1602 Savannah Highway, Charleston, SC
(843) 556-1354; bessingersbbq.com
There’s no #40 restaurant in this year’s list, for when it comes to two iconic Charleston mustard sauce joints I had to declare a tie. Bessinger’s and Melvin’s are separately-owned, and which I recommend depends on which side of town you’re currently on. If you’re across the river from downtown in the West Ashley neighborhood, then Bessinger’s is your best bet for scoring a plate of chopped pork barbecue dressed in South Carolina’s signature tangy/sweet yellow mustard sauce. It also has a notable version of the state’s iconic side dish, hash and rice. The Bessinger family brought that distinctive style from Orangeburg County down to Charleston just after World War II, and the restaurant on Savannah Highway was founded by Thomas Bessinger in 1960 and is operated by his sons Tommy and Michael today. No Charleston barbecue tour is complete with a visit to at least one of the Bessinger establishments.