Just when you thought we had safely put the unicornification of all things food and beverage behind us, a new pink food has popped up in Charleston, South Carolina. Grits, that most Southern of Southern foods, is now showing up as "Unicorn" grits at Millers All Day, a new all-day breakfast restaurant owned by Greg Johnsman from Geechie Boy Mills and chef Nathan Thurston.
Maybe it's not all that surprising that pink grits arrived on the scene in Charleston, considering that the Southern city is home to Rainbow Row, a set of 13 houses known for their bright colors. What's certain is that when Charleston decided to get in on the pink food trend, they did it by staying true to the corn from which the delicately colored grits are made.
Unicorn grits aren't made with dyes or added ingredients and the color doesn't come from specks of bran left in the grain, either. The pink color comes from the corn itself.
There's a rogue gene that creates red kernels in yellow ears of corn. According to Garden & Gun, a farmer that works with Johnsman started selecting for corn that grew red kernels, and in a process that took a decade, finally gathered enough seed to plant a whole stand of red corn.
In other words, this pink corn is truly a unicorn -- a grain that is unique, hard to find, and beautiful.
Right now, Millers All Day executive chef Madison Tessener is serving several dishes made with the pink corn, including grits and desserts made with pink cornmeal. The restaurant is also offering bags of both the cornmeal and the coarse-ground grits for sale, but you can only get them in person at the moment.
It's easy to roll your eyes at another "unicorn" food, but unicorn grits just might deserve your time, attention, and a top spot on your Instagram feed.