Jestine’s Kitchen Back in Business

jestineinterior2Lunch service at Jestine’s Kitchen today proceeded so casually and calmly that most visiting diners apparently didn’t have a clue that the tourist haunt had just completed a six-week hiatus.

“They don’t know we were gone,” my server told me.

Although there wasn’t a line outside the door, guests swapped standard banter with new manager Michael Pendleton, sharing highlights of their Charleston vacations and citing the travel guide which pointed them to Jestine’s.

Owner Dana Berlin Strange on Aug. 22 suddenly closed her popular restaurant. While she initially refused to talk about her reasoning, she yesterday told the Post & Coujestineextrier’s Abigail Darlington that “something personal happened and I just decided it was time to take a break…maybe it wasn’t a good idea to close in the middle of lunch, but that’s what I did.”

Strange wasn’t at Jestine’s for the reopening, but Pendleton – a longtime front-of-house professional whose resume includes Carolina’s, Il Cortile del Re and Water’s Edge – was actively circulating the room. According to my server, Pendleton recruited the restaurant’s current crew largely from his Rolodex of former employees.

Since I never visited Jestine’s prior to its closure, I don’t have a point of comparison for its food, but jestinesfoodalmost everything I sampled was undersalted. After salting my slab of meatloaf (which I’d be inclined to classify as a Salisbury steak, but I appreciate the distinction between the dishes is contentious), I noticed a man at the next table vigorously salting his fried chicken drumstick.

Jestine’s is resuming its normal hours, serving lunch and dinner six days a week. The restaurant’s closed on Mondays. For more information, call 722-7224.

4 thoughts on “Jestine’s Kitchen Back in Business

  1. Well, there you have it, folks. A new staff. Jestine’s is Dana Berlin Strange’s pride, a tribute to hers and her mother’s nanny. She needed to make staffing changes and as a business owner it is her right to do what she feels is necessary for the benefit of her business and for her patrons. True it wasn’t such a good idea to close at lunch and anger patrons, but sometimes enough is enough. And if you’ve ever owned a business, you’d understand. Welcome back and may you shine brighter than ever with your new team.

  2. Weird. But why didn’t she just replace the manager and the staff in the normal way? Sounds a little unpredictable and volatile to me.

  3. My family and I have had the pleasure of dining at Jestine’s for many years. I recently ate at Jestines for lunch, and enjoyed it so much that I ate there 3 more times in the same week. The service was excellent and the food was expertly prepared. The food was perfectly seasoned and not lacking salt. I would like to see an end to the negativity regarding Jestine’s abrupt closure and more support of her re-opening. Dana and Jestine’s Kitchen have been a big part of the community for many years and have contributed greatly to the community. It is our turn now to give back to her and Jestin’s with our support.

  4. My having to leave August 22nd and closing for the day had nothing to do with changing some employees.Thank you for your support Matthew and Elizabeth I appreciate it more than you know.

    Dana Berlin Strange