About Cru Cafe

It's the Holy City's Hidden Gem! Cru Café is Charleston's home to some of the best gourmet comfort food in the Lowcountry. Cru Café is the culinary creation of renowned Le Cordon Bleu graduate, Chef John Zucker. Opened in 2002 in response to overwhelming demand, Cru Café is a culinary destination off the beaten path in in a classic 18th century Charleston single-style home. Cru Café and its award-winning Cru Catering division are consistently ranked as top eateries by locals and tourists alike. From our famous Four Cheese Macaroni to our tasty Thai Seafood Risotto, we feature something for everyone. And if you're in the mood for lighter fare, try our Chinese Chicken Salad or Duck Confit Salad. Guests of the restaurant can enjoy daily specials, indoor and outdoor porch seating, a wine list tailored to the varied menu and rich, mouthwatering desserts. We invite to stop in and enjoy a delicious meal with us today.

18 Pinckney Street
Charleston, SC 29401
View Larger Map

Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
Comfort Food, Fusion / Eclectic, Southern

Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Tuesday - Saturday: 11:00am - 3:00pm; Dinner: Tuesday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday & Saturday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm

Cross Street:
East Bay St

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(843) 534-2434

Website:
http://www.crucafe.com/

Entertainment:
Private Upstairs Dinning Room available for up to 18 people.

Catering:
Voted Charleston's best caterer consecutively since 2001 by the Charleston City Paper, our Cru Catering branch offers full service customized catering, in-house personal chefs, corporate catering, receptions, weddings and private parties. Please contact us at 843-534-2433.
www.crucatering.com

Parking Details:
Cru Cafe does NOT offer parking. The gravel lot across the street is owned and operated by Palmetto Carriage Company. There is a public parking deck located off Pinckney Street behind the Bank of America building. The address is 200 Meeting Street.

Executive Chef:
John Zucker

Additional:
Banquet, Beer, Cafe, Chef's Table, Counter Seating, Farm to Table, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Outdoor Smoking Area, Private Room, Takeout, Wine

Cru Cafe Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.8

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.8

service

4.7

ambience

4.5

value

4.5

noise

Moderate

97% would recommend it to a friend

Neighborhood Gem (121)
Creative Cuisine (116)
Fit for Foodies (107)
See All
Great for Lunch (92)
Casual (88)
Local Ingredients (86)
Cozy (80)
Good for a Date (74)
Authentic (71)
Comfort Food (62)
Special Occasion (59)
Great for Outdoor Dining (48)
Fun (46)
Worth the Drive (44)
Good for Birthdays (42)
Good for Anniversaries (36)
Romantic (30)
Hot Spot (29)
Quiet Conversation (22)
Great for Brunch (17)
Sunday Lunch (16)
Seasonal (16)
Open Kitchen (14)
Good Vegetarian Options (13)
Pre/post Theatre (13)
Business Meals (12)
People Watching (11)
Historic (11)
Quick Bite (10)
Great Beer (8)
Good for Groups (8)
Tasting Menu (7)
Notable Wine List (7)
Organic (6)
Bar Seating (6)
Late-night Find (6)
Tapas (5)
Gluten Free Options (4)
Afternoon Tea (4)
Afternoon Coffee (3)
Paleo Friendly (3)
Handcrafted Cocktails (2)
Vegan (2)
Family Style (1)
Private Room (1)
Happy Hour (1)
Disabled Access (1)
Vibrant Bar Scene (1)
Modern Decor (1)
Scenic View (1)
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3254 reviews
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 (Cincinnati)·Dined 2 days ago

Every time I come to Charleston I try to dine here. Love the atmosphere, food and service. would recommend to anyone who enjoys great food.

Tags: Great for Brunch
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined 4 days ago

Super cute spot in Charleston - great location, great atmosphere, helpful and friendly staff and delicious and interesting food.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Comfort Food, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Western NC)·Dined 7 days ago

This was our second visit to Cru Café. Both times we dined at lunch. Next time we'll try dinner. The food is amazing! The fried green tomato's are a must for an appetizer (we ordered a second plate to share)! Salads are very fresh and delicious. The mac & cheese and the truffle fries are a hit! The pastrami is out of this world, and not regularly on the menu. They smoke all their meats in back of the restaurant. The craft beers are great. This is one of our favorite spots - off the beaten path. Make reservations! You will not be disappointed!

Tags: Tasting Menu, Great for Outdoor Dining, Local Ingredients, Creative Cuisine, Worth the Drive, Tapas, Casual, Fun, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Anniversaries, Cozy, Good for a Date, Authentic, Great Beer
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined 7 days ago

Delicious! Never disappointing.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined 7 days ago

We had lunch here and the food was amazing! The fried green tomatoes are definitely worth ordering. I would also recommend the truffle fries and macaroni and cheese. The only thing that was bit wonderful was how close the tables are to one another...but worth it because the food is so divine!

Tags: Fun, Comfort Food, Good for Birthdays
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Charlotte)·Dined on August 11, 2017

My wife and I were in Charleston celebrating our anniversary and went to Cru Café for lunch. Our meals were delicious with the highlights being the tomato bisque soup, the fresh mozzarella and tomato salad, the four cheese macaroni side dish (omg), and the sandwich of the day (hot pastrami with country slaw--so good!). The open kitchen concept allows you to watch your meal being prepared with fresh ingredients and we would highly recommend this restaurant.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Good for Anniversaries, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on August 11, 2017

The lunch menu is our most favorite in town. We always have lunch at the Cru when we visit Charleston. Best Mac & Cheese in town!

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Great for Outdoor Dining, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on August 11, 2017

I had the most delightful dinner while visiting Charleston. I was traveling alone and luckily given a seat at the chefs table. It was so fun to watch all of the action is the well run kitchen and everyone was so nice and friendly and fun to talk to. I started with the fried green tomatoes and they were perfect. Fried nice and golden, not greasy at all and topped with delicious feta cheese and a tomato sauce that was amazing. This dish is big enough to share, 4 large slices. I had the fish of the day special, a grouper seasoned with tumeric over seasonal shaved vegetable. So delicious, light and perfectly cooked. The wine selection was very good and many options by the glass. I had a wonderful evening and can't wait to go back again one day.

Tags: Good for a Date, Hot Spot, Fit for Foodies, Cozy
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Western NC)·Dined on August 10, 2017

Quality ingredients equals great food and this is what Cru has. I had the wedge salad, it was amazing. I've had and made them before but this one was special. The fried green tomatoes are to die for. I really appreciate all the little touches like the smoked tomato caramel. Friendly helpful staff.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Fun, Fit for Foodies, Great for Lunch, Casual, Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on August 9, 2017

We had a very nice dinner. The food was great and the service excellent.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Cozy
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food4
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Jacksonville)·Dined on August 9, 2017

Awesome! Laughed at folks that said this was the best sandwich they have ever had in their reviews. Well, these were probably the best sandwiches we've ever had. Lol.

Tags: Cozy, Fit for Foodies, Casual
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on August 8, 2017

Cru is fantastic ! Every dining experience is unique and memorable! One of Charleston's finest restaurants by far!

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Creative Cuisine, Worth the Drive, Vegan, Kid-friendly, Local Ingredients, Tapas, Quick Bite, Tasting Menu, Good Vegetarian Options
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on August 6, 2017

Another outstanding Dining experience. The food was excellent as always (tried the mac and Cheese for the first time. And it was delightful). But what makes Cru so special is the staff and the service you receive. The General Manager, Nate, sets the stage. He is welcoming and makes sure everything is right. My server last night (and the Saturday before) was Neila. And she was superb. But all the wait staff were last and always are welcoming and top flight. They all help each other out. They truly work as a team. And small things matter. I was getting the delightful mac and Cheese to go. And without me even asking Neila checked with Nate to make sure the dish she was using was microwave safe. And Nate dropped by to make sure I knew it was. It was near the end of the night (and as always they had packed and very busy), so to take the time and energy to make sure I had a microwave safe dish and knew it (without me asking) is part of what makes Cru such a wonderful dining experience. And while they stop seating at 10, that does not mean they start to rush you . They provide the same outstanding service until you are ready to leave.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on August 5, 2017

I have been here many times and it is always amazing. I love the cru.

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food5
ambience4
service3
value4

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on August 5, 2017

Refreshing change from the usual casual lunch. Service is spectacular and responsive even anticipating needs.
Food is mouth watering and flavorful as it creative and delightful to the eye.

Tags: Good for Groups, Local Ingredients, Authentic, Casual, Great for Lunch, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on August 5, 2017

Cru was a Huge disappointment! Took my wife for her birthday and noted that when I made the reservation. When seating us, Nate, the host, addressed the party of 4 ahead of us as to where their table was located and then turned to us and said "follow them and take the table next to them" the 2 top. He didn't bother to seat us and gave us probably the worst possible table...others were available. Our waitress took longer than an acceptable amount of time getting to us and then began describing the specials before even taking out cocktail order.
The fish was overlooked and the duck was tough. We do not recommend!!!

Tags: Late-night Find
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food2
ambience1
service2
value1

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on August 4, 2017

The staff paid such careful attention to my allergies and provided great advice about the wine menu. I had the duck and side vegatables and it was delicious. My friends got the seafood risotto and mussels which also were great. The dining room which is a repurposed living room was at once casual, intimate, and southern. Great choice for first nights dinner in Charleston.

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on August 4, 2017

Food is always great here and the portions are generous. The only downside is that if you sit inside ( which in the sweltering summer you have to do) you can hardly hear your tablemates if the restaurant is crowded. And it usually is at lunch. But they do serve quickly and are very cheerful. I had smoked salmon over an English muffin with a cream cheese spread and it was delicious.
Love going there and know you can always find something to eat that suits your palate.

Tags: Great for Outdoor Dining, Neighborhood Gem, Casual, People Watching, Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience3
service5
value4

 
·Dined on August 4, 2017

Service was outstanding! They accommodated our request to sit outside and served us drinks as we waited. They also delivered us a plate of fries to make up for the fact that their deep fryer was down when we ordered (they said they felt it was only right to bring a plate over to us as we had just missed out on them). Macaroni was a delicious and massive side!

Tags: Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on August 4, 2017

We have been going to Charleston for over 5 years and Cru Cafe was one of the first restaurants we went to when we first visited. We keep going back and it never disappoints. We love the community table, it is festive and the service is always great.

Tags: Comfort Food, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Good for a Date, Cozy, Casual, Romantic, Local Ingredients, Good for Birthdays
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Cleveland)·Dined on August 4, 2017

Wonderful tasty food. Creative and beautiful food with amazing flavors. Staff very helpful, friendly knowledgable. Small restaurant with a cool casual ambiance

Tags: Healthy, Organic, Casual, Good for Birthdays, Romantic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on August 4, 2017

My favorite restaurant in Charleston!! My friends and I have been coming to Charleston for the last 8 years. Cru Cafe is the only restaurant that we HAVE to dine at EVERY time we're in town!!

Tags: Authentic, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience4
service3
value5

 
·Dined on August 2, 2017

Visited Cru on the recommendation of a friend and enjoyed it very much! The food was unique and delicious!!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on August 2, 2017

Great place to take a colleague over lunch downtown on the peninsula. I would highly recommend the burger and truffle fries. Absolutely delicious!

Tags: Great for Outdoor Dining, Scenic View, Neighborhood Gem, Creative Cuisine, Romantic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Orange County)·Dined on August 2, 2017

Excellent food, friendly service. Get your reservation early.

Tags: Casual, Fit for Foodies, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Detroit)·Dined on August 1, 2017

We were seated at the chefs table overlooking the kitchen. Love watching the food prep and cooking! Couldn't have asked for a better experience. Both had daily specials which were very good.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Birmingham)·Dined on August 1, 2017

We had a delightful dinner on the patio on a unseasonably comfortable August afternoon. The waitress was warm and friendly, the dishes were flavorful, seasonal , and beautiful to look at. Would definitely dine here again.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Fit for Foodies, Creative Cuisine, Great for Outdoor Dining
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on July 29, 2017

The food, service, location, and ambiance were all fabulous-would absolutely recommend and will definitely be back!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on July 28, 2017

Our second trip to Charleston, we're from Oklahoma, and a friend suggested we try Cru. We had our dear friends here from Australia . Our reservation was at 7:30 and we had to wait about 20 minutes but it was so well worth the wait everyone had an absolutely fabulous meal!! We will certainly return to The Cru Cafe on our next visit

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Pre/post Theatre, Fun, Special Occasion, Hot Spot, Authentic, Worth the Drive, Good for Anniversaries, Sunday Lunch, Comfort Food, Late-night Find, Good for a Date, Cozy, Great for Brunch, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on July 28, 2017

Lunch reservation. Cool little house in the north historic district. Awesome staff. Good recommendations. Food was clean and excellent. Pride of ownership obvious.

Tags: Authentic, Healthy, Casual
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on July 28, 2017

Great service, awesome food. I want to back for the fried green tomatoes with pork belly crouton, yummy!!!

Tags: Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem, Local Ingredients, Great for Outdoor Dining, Creative Cuisine, Cozy, Casual, Good for Birthdays
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on July 27, 2017

We were in town for a family vacation. Our teenaged daughters loved the restaurant. We loved the setting,servers and managers and can't say enough about the food. We tasted as much as we could! Each dish was amazing. Don't know when we will be back to Charleston but Cru will be a repeat!

Tags: Kid-friendly, Fit for Foodies, Authentic, Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem, Worth the Drive, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on July 27, 2017

Unfortunately, our experience was not good. This is a very small converted home with limited seating, less than 40. It is not appropriate for parties larger than 4 or for those diners with children. Reservations may help, although there was no table available when we arrived on time for our lunch reservation. You may be seated outside, even though this is not part of the reservation request. Our table for 2 was jammed up against the wall just before the entry to the bathroom. We were also very close to the front door. The traffic of diners, as well as servers, was a constant bother. The entry way was always filled with people waiting on a table, though there is no true foyer. Those waiting were constantly in the way of the servers that needed to wait on the outdoor tables, and some bumped our table. It appeared busy and chaotic, which prevented us from having a relaxed lunch with audible conversation. I would suggest trying again in the off-season or before any lunch rush. Maybe an off-hour would be more enjoyable. There are so many other restaurants that serve a nice lunch without feeling like you're in the way of absolutely everyone else.

Tags: Local Ingredients
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food4
ambience1
service4
value2

 
·Dined on July 27, 2017

The staff is warm and friendly, our experience was seamless. Great food, beautiful surroundings. This is a true gem.

Tags: Healthy, Neighborhood Gem, Comfort Food, Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on July 26, 2017

Incredible food, considerate, friendly staff. Definitely make reservations, even for lunch! Restaurant is small, gets packed quickly, and it doesn't have inside waiting area( it was pouring rain the day we went)
We will return. 😍

Tags: Hot Spot, Authentic, Quick Bite, Casual, Fit for Foodies, Local Ingredients, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on July 26, 2017

I love this place. The ambiance is quaint and usually the food is fabulous. This time the service was excellent and the atmosphere was also. The salad I had was greens with cheese and peaches. There was way too much dressing on the salad so it was wilted too much. I'll be back because usually the unusual salads are delicious.

Tags: Casual, Neighborhood Gem, Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

 
·Dined on July 25, 2017

The only thing better than of the overall experience at Cru Cafe is the experience of Cru Catering.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Casual, Special Occasion, Authentic, Local Ingredients, Good for a Date
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food4
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on July 25, 2017

The food was fabulous but it took a long time to get there. It was very loud in there and the host was rude . He just points to where you should sit . Ignores people waiting and looks right over you like you arent there . This might be his thing , but extremely unclassy. Took out of state guest there and was dissapointed and embarassed about the service . So glad the food made up for it . This is a very tiny place .

Tags: Creative Cuisine
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food4
ambience2
service2
value3

 
·Dined on July 23, 2017

We go to Charleston every year for a 3 night weekend. All we do is eat out every meal and try different places each year. We had dinner at Cru Cafe on Saturday night for the first time. It was incredible. The best food I've ever had in Charleston. We will go eat here every trip now. AWESOME!!!

Tags: Casual, Seasonal, Local Ingredients, Creative Cuisine, Business Meals, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion, Good for a Date, Fun, Cozy, Authentic, Worth the Drive, Pre/post Theatre, Fit for Foodies, Quiet Conversation, Good for Birthdays, Comfort Food, Great for Lunch, Romantic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on July 22, 2017

Excellent food and service! Sitting at the chefs bar watching them cook was an experience!!!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

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