Lowcountry Food: Breakfast on the Waterfront at Common Ground
By Alyssa Hudspeth | Staring out into the Beaufort River from Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park, I contemplate what brought me to Beaufort. I incessantly give thanks for the adventures, events and views bestowed upon me by Beaufort on a daily basis. With the business that life can inflict, I find solace in things -places even- that keep me grounded and consistently force me to retain the blessing of calling Beaufort my home. Confident in the certainty that every individual is capable of staking claim to at least one place that inspires them or evokes a certain memory, I’d like to share mine with you.
Perfectly nestled into Beaufort’s downtown waterfront dwells Common Ground Coffeehouse. Southern-style porches at either entrance lure you in from first glance and the waterfront entrance is nothing short of astounding. This grand porch offers seating with an elevated view of the Beaufort River that facilitates a peaceful state many tirelessly pursue. Beyond the waterfront porch, cafe tables cluster against a brick patio veiled with red umbrellas. The waterfront entrance easily calls to mind a painting by Peter Graham titled Le Cafe Du Jardin.
Inside, tranquil lighting and neutral colors offer to lighten your load and ease your mind. Butter soft leather seating at one end frames a fireplace. With the Beaufort summers hot enough to make your teeth sweat, the fireplace at Common Ground is established as more of an aesthetic and doesn’t emit heat during the summer months allowing for year round enjoyment. An abundance of natural light filters through each window giving way to the indoor/outdoor boundary.
As I approach the counter to peruse the meticulously arranged breakfast items displayed in the food cases, they somehow seem to come just shy of screaming my name. Which of these delectable items would fall prey to my appetite this morning? I contemplate if it would be absolutely absurd to request a heap of their Pino Gelato at 8 a.m.There just is no equivalent to the Common Ground frozen mocha. Photo ESPB/Alyssa Hudspeth
I make my selection along with my customary choice of their frozen mocha. In my opinion, there just is no equivalent to the Common Ground frozen mocha. Their distinctive blend of flawlessly balanced components makes for an absolutely perfect drink. I decide to anticipate breakfast seated in one of their buttery soft leather wingback chairs while overlooking Waterfront Park to the Beaufort River.
A breakfast fit for a small village arrives and I request that it be taken to a table in the back. Lord knows I couldn’t fit this feast on anything smaller than a full-size table. I must note, I was alone – alone and in possession of a substantial amount of food. So I did what any red- blooded American would have done in my situation- I attempted to eat it all.
I started by peeling back the muffin liner on the blueberry muffin…. and didn’t look back.Homemade blueberry muffins at Common Ground Coffeehouse. Photo ESPB/Alyssa Hudspeth
The blueberry muffin presented with a gorgeous golden top that sparkled with a dusting of sugar. The interior was dense, yet fluffy which forced me to marvel following each bite. Some blueberries beneath the surface had exploded, staining the buttery colored interior with beautiful purple smudges throughout.Homemade asparagus quiche at Common Ground. Photo ESPB/Alyssa Hudepsth
After inhaling it, I decided to dive straight into my triangle slice of asparagus quiche. Being a bit of a quiche snob, I typically don’t order it when dining out. It’s generally something that I bake at home myself. I find some establishments tend to rush the baking and cooling process leading to wet eggs that ruin the entire composition. This quiche was absolutely delightful. It had a gloriously flaky crust superbly contrasted by the custard like egg filling that was flecked with diced onion and asparagus.
The asparagus quiche was melt in your mouth wonderful and served with a side of fresh pineapple.
Going into the waffle, I will be honest – I thought this would be a typical waffle. Had one, had ’em all. As I took the first bite, I quickly realized that my judgement couldn’t have been more amiss. I have never had a waffle quite like this one. I’m not embellishing when I say this was the best waffle I have ever had. With each bite, I was reminded of a funnel cake with a cinnamon toast undertone. It seems to me that the perfect balance of cinnamon and vanilla is what makes this waffle stand out from the crowd. The waffle is served with a side of syrup and comes dusted with powdered sugar, just as the good lord intended.
I will request this waffle each time I spend my morning at Common Ground for as long as they will allow me gorge on them.
Common Ground Coffeehouse offers me a place of comfort that I can confidently recommend. I am excited to continue exploring all of their options and hope to be invited back for lunch.
Common Ground offers friendly service, delicious food and stellar brews. They have made certain not to abandon their diet restrictive friends by including vegan, gluten-free and healthy alternative options. If you’re blessed to be a local or just blessed to be visiting for a short time, Common Ground Coffeehouse (and it’s view) is a can’t-miss in Beaufort.
You can find Common Ground between Bay Street and Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park at 102 W St Ext in beautiful downtown Beaufort.
Our Lowcountry Food writer, Alyssa is a no non-sense, food obsessed blogger who is smitten with Lowcountry fare and tradition ever since she got here from Rock Hill, SC. With influences steeped in Gullah, Creole & traditional Southern cuisine, she discovered a deep adoration & comfort in cooking (and eating), eventually creating her own blog to share her experiences, ideas & love for food. Follow her on Instagram @ alybythesea. In her down time, she can be found at one of Beaufort’s local restaurants or the kitchen with her husband who is, coincidentally, a local chef, along with their 3 children.