It’s been more than a year since a global pandemic changed the world, shuttering thousands of businesses in its wake. But this summer also marks a year of creativity and comradery. Restaurants from counter-service to fine dining pivoted to carryout, sprawled outdoors for safe seating, and whipped up specials to feed the family when we were all sick of cooking three meals a day. Communities flocked to support their favorite spots in whatever ways they could, from buying gift cards to ordering curbside pickup. And, against the odds, new spots popped up, braving the hurdles of the restaurant industry to realize their dreams amid an ongoing crisis. If some good can come from this year of adversity, it’s the spark of ingenuity and deep sense of pride in our local food purveyors for all they’ve overcome.
It’s also been a year since we launched our summer recipe digital edition. With the world changing by the day, we turned to food for comfort and pulled together a guide to easy-going dishes from our archives to keep us fed and fueled. Now, as we slowly make our way back into the world as we knew it, we’re still opting for easy-going. But we’re keeping in mind the lessons learned from a year at home, like making time for a project or two—anyone else still finding joy in bread-making?—and turning to our favorite restaurants when we need a break. In that spirit, we’ve added some new recipes from a few spots that weathered the storm this year—check out 82 Queen’s famous Lowcountry shrimp and grits, a new veggie favorite from Palm & Pine in New Orleans, and cocktails from a few of our favorite spots in Charlotte. Nashville newcomer Gumbo Bros couldn’t wait to share their crawfish boil with the world. And we’ll be toasting all summer long with a next-level watermelon cocktail from Coa Agaveria in Columbia, South Carolina.
We hope these pages bring some inspiration as you begin to gather once again to celebrate the season we’re in, with reverence for what we’ve been through and joy for what we’ve overcome together.
Lia Grabowski West
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