5 Corners Cafe (Charleston)

I’ve probably eaten at 5 Corners as often as every other place discussed on this blog combined. 5 Corners is a sandwich/burger place on Charleston’s west side (423 Virginia St., W). I found it a year or two ago after they took over the space vacated by the Neighbormart. It was impressive from the start.

In that time, they’ve grown from a single small dining room that was full if you didn’t get there by 12:01 to a full-size dining room + bar. The menu hasn’t changed much in that time; they serve the classic sandwiches (corned beef, BLT, club… you know the drill), burgers, stuffed spuds, and a few soups. Other than a fascination with carmelized onions, their sandwiches aren’t unusual (except for a Cranberry Turkey Croissant with cream cheese, swiss, orange marmalade and pecan spread and cranberry sauce that is outstanding). The sandwiches are, however, universally excellent. Honestly, I can’t say that I’ve ever had a bad meal there.

I will give a special shout out to the burgers, which could be the best in town. Here is the Gouda Burger (smoked gouda, carmelized onions, and horseradish mayo):

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(I’m letting Missy take the pictures from now on, becuause I have not done that burger justice.) In additon, they do a pimento cheeseburger and a blue cheese burger. At slightly over $7, these aren’t cheap burgers; then again, at 1/3 pound, these aren’t small burgers.

Sides are chips, slaw, potato salad and a spicy macaroni salad that is full of cayenne pepper. All too rarely they have potato cakes with siracha that are must orders.

As 5 Corners has expanded, they’ve tried to get a dinner menu off the ground, but it has never seemd to take. They are open for dinner with their usual menu and a special or two. The specials are often home cooking traditional (pork chops, meat loaf, steaks, etc.) but they also do a paprika chicken (chicken over pasta with a spicy cream sauce) and seafood potpie. Specials are always posted on their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/5CornersCafe and they have a website: http://www.5cornerscafe.com/index.html. On a recent dinner outing, I opted for the pork chops, with corn on the cob, potatoes, green beans and a homemade roll.

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Am I missing anything? Oh yeah. You may want to save room for dessert. 5 Corners’ dessert selections are homemade and as good as any in the state. The chocolate chip cream cheese bread pudding recently won Taste of Charleston’s people’s choice. It is decadently rich. The chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and chocolate chip pie are also spectacular. I can never get the phone out fast enough to take a picture before forks are digging into them.

The last night I was there for dinner, there was live music. Rather than discuss the singer, let me rant for a second about the idea that I want live music at dinner. I don’t. Honest. I don’t want to worry about seeming rude for talking during the “show” or not clapping, but I go to dinner with friends to talk to them. Live music is great — I go to plenty of Mountain Stage performances — but if you are causing me to miss the conversation at my table you are harming the experience, not helping it. A little ambient music is nice, but the radio does just fine. Okay, rant over.

In short. If you haven’t found the 5 Corners Cafe yet, you are missing out on a locally-owned gem.

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