• Steven Keith

Dinner prep time low? Try a hearty Casserole to Go!

I’m busy, you’re busy, we’re ALL busy, so preparing a home-cooked meal every night is probably not happening as much as you’d like.

Monterrey Spaghetti Casserole from Casseroles to Go
Monterrey Spaghetti Casserole from Casseroles to Go







As much as I love cooking and creating in the kitchen – chopping up a storm with music blaring and wine flowing – I also have multiple jobs, kids, a house, volunteer boards, other responsibilities and just, well, LIFE, that constantly keep me away from that happy place.


It pains me to think about, but after an exceptionally busy or stressful day, I’m sure many of you find yourself either wanting to go out to eat or popping food in the air fryer or (horror!) microwave, just to get something quick and convenient on the table with minimal effort.


Taco Bake Casserole from Casseroles to Go
Taco Bake Casserole from Casseroles to Go

For those nights, let me suggest another easy, yet infinitely more satisfying, option. How about a tasty crockpot creation, one-dish meal or ready-to-cook casserole you’ve prepped in advance?


And if you don’t even have time for that, you can also let someone else do the cooking and pick up a hearty casserole to take home with you.


Sarah’s Bakery on Bridge Road is known for an impressive array of sweet treats, but also sells popular quiches, soups and casseroles to go, including our favorite occasional offering: a Reuben Casserole stuffed with all the same ingredients that flavor that most awesome of all sandwiches.


I’ve also been hearing readers rave about this relatively new place, Casseroles to Go, which prepares, serves and even delivers a respectable selection of ooey-gooey casseroles from its South Charleston location at Riverwalk Mall.


Working out of the same space as Carnival Eats (purveyors of decadent and embarrassingly unhealthy carni-fare) Casseroles to Go offers prepped and ready pans full of baked spaghetti or lasagna, a pepperoni pizza bake, chicken pot pie, beef and potatoes, shepherd’s pie, scalloped chicken, kielbasa and potatoes, taco lasagna, a Southwest casserole, and their famous – but only occasionally offered – Frito Pie, featuring a mélange of ground beef, onions, pinto beans, enchilada sauce, cheddar cheese and green onions topped with crumbled corn chips.


Baked Ziti Casserole from Casseroles to Go
Baked Ziti Casserole from Casseroles to Go

Giant sides of mac-and-cheese, baked beans, mashed potatoes, potato salad, green beans, various salads and more are available, as are dessert trays of German chocolate, strawberry, pineapple pecan or Mandarin orange cake.


I must say, I’m intrigued. Have any of you tried this place out yet? If so, I’d love to know what you thought!


  • IF YOU GO: Casseroles to Go, 16 Riverwalk Plaza in South Charleston, is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday-Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday and closed on Tuesday. For more information, call 304-410-6858, visit www.togocasseroles.com or check out the restaurant’s Facebook page.


• • •


In other local restaurant (or rather, bar) news, Charleston’s only “dog bar” has closed its doors after about two years in business.


In a recent message on its Facebook page, The BARk owner Brannon Carrier wrote:


Frito Pie Casserole from Casseroles to Go
Frito Pie Casserole from Casseroles to Go

“For years, anytime I would be out at a bar, I would always say to myself, ‘I wish my dog was here.’ Because of this, I’ve always said I wanted to open a dog-friendly bar. Well, one day I got a call that the bar next door was for sale and I put an offer in the same day! We opened at the start of COVID in 2020, managed to survive through COVID, had the law changed to allow dogs inside, had some awesome parties and made some wonderful memories,” said Carrier, who also runs the House of Hounds dog-grooming spot next door to the bar on Lee Street.


“Unfortunately, I have decided to close The BARk. My true passion has always been working with animals and the dog aspect made it fun for me, but I have realized that the bar business and late nights are not for me. It’s been a blast and I love all the dogs and people I’ve met.”

Cue the sounds of a sad dog howling at the moon.


Man, this one stings. I didn’t frequent the place nearly as often as I should’ve, but I loved its swanky retro vibe inside, its open deck out front and its fun and breezy patio and doggie playground in the back. And their cocktails were so on point!


Bow-wow? More like boo-hoo.


• • •


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 www.wvfoodguy.com or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or at wvfoodguy@aol.com.

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