The Optimist Restaurant

The Optimist Restaurant

It’s definitely an accolade that The Optimist Restaurant was named 2012 Best New Restaurant of the Year by Esquire Magazine, but – to me, at least – it’s even more of a distinction that the restaurant is run by the same camp as JCT Kitchen & Bar. If that group set up a seafood and lemonade stand on the side of I-85, I’d hit the brakes and pull over. For real.

The Optimist: Little Gem Salad

Little Gem Salad with Fried Oysters (my FAVORITE!)

The Optimist: Beignet-Style Hushpuppies

Beignet-Style Corn Milk Hushpuppies with Cane Syrup Butter

While I’m not the biggest fan of hushpuppies (with the exception of these and sometimes the ones at Hyman’s Seafood in Charleston, SC), I did a double-take when I read “beignet.” No way I wasn’t ordering them. So. Crazy. Good!

The second time my friends and I met at The Optimist for lunch – which in truth was very shortly after our first time meeting there (the place has an “I need to go back!” quality) – I was running a little late. I called my friend who was waiting at the restaurant, and said, “Please: Go ahead and order the hushpuppies!” She was like, “Of course. That goes unsaid.” I am so blessed to have a great group of friends who really get me… and who like good food 🙂

The Optimist: Maine Lobster Roll

Maine Lobster Roll with Shoestring Fries

The Optimist: Shrimp Loaf

Shrimp Loaf with Fries

The Optimist: Fish with Butternut Squash Puree

Fish* with Butternut Squash Puree and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

*The type of fish served in this dish changes, and I cannot remember which I ate when I took this picture. Sorry. I remember that it was good, though 🙂

The Optimist: Tuna Nicoise

Tuna Nicoise


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  1. I want to go strictly for the name. But the food looks amazing!

    • Joy and Sunshine says:

      I love the name, too! The food IS amazing, and I really love the decor. If I’m ever building my dream beach house, I’m taking my designer to The Optimist 🙂

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