Finding Innovation Picks a Winner

germaine2When making a presentation, it never hurts to ply the audience with snacks.

That strategy – along with nine months of hard work – paid off for Germaine Jenkins, who earlier this week was declared the winner of the South Carolina Community Loan Fund’s first Feeding Innovation challenge, designed to fund projects improving food access in underserved areas. The program was the subject of a feature in Wednesday’s Post and Courier food section.

Jenkins was the lone finalist who didn’t rely on PowerPoint to illustrate her proposal for a panel of judges.  Instead, she served spring rolls at the outset of her talk about her family’s background and her plans to launch an urban farm in North Charleston. Continue reading

Southern Living’s Summer Food Issue on Newsstands Today

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Today marks the release date of Southern Living’s food issue, and the magazine’s new food editor wants you to know this isn’t your mama’s Southern Living. It’s maybe closer to your grandmama’s.

“Forty years ago, there would have been an essay about why shrimp matters; a profile of a shrimper and great recipes,” Hunter Lewis says when asked how the magazine would have handled, say, the arrival of shrimp season in previous years. “In certain eras, we went away from that and just gave recipes. I think we’re getting back to that.”

The heart of the food issue is an alphabetical guide to Southern food, described as a compendium of “the recipes, tastemakers and trends that define our culture right now.” The list ranges from Agricultural Renaissance to Zucchini – with fried chicken and Champagne; a Birmingham teaching farm and pitmaster Aaron Franklin populating the in-between pages. Charleston’s High Wire Distilling Co. shows up under “X” — as in “XXX” for moonshine. Continue reading

Egan & Sons Listed for Sale UPDATED

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Egan & Sons appears to have is preparing to poured its last pint: The downtown restaurant is up for sale.

City Paper first broke the news of the seven-month old restaurant’s sudden closing, quoting general manager Kirsten Leahey as saying, “We’re going to shut down for a few weeks and make some changes. But we’re not going anywhere.”

According to a posting by National Restaurant Properties, the 2900-square foot restaurant and bar at 5 Cumberland St. is now available for $1.69 million. The space is described as “well-maintained and appointed with high quality finishes.” Continue reading

Wild Wing Cafe Plans New Menu

The flatbreads currently available at Wild Wing Cafe.

The flatbreads currently available at Wild Wing Cafe.

Part of the appeal of “limited time offers” at restaurant chains – think McDonald’s McRib or Wendy’s pretzel bacon cheeseburger – is the items are bound to eventually disappear. But Erik Combs, chef of the Mt. Pleasant-headquartered Wild Wing Café, says the scheme also gives chains an opportunity to assess the popularity of new dishes before adding them to the permanent menu.

Wild Wing’s flatbreads evolved from a limited time offer. “We’ve had them for years now,” Combs says.

The flatbreads have been on the menu for so long that they’re due for an update. The chain’s new menu, rolling out in August, will feature redesigned flatbreads.

“We’ve designed a completely new style,” Combs says. “The whole thing, top to bottom, is changed.” Continue reading

Kitchen 208 Offers Discounted Entrees on June 6

quinoaKitchen 208 is celebrating its birthday with quinoa, as one does these days.

The lower King Street restaurant is turning one on June 6, and is marking the occasion with $6 entrees. From 7 a.m.-11 a.m., the featured entrée is a bacon and egg sandwich. And from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., six bucks buys a quinoa salad with vegetables and feta cheese. The sandwich usually sells for $7, while the salad costs $8. According to a press release, Kitchen 208 isn’t downsizing portions on deal day.

Both the breakfast and lunch specials will be served with a mini-cupcake. Continue reading

Mountaineers Pile Up Pepperoni Rolls for Annual Bake-Off

roll1It’s a 10-hour flight from Atlanta to Honolulu, so when Jeannie and Joe Scheirman packed for a Hawaiian vacation celebrating their 38th anniversary, the twice-over Charlestonians (they’re natives of Charleston, W.Va.) made room in their carry-ons for snacks.

“Pepperoni rolls sustained us,” Jeannie Scheirman says proudly.

The iconic pepperoni roll – a meat-filled yeasty bread developed nearly a century ago as a coal miners’ lunch – is still hard to find beyond West Virginia. In Charleston, the Pep Rolls food cart is working to remedy the local deficit, but the snack’s acolytes living beyond Appalachia are usually forced to mail-order or bake rolls when they want them. Last Saturday, West Virginia University’s Lowcountry alumni club staged its seventh annual contest to determine who bakes them best. Continue reading

Brooks Reitz Talks About What Makes Leon’s Chicken Special

leonsCharleston doesn’t want for fried chicken. But Brooks Reitz thinks it’s time to start thinking more broadly about the genre: Just as whole hog sauced with vinegar doesn’t represent the totality of barbecue, chicken with craggy, slip-off skin shouldn’t be considered the only fried chicken.

“There are different styles,” says the co-owner of Leon’s Oyster Shop, set to open this weekend.

Fried chicken is one of two menu pillars at Leon’s (as the name suggests, the other is oysters, available chargrilled and raw. Shucking will be supervised by Mike Rogers, who manned the legendary bar at New Orleans’ late Uglesich’s: Stories from the New York Times and USA Today celebrating his past achievements are already framed and hung behind the stand-up oyster station.) Reitz maintains the chicken is locally unique.

“I’d say the style it bears the most resemblance to is Nashville fried chicken, but without the hot,” Reitz says. “It’s brined and breaded. And I think the magic occurs in the time it sits. The skin almost becomes one with the chicken.” Continue reading

McCrady’s Ditches A La Carte Menu and Bar Snacks For All-Tasting Menu Format

scallopsHave you been to McCrady’s lately? If not, now’s a pretty good time to revisit the restaurant, which earlier this month introduced a new menu format.

I last sat at McCrady’s bar in the fall, and the culinary portion of my experience was kind of a mess. The fried snacks available to pair with our cocktails tasted like afterthoughts: Compared to the food we’d had along with an earlier round at The Gin Joint, the fritters were lacking in flavor and panache.

Now, though, McCrady’s has done away with its dedicated bar menu, as I discovered when I recently dropped by for a drink. The restaurant’s struck a la carte entrees from its menu, too. The prix-fixe program, which has always been the source of the kitchen’s best work, is now the only option for McCrady’s guests. Continue reading

The Drawing Room Opens Tomorrow

To celebrate the opening of The Vendue’s new restaurant, chef Jon Cropf is tomorrow night offering an expanded selection of amuse-bouches to The Drawing Room guests.

Although the hotel hasn’t yet posted Cropf’s menu online, its website describes it as “a tapas-style menu designed to push the boundaries of what guests expect of southern-based restaurants.”

The Drawing Room, 19 Vendue Range, is open daily for breakfast and dinner. For more information, call 577-7970 or visit thevendue.com/restaurants/the-drawing-room/.

Wando High School Culinary Team Wins National Honors

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Bill Twaler with students Anna Ware and Talbot McGee.

A Wando High School culinary team’s restaurant concept earlier this month earned a fifth-place prize at the National ProStart Invitational, becoming the first South Carolina management team to place in the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s annual competition.

The state champions proposed a French café attached to a French art museum; they were required to submit a business plan, marketing plan, menu and test recipes to support their pitch.

“Then they prepare a PowerPoint and do a 10-minute oral presentation, along with a visual display board of the concept,” explains Wando Culinary Arts instructor Bill Twaler, who described the trip to Minneapolis as “lots of fun.” Continue reading