Justin Moore, a former U.S. Marine from Columbia, S.C., attended the Art Institute of Atlanta with the idea of one day opening a restaurant that could compete with any in the culinary hotbed of Charleston. After a stint operating out of a food truck, he found his niche in Goose Creek, 20 minutes north of the Holy City.
MOMO Kitchen + Market, his fine food establishment, is “shaped by our craftsman approach to cooking,” Moore writes on the MOMO website. Specializing in seasonal and locally sourced dishes, he believes his food can match or surpass almost anything “The Creek’s” larger neighbor to the south can produce.
Moore previously worked as executive chef at Atlanta’s Peachtree Club, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Georgia World Congress Center, the Atlanta Braves’ 755 Club and a Charleston institution, Carolina’s. He says his passion for fine food came from helping gather fresh produce from the family garden and pickling peppers with his grandmother.
MOMO offers vegetable-driven menus, fresh regional seafood (a must for the Charleston area), game dishes and even nitrogen milkshakes. Moore prides himself on using as many local suppliers as possible for his bill of fare.
But Goose Creek’s food scene doesn’t end with MOMO. Indeed, from sports pubs to Mexican to barbecue, the city offers a variety of choices for any palate.
Start with Sapphire’s Bar & Grill, a casual sports bar offering tasty appetizers like seared tuna, fried shrimp, bacon-wrapped scallops and even fried cauliflower, broccoli and zucchini, as well as burgers, sandwiches and salads. But the big draw here is the variety of boneless Buffalo wings and sauces.
Also popular is Saint James Place Grille. Diner favorites include homemade soups, nachos and burgers, plus the house specialty—slow-cooked prime rib beef.
For authentic Mexican food, try Taqueria La Mexicana, a classic hole-in-the-wall restaurant best known for its carnitas and chorizo burritos. How authentic is it? Most of the friendly staff at this family-owned restaurant speak little English, but customers always manage to get their menu message across.
If smoothies and healthy beverages are your thing, check out Juiceria Smoothie Bar and Café, specializing in combinations of sandwiches or wraps with fruit and veggie smoothies. Try the Tropikale smoothie (yes, with kale) and a Caesar chicken wrap for a healthful lunch.
Of course, no South Carolina city can have a restaurant scene without a go-to barbecue place. In Goose Creek, it's 3 Little Pigs Barbecue, offering a full-service, dine-in buffet and takeout. It features the three most popular barbecue sauce styles—mustard, tomato and vinegar/pepper—and a lineup of meats that includes pulled pork, ribs and brisket, along with pork chops, chicken, wings and fish. For sides, there's rice, collards, beans, tomato pie, macaroni and cheese and more.
Bottom line: no one goes hungry in Goose Creek, no matter their taste.