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  • Writer's pictureSteven Keith

Dem 2 Brothers & A Grill smoking up a brunch flex downtown

It’s no surprise that the new downtown location of Dem 2 Brothers & A Grill is serving up the same mouthwatering smoked meats and savory sides that made it such a hit on Charleston’s West Side.

Shrimp and grits from Dem 2 Brothers & A Grill
Shrimp and grits from Dem 2 Brothers & A Grill

But what you may not know is that they’re also serving up quite the brunch flex on occasional Sundays as well.

Curated by talented “Chef Ke” (Keke Frederick, who is a big score for this place) Dem 2’s small-but-mighty brunch menu features a handful of delicious dishes and a full bar, should you decide to imbibe.

Biscuits and smoked brisket gravy
Biscuits and smoked brisket gravy

You’ll find blackened shrimp or fried catfish served over cheddar cheese grits that are so rich, silky and creamy that we first thought they had substituted mashed potatoes. Man, were they fantastic!

There are flaky buttermilk biscuits topped with brisket gravy in a small cast-iron pan, which are served with crispy breakfast potatoes and two eggs your way on the side. The smoky gravy was a unique take on traditional sausage gravy.

My youngest loved his hot honey chicken biscuit featuring a buttermilk-fried chicken thigh dipped in hot honey sauce and topped with housemade pickles, with fresh fruit or potatoes on the side.

Or you can indulge in Biscoff French toast topped with candied pork belly, which was the only dish we didn’t try on this visit.

Everything we had was prepared very well. the service and ambiance were both nice, and our spicy Bloody Marys were SO on point. At $14-20 per entrée, Dem 2’s new brunch was definitely worth it – and we’ll definitely be back.

  • IF YOU GO: Dem 2 Brothers & A Grill’s new downtown location at 189 Summers St. is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and occasional Sundays for brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 304-400-4977 or visit the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Taste of Bridge Day winners announced

Speaking of a flex, Smokey’s on the Gorge showed some culinary muscle by winning two of the three categories six fellow foodies and I judged during Friday night’s Taste of Bridge Day food fest in Fayetteville.

Hot honey chicken biscuit from Dem 2 Brothers
Hot honey chicken biscuit from Dem 2 Brothers

After blind tasting – and I kid you not – six unique appetizers, 12 creative entrées and 11 over-the-top desserts (yes, that was 29 different dishes each judge had to try) we learned that we had awarded best appetizer to the pimento hush puppies with jalapeno aioli from Smokey’s, best entrée to a sushi bowl from The Take Out and best dessert to the banana bread pudding with bourbon banana anglaise from Smokey’s.

While those were the judging group’s picks, some other notable entries this year included thick-cut candied bacon, eloté cornbread, smoked turkey sliders with apple butter BBQ sauce, a quesabirra taco with street corn, brats with curry ketchup or “West Virginia hot dog” toppings (think chili, onions, slaw) plus Italian sausage with peppers and onions, and a creative “soul taco” stuffed with collard greens and mac ‘n’ cheese.

Bloody Mary from Dem 2 Brothers
Bloody Mary from Dem 2 Brothers

And let’s not forget desserts like vanilla cheesecake with anejo caramel, a pumpkin cinnamon roll with maple cream cheese frosting, traditional banana pudding and more.

After the judging ended, I joined hundreds of other guests who strolled inside and outside the grounds of Adventures on the Gorge sampling even more bites from regional restaurants and food producers.

It was another stellar night in what has become one of Bridge Day weekend’s most popular events. I mean, other than THE main attraction where daredevils plunged off the Western Hemisphere’s longest single-arch bridge the next day.

Taste of Asia closes in South Charleston

After hearing reports that Taste of Asia had suddenly closed its location at the Mound in South Charleston, I drove down Sunday afternoon during published opening hours to discover that, yes, the place was indeed locked up and dark inside.

The once-popular restaurant had taken a beating on local restaurant review pages of late, with several customers complaining about a lack of cleanliness or a drop in food quality and service.

I’m not saying that’s why they closed, because I haven’t been able to confirm the reason yet, so I’m just passing along what I know at this point.

I can say that owners of the Taste of Asia in Teays Valley were quick to jump in to clarify they are not associated with the location in South Charleston.

“The comments for a particular post were turned off, but I want to thank the poster for clarifying the location,” wrote Sylvia from Taste of Asia Teays Valley. “We do not represent any other Taste of Asia in WV, so if you are ever down this way, please give us a try!”

The best and worst Halloween candy

If you're planning to hand out Halloween candy on Trick-or-Treat night this year, here’s some insight on what Americans love to see most and least dropped in their sack.

Shiny Smiles Veneers surveyed more than 1,000 folks across the country to uncover the most hated and loved candies of the season. No surprise to many, candy corn ranks as the worst treat to receive on Halloween. (I’d put those pretty low on my list, too, but there’s nothing worse than gross Good ‘n’ Plenty or those chalky Necco Wafers.)

I’m fairly on board with America’s top Halloween candy, though, which is the almighty Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. It’s not my favorite candy bar of all time (all hail the 3 Musketeer!) but I’ll never turn down a Reese’s.

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Steven Keith is a food writer and restaurant critic known as “The Food Guy” who writes a weekly column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and has appeared in several state, regional and national culinary publications. Follow him online at or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or at

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