Cator Sparks is the editor of The Manual. Originally from Decatur Georgia, Sparks has called New York home and now hangs his hat in Charleston, South Carolina. We asked him to let us in on a few good spots to drink, eat and see the town. Not surprisingly, they include his own garden. We can’t wait for the invite.
Tell us about your ideal day in Charleston. How’s it start? Where does it end?
I am fortunate enough to live in Charleston’s most exciting neighborhood, Cannonborough-Elliotborough which has a plethora of local businesses. I start off with coffee at Bearded Cafe and breakfast at Sunrise Bistro or Wildflour Bakery. I then hit the farmers market in Marion Square for local produce to make something delicious for dinner followed by lunch out on Sullivan’s Island at The Obstinate Daughter. I may hit up some of the antique shops with my husband such as Terrace Oaks and Well Furnished in South Windermere. We would wrap up the day by cooking at home and taking our Scotties on a sunset walk along the Battery.
What’s your favorite thing to do/explore if you have a few hours to kill?
Walking! Charleston is one of the most beautiful cities in America so any chance I get I put the pups on leash and walk around town exploring different neighborhoods and shops. Charleston is very dog friendly, so I can bring them almost anywhere.
What are you favorite brunch and dinner spots?
I am not a huge brunch fan, too many hungover bachelorette parties! But I do love eating on the rooftop of The Restoration, Cannon Green, Pancito and Lefty's as well as Leons. For dinner my favorite place is Chez Nous, located in an old house with only two entrees every night from whatever they find from the local farms and boats. Other favorites are Sorghum & Salt, Stella’s and Xiao Bao Biscuit (my local).
Best place to escape the city (beach or park or something)?
Sullivan’s Island! I wake up early and take the dogs to the beach about once a week. Every Tuesday in the summer my friend Misty teaches a SUP fitness class at Ocean Fitness and it’s the perfect way to get the day going, on a paddle board on the intracoastal!
Quintessential thing to eat in Charleston, and where to go to get it?
Shrimp & Grits! Hominy Grill and High Cotton have great ones.
Best place to have a drink?
McCradys and Husk have two of the best bars in town. The restaurants are always booked solid but the bar is more manageable and you get to really enjoy what our celebrated bartenders can create.
Tell us about a gallery or event we should check out when we visit.
Our biggest art museum, The Gibbes was just totally restored and has both local and internationally known artists, sculpture and decorative arts. The George Gallery on Bogard Street is one to watch and check out while you are here too.
Favorite shop in Charleston? Menswear or otherwise?
I usually shop on my travels or at the farmer’s market, but Indigo and Cotton is a great menswear store here.
You pick up an old friend at the airport whose never been to your city. You drop their bags off. Where’s the first place you take then?
Our garden for a cocktail!
Overlooked/lesser known thing to do?
Magnolia cemetery for some seriously old and fascinating graves.
You need to escape Charleston for the night/weekend, where are you heading?
Beaufort! We love cozying into the Anchorage 1770
Interview: John Peabody