My parents started traveling to Charleston in the mid-1980s. By that time, Ye Ole Fashioned Ice Cream & Sandwich Cafe had already been operating on Savannah Highway for more than a decade.
By the early 1990s, my parents were taking me with them to Charleston almost every year, and it became our family vacation destination. But we never visited Ye Ole Fashioned. I had never even heard of the restaurant until my wife Molly and I passed it on a trip to Charleston in 2023.
For several decades my Charleston experience was based in lodging at nearby Kiawah Island to the south of the city and traveling into town a few times each trip for sightseeing and dining.
I wanted to get a more local experience on my trip to Charleston with Molly and stay closer to the city without paying a premium to lodge right in historic downtown. Ye Ole Fashioned’s Savannah Highway location, the original that opened in 1972 and has since been joined by five other area versions, was just a couple miles up the main highway from our Airbnb in the West Ashley section of Charleston.
After visiting another nearby Ye Ole location that didn’t quite satisfy us with its modern strip mall vibe and awkward staff, we stopped into the vintage-looking Ye Ole restaurant. And we were immediately and totally captivated by its classic charm, both inside and out.
Ye Ole Fashioned on Savannah Highway is THE local dining destination you need to visit in Charleston if you’re looking for grill food and ice cream that stays away from a touristy feel. Think of the classic walk-up Dairy Queen joints before most of them became part of a modernized chain.
We ended up visiting Ye Ole Fashioned multiple times in just a few days, and we ate burgers, hot dogs, fries and ice cream during our stops. The hot food is all good, grill and diner eats done right. And the ice cream is plentiful in both flavor choices and serving sizes. There’s a separate ice cream counter and register to visit if you’re just craving a sweet treat.
There’s not a ton of parking at Ye Ole on Savannah Highway, but there is plenty of seating inside. You can even get food to go at the drive-through window.
Regardless of how you visit, you’ll leave here full and without the big bill you’ll likely find at many other restaurants during your travels, especially in 2023.
Sometimes we write about restaurants that offer impressive menus and atmospheres. Other times, the food is so simple and so good that it speaks for itself. That’s what you’ll get at Ye Ole Fashioned, the quintessential local #FoodieScore in the Charleston region.
Ye Ole Fashioned Ice Cream & Sandwich Cafe, 474 Savannah Highway, Charleston, S.C.