With its laid-back attitude, picturesque setting and burgeoning culinary scene, Cannon Street in Charleston, S.C., has officially changed its status from “up and coming” to “arrived.”
When Bill Bowick, a proud sixth-generation Charlestonian, returned home in 2005 after spending his 20s and 30s in New York and London, he quit his career in architecture to open a bakeshop. Cannon Street, in the Charleston, S.C., Cannonborough neighborhood, was his first and only pick for the location. He loved the street’s layered architecture, which ranges from 1820s Charlestonian style to Victorian, with touches of Craftsman here and there. But what clinched the deal for him and his partner, David Bouffard? “The neighborhood was transitional, and we liked that it was ethnically and socially diverse,” he explains. Today, locals flock to Bowick’s charming, cupcake-sized (1) Sugar Bakeshop for mouth-watering treats like Lady Baltimore cupcakes (with sherry-soaked figs and raisins and meringue icing), assorted tarts (we love the cranberry-orange) and made-to-order banana pudding.
The DetailsSugar Bakeshop
59 1/2 Cannon St.
Mac & Murphy
74 1/2 Cannon St.
Indigo & Cotton
79 Cannon St.
57 Cannon St.
207 Rutledge Ave. (on the corner of Cannon)
4 Cannon St.
544 King St.
Brown’s Court Bakery
199 Saint Philip
Ami Murphy, who runs the stationery shop (2) Mac & Murphy across the street, agrees with Bowick’s sentiments. “Charleston has small-town quaintness and a big-city feel,” she says. Murphy’s store, housed in a former butcher shop, stocks adorable paper products, from retro letterpress cards to quirky wedding invitations, and might as well be in Brooklyn, N.Y., — except, “so many of our residents have an organic push to buy local,” Murphy says, explaining that most of her customers are Charlestonians. The shop, in turn, champions local artisans like Ink Meets Paper and Gadabout.
Brett Carron’s sun-filled men’s boutique, (3) Indigo & Cotton, is a carefully curated closet of timeless pieces, including hand-stitched jeans by Raleigh Denim and nautical-inspired cashmere-cotton sweaters by Denmark’s S.N.S. Herning. Given the shop’s eclectic nature, Carron says, “it makes sense to be on Cannon Street — a little off the beaten path.”
Leigh Magar, a fashion-school-trained milliner who also left New York for her native South Carolina, runs her showroom atelier, (4) Magar Hatworks, in a classic Charleston home, where chairs rock under the faint-blue ceiling of a breezy piazza. Her couture headpieces sell at Barneys New York and Tokyo’s Isetan department store, but to have the real Southern-hat-wearing experience, you have to come to her by-reservation Saturday social that pairs ham biscuits and red-velvet cupcakes (from Sugar Bakeshop, naturally) with tea punch. Wearing hats, of course, is encouraged — and they don’t mean baseball caps.
Cannon Street also has its share of excellent eateries. No other place exemplifies the new Southern palate more than the (5) Hominy Grill, which puts a whimsical touch on classic low-country comfort food — like the Big Nasty Biscuit (fried chicken, a biscuit and sausage gravy) with mashed sweet potatoes and grits. A decommissioned furniture factory now serves as (6) The Grocery, a restaurant that harkens to small-town general stores and stocks seasonal local produce and homemade charcuterie. Think fried oysters and green tomatoes or quail and French toast — with a side plate of pickles. And the latest venture of Mike Lata (the man behind Charleston’s renowned FIG restaurant) is (7) The Ordinary, which celebrates seafood in an art deco building. The Ordinary Lobster Roll, a succulent lobster salad in a warm bun from the local (8) Brown’s Court Bakery is extraordinary — which is to say, very Charleston.