Gathering Café In Charleston, SC, Casual Fine Dining with Vegan Options!

by Danielle Bussone

Travel-weary and ravenous, Rich was searching the web for a place to eat near our hotel in north Charleston when I happened to look up from my steering wheel and noticed a sign that read “Gathering Café.” My car just steered its way into the parking lot. We were greeted by our friendly waitress, Olivia, and we grabbed an empty table. Casual and understated, the restaurant decor belies the gustatory delights awaiting discovery.

Gathering Cafe Exterior


Interior 2


Gathering Café serves animal dishes for the most part, but we were thrilled to learn the menu has a number of vegan options We quickly discovered Olivia to be knowledgeable and accommodating. To start, we ordered the Carrot-Ginger Soup and the House Salad, which we shared while awaiting our main course. The salad consisted of fresh, delicate baby greens, fresh tomatoes, carrots and cucumber tossed in a lemon vinaigrette and served with a crisp sesame seed cracker. It tasted… well, like spring.


House salad & Carrot-Ginger Soup

The Carrot-Ginger Soup was sweet and spicy and utterly delicious. I was beginning to get the picture. The chef at Gathering Café certainly understands flavor. There is a vegan falafel sandwich and vegetarian dishes in which the cheese can be removed if you prefer. We opted for the clearly plant-based options.

Oven Roasted Chickpea Cakes

I ordered the Oven-Roasted Chickpea Cakes. Served on a bed of chickpeas, roasted peppers and tomatoes and topped with perfectly prepared fresh asparagus, the combination of flavors was out of this world.

Rich had trouble choosing between the two rice bowls, so we resolved the dilemma by ordering both (taking one back to the hotel for later).  The Panang Curry boasted carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, mushrooms and ginger stewed in coconut milk and served with brown rice.

Panang Curry

The Teriyaki Rice Bowl comprised of mixed vegetables, avocado, and sesame seeds, was flavored with, you guessed it, teriyaki sauce.

Teriaki Bowl

Finally, we finished with a delightful refreshing fruit sorbet that was just the right combination of tart and sweet. These are not on the menu but are offered as seasonal specials in a variety of flavors.


Do yourself a favor the next time your are in Charleston. It’s worth the drive out of the city to visit this charming little restaurant to enjoy some of the best food in the area.


Co-founder and editor of Veggin’ Out and About, Danielle writes restaurant reviews, profiles and interviews of people making a difference in the plant-based community. She is author of, “Time For Change: Whole Foods For Whole Health,” released January 1, 2015.

Danielle’s region is SW Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina and anywhere she happens to stop for sustenance along the road. Contact Danielle directly to share your restaurant finds, to make comments or just to say hello.

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Sweet Savor African Restaurant

Sweet Savor Exterior

Sweet Savor Interior

En route to Jesup, GA , we stopped in Charleston for an overnighter. Just down the road from our hotel, we discovered Sweet Savor African Restaurant, a Nigerian restaurant that is located in exactly the same location as now defunct Taste of Ethiopia, one of our all-time favorite Ethiopian restaurants. It’s a cautionary tale, use it or lose it. If we don’t support these marvelous ethnic restaurants with our patronage, they disappear, along with their amazing vegan options.






Sweet Savor is certainly not a plant-based restaurant but it does offer a few plant-based options. This cuisine is based on healthy whole foods like beans, grains and fruits. The spices are definitely understated so don’t expect exotic flavors. The food is simple and hearty. The owner is a lovely Nigerian woman who is willing to work with customers to see they have everything they need. If you find yourself in North Charleston, check out Sweet Savor and discover the hearty food of Nigeria.




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Rawtopian Bliss, Rawsome Dining in Columbia, SC!



by Michael Wilkins




Traveling can be difficult when you are on a vegan diet. Finding places that cater to your needs rather than being an afterthought on a carnivorous menu is a challenge. In order to find some of these great places you need to be diligent in your search. One such opportunity came up as we were traveling to Tega Cay to see my granddaughter. We did a search on Google, Yummly, and Trip Advisor for vegetarian/vegan eateries and found a place called Rawtopian Bliss. We decided to take a chance and experience something new.




The restaurant was easy to find as it was right off I-26. Our decision led us to a fantastic place not only to eat, but to learn about the mission of Chef Saa. We thought we were walking into a vegetarian/vegan eatery, but we found out that it is much more than that. Chef Saa changed her life approximately 20 years ago when she began her spiritual and vegan journey. Both of her parents were suffering from diabetes and she did not want to have the same issues in her life. She made the choice to switch to a vegan lifestyle and began a spiritual journey that eventually led her to founding Supreme Love and Light.




This is a ministry that is dedicated to holistic health. This organization is a nonprofit entity supporting healthy living. Their goal is to support wellness and whole health by encouraging natural healing, healthy food intake, herbal cleansing, stress management and spiritual awareness. They offer education about all of these things through workshops, classes, retreats and instructional demos. All of the money taken in by their ministry goes to support the maintenance and administrative costs for the mission of Supreme Love and Light Natural Path Ministry.



Tempeh Bliss Burger


Margie and I sat down at a table and began to peruse the menu. We were very excited about the offerings. All of the items on the menu are whole food plant-based. Most of them are 60 – 90% raw. Margie chose the Tempeh Bliss burger with chips and cheese. I chose the shepherd’s pie with side salad. The Tempeh Bliss burger is 80% raw. The tempeh is marinated, breaded and lightly sautéed. It is served on a flatbread created by Chef Saa and accompanied by grapeseed oil veganaise, lettuce and tomato.


Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie


The shepherd’s pie is prepared with the savory sausage created by Chef Saa. It also has a cheese created by her, and the whole thing is wrapped in a tortilla shell and lightly toasted with a sweet and savory sauce. It comes with a side salad.




This was a great experience in a pleasant atmosphere. We had a chance to sit down with the owner and speak with her briefly about her journey. When she made the decision to change her life, she left a corporate job taking a buyout which allowed her to start her ministry. It is her feeling that there is an awakening happening surrounding food and health. Her mission in life is to bring this message to people and help them improve their lives both mentally and physically. She offers culinary classes on a variety of different subjects and you can even do an internship, learning how to be a raw chef. I almost jumped at the chance. This harkens back to her training at a Body Ecology Life-Sciences Attunement Center in Greensboro, where she spent much time learning how to be a raw chef.




There are many ways to tap into wellness while being coached by Chef Saa. They range from a transitional program for raw or vegan lifestyle to detox and rebalancing your body. She also does some free classes to encourage individuals of lesser means to improve their life and health. If you’re driving through Columbia on I-26 then this is a must-stop. We have placed this in our GPS and plan on stopping here a lot since it is on the way to my daughter’s house. It is exceptionally gratifying to run into individuals who are dedicated to causes such as this. Even if you do not have a chance to come to the area and experience Rawtopian Bliss, I encourage everyone to support their cause.


Michael Wilkins is a respiratory therapist, an avid scuba diver and an accomplished photographer. He has been living with hepatitis C for more than two decades and is a cancer surviver. Michael has kept liver cancer at bay by employing the healing properties of a plant-based diet.

A year later, after a strict plant-based regimen, his tumor markers are normal and his MRIs are clean! This has made Michael more passionate about staying on a vegan diet. He has met lots of wonderful passionate people with amazing stories while walking down this path. Michael’s area is Northeast Florida, particularly the Jacksonville area. Contact Michael to share your restaurant finds, make comments, or just to say hello!

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Redi-et Ethiopian Cuisine: Serving Healthy and Authentic Ethiopian Food in Myrtle Beach, SC

by Joanne Beccarelli


Traveling away from home can be daunting for a plant-based eater. Therefore, the excitement I felt when I discovered the first Ethiopian restaurant in South Carolina was urgent enough for me to declare to my children that our first dinner out would be to Redi-et Ethiopian Cuisine in Myrtle Beach.  My sales pitch to them was that we would have fun eating our meal without utensils, utilizing the traditional Ethiopian bread, Injera, instead, and everyone from the family vegans to my omnivore son would be able to dine deliciously.


Redi-et Interior

Redi-et Interior


Located on the south side of downtown Myrtle Beach just where Route 501 meets Route 17, Redi-et Ethiopian Cuisine may catch your eye with colorful curtains displaying the red, green and yellow stripes of the Ethiopian flag. Inside  was a somewhat simple but quaint atmosphere, empty except for one other table of diners. This had us a little leery at first but being a Tuesday night in mid-March, we were confident it would work out. We soon found that this is a gem amongst the plethora of mostly large chain and tourist styled restaurants in Myrtle Beach.  Our assessment was confirmed after learning that the other diners were very happy regulars.


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Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony


Nitsuh Woldemariam from Ethiopian Taste Food & Coffee in North Charleston, SC teaches us how to make traditional Ethiopian Coffee.  Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee and is an integral part of Ethiopian culture. It has evolved into a ceremony of roasting beans on a fire, with incense burning in the background. The smell of incense alerts visitors that coffee is being prepared. Once the beans are roasted, the hostess takes the pot of beans around and each visitor  inhales of the savory bean aroma before the coffee is made and the rich, sweet beverage is served. (I’m sad to report that this lovely restaurant is not longer in business.)






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We are grieved to report that Ethiopian Taste Food and Coffee is no long in business. Ethiopian Taste Food & Coffee Brings Big Flavors To Charleston!

By Danielle Bussone


Ethiopian is one of my very favorite cuisines so you can imagine how excited I was to learn of a new restaurant opening in Charleston, SC, only two miles from where Rich and I stay when we visit the area.  Ethiopian Taste Food & Coffee is located on Dorchester Road in a little strip mall  just off exit 16A on I-526. Alas, our first visit occurred before the Ethiopian Taste Food & Coffee had actually opened their doors for business. Our next visit fell on a Monday when the restaurant is normally closed.  Drat!


Ethiopian Taste Exterior

Ethiopian Taste Food & Coffee Exterior


The third time was the charm!  We were welcomed by owner, Nitsuh Woldemariam, and her husband, Arega Kebede, who works as an engineer by day and restaurant host by night.  Arega is excited about Nitsuh’s new venture and works along side his wife to help her to succeed. Ethiopian Taste Food & Coffee is not a fancy establishment. It is a cheerful, welcoming place where a family can spread out and get comfortable. The floors are painted concrete and Ethiopian pictures and artifacts adorn the walls. The food is prepared by Nitsuh’s mother and is comprised of longstanding family recipes.


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