Guilds Hollowell, a partner in Charleston Culinary Tours (CCT), offers an amazing fact about the rate at which new restaurants have opened on Upper King Street. “When we started our Upper King tour in 2012, there was only one James Beard Award winner or nominee in four blocks of the corner of Cannon and King,” he says. “Now there are nine.”

Hollowell started his tours, along with pals Glenn Morehead and Oscar Hines, in 2011, focusing on iconic downtown restaurants. Today CCT has added many more tours and tour combinations. They include a mixology tour, a chefs’ kitchen tour, a distillery tour and a tour of Charleston’s farmer’s market.

On our recent tour of Upper King, we met guide “Hoon” Calhoun, a man with a long Charleston pedigree and a flair for the dramatic. With a bottle of Duke’s mayonnaise in his pocket and a wide-brimmed straw hat on his head, he escorted us to three restaurants and a bakery, all the while regaling us with stories of Charleston’s culinary history. Calhoun explained how Charleston’s early commitment to religious freedom brought immigrants—and their culinary traditions—to the colony from all over the world. And he threw in plenty of local news and tips on Southern cooking.

Calhoun’s lessons went down as easily as the flatbread we were served at HoM restaurant, topped with pimento cheese, pork confit and carmelized onions,

For a list of tours and times, visit charlestonculinarytours.com or call 843-259-2966.