanced events—but with all of the restaurant closures and COVID-19 cases spiking, we’re gonna hold off until September.