Generally, when our marketing department finally pins me down and tells me it’s time to write another one of these blog thingy’s, I write about Cajun, creole or New Orleans staple foods. But there’s more to Harry’s and more to good food than just Louisiana fare. From the cattle grazing lands of Texas to the coastal areas of the Carolinas, Virginia and Maryland, there is a whole world of southern cultural culinary enticements to enjoy. This leads us to the inevitable cultural ambassador of southern cuisine to the rest of the united states: Shrimp and Grits.

How did what began as a simple low country South Carolina breakfast grow into this staple of southern cooking identity? It’s delicious…that’s how! No more silly questions. In all seriousness though, where did this come from? Most food traditions are shrouded in folklore, hearsay, spurious opinions and sometimes out and out lies. But this Carolina creation has a much more recent and well documented journey into widespread acceptance. When I say “well documented,” I really mean it! The genesis of this dish’s national spotlight can be drawn back to an article by the New York Times columnist Craig Claiborne from 1985. The story goes: (this is where it sounds like every other fanciful food legend) Claiborne visited a little restaurant in Chapel Hill north Carolina called “Crook’s Corner.” He loved the dish so much he came back the next morning and had the Charleston S.C. taught chef show him how to make it for breakfast. Then you know how these stories go…it became famous!

So…with all this in mind, Harry’s has to give this dish it’s due and make sure it’s a standout star on it’s menu. How do we do that? We start with creamy three cheese grits that we put actual sweet corn into, kinda livens up the dish huh? We also add fresh sage, know anybody else that does that? I doubt it, few are that clever! Then we take tender white shrimp and sauté them with crispy bacon in our coffee infused red eye Tasso cream sauce. It’s got that smoky Cajun ham, garlic, red bell peppers and all the creole spices you need to make this dish true to both its Carolina low country origins and North Carolina birthright. Put the two together in a bowl and enjoy! Haven’t tried it yet? Well, bring a friend and come on by and give it a try. If telling them this story about Shrimp and Grits’ origins doesn’t impress them, the food surely will 😊

~Chef Bennett Depew~

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