Grind and Squeeze Pouring in I’On

coffee

Grind and Squeeze

A model-stylist sister team is behind the newest addition to I’On Square, a beverage bar emphasizing “quality-conscious fare.”

According to a press release, Grind and Squeeze was inspired by the “relaxed lifestyle” that Heston Stutz and Harley Stutz-Hall led in Australia, Asia and Europe. The release grudgingly allows that the café will have “free Wi-Fi for those who must be in contact with the outside world.” But the sisters would obviously much prefer that guests lose themselves in the menu of cold-press juices; vegetable smoothies; wine and craft beer.

The drinks are supplemented by cheese, charcuterie and WildFlour pastries.

Grind and Squeeze, 357 1A N. Shelmore Blvd., is open every day. For hours and more information, call 606-2857 or visit the cafe’s Facebook page.

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Blend Juice Bar Open in Mt. Pleasant

blendThere’s little doubt that Blend, the brand new juice bar in Mt. Pleasant, takes its “putting the fresh in refreshing” slogan seriously: When I recently rang up the store to learn more about its plans, my call was politely declined by a staffer apparently busy chopping vegetables.

“We’re in the middle of prep,” he told me after consulting with the owner.

According to its online menu, Blend is serving a wide range of juices and smoothies. Although customers are given the option to assemble their own juice combinations, there are eight “signature juices” on offer, including a pair of juices spiked with cayenne and jalapeno peppers. Continue reading

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Dickensian Punch Debuts at Edmund’s Oast This Weekend

ingratiating_manAfter I raved about Edmund’s Oast, Eater Charleston smirked that I was “perhaps the only restaurant reviewer to ever use the word ‘Dickensian’ in a food evaluation.”

Perhaps. But I’m not even the only one in town to use the word in a culinary context. Edmund’s Oast (who else?) is scheduled to put a cocktail called “Dickensian Punch” on tap today.

While I wish I could take credit for inspiring the drink, the nomenclature has nothing to do with me: According to beverage manager Cameron Read, the name was chosen long before my review was published. And the original recipe is older still: “(It) was actually written down by Charles Dickens and sent to a friend of his in a letter,” Read writes.

Dickens’ recipe — reprinted in David Wondrich’s authoritative Punch: the Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl, which describes the British author as a “dedicated punch-maker” — calls for lemons, rum, sugar, brandy and fire. Edmund’s Oast plans to prepare the punch in a similar fashion, making it genuinely Dickensian. Sounds like the perfect thing to quaff while reading The Pickwick Papers.

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“With Bittersweet Pride,” The Grocery Announces Hallie Arnold’s Departure

hallieThe Grocery’s Hallie Arnold, who last fall memorably created a Post and Courier cocktail for StarChefs.com’s Charleston event (OK, it looms large in our memories), has accepted a position with Bombay Sapphire.

According to The Grocery’s Facebook page, tomorrow night is Arnold’s last shift.

Arnold, a member of the last graduating class at Johnson & Wales’ Charleston campus, racked up a series of awards while bartending for The Grocery. She was a finalist in Bombay Sapphire’s national search for the “Most Imaginative Bartender,” and her vodka cocktail was chosen as the official cocktail of this year’s Charleston Wine + Food Festival.

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New Cocktails at The Cocktail Club

cocktailclubThe Cocktail Club, which sports an admirable selection of Southern-made spirits, is adding two new cocktails made with Charleston liquors to its list.

In addition to The Right and Wrong, featuring High Wire Distilling Co.’s Hat Trick gin, and the Striped Pig vodka-based A Pig’s Tale, the upper King Street bar is also now serving cocktails made with vegetable-infused tequila and mescal.

To mark the menu’s launch, The Cocktail Club is hosting an interactive cocktail class on Mar. 22 at 1 p.m. Tickets are $25; call 231-1568 for reservations.

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Two Bar Crawls Scheduled for March

In case drinkers need more incentive to hoist a pint during St. Patrick’s Day week, the Folly Association of Businesses is again hosting its holiday pub crawl to  raise money for local charities.

The beneficiaries of the Mar. 15 event haven’t yet been announced, but the roster of participating bars and restaurants includes Loggerhead’s, Woody’s, Folly Brew Pub, Drop-In Deli, Planet Follywood, Crab Shack, The Grill and Island Bar, Surfbar, Blu, Rita’s Seaside Grille and Snapper Jack’s.

Each of the Folly Beach venues will offer food and drink specials from 12 noon until 5 p.m. For more information, check out visitfolly.com. Continue reading

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The Cocktail Club Offers Cash Prize For Heartbreak Tale

clubSingles typically stay home around Valentine’s Day, but The Cocktail Club is trying to draw out the unattached crowd with a “Jilted Lovers’ Party,” featuring live music and five-buck glasses of wine.

Although attendees at the 9 p.m.-1 a.m. event aren’t required to prove single status, the bar is inviting drinkers to submit their “worst love story.” “The stories will not be read out loud or shared,” promises spokeswoman Angel Postell. Winner takes home $250, so even if you don’t get lucky, you can still get rich.

And the party’s scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 13, so jilted lovers who get together can celebrate the holiday in more traditional style the following night.

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Newly Renovated Big John’s Prepares to Re-Open This Week

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New lamp, new table, new benches, same stickers.

“We have a side bet that people are going to come in and not know what we’ve changed,” says Robert Hightower, who — along with fellow Rarebit restaurateur John Adamson – last fall assumed responsibility for resurrecting Big John’s, which is scheduled to reopen this week  Monday at 7 p.m.

Big John’s owner Ryan Condon partnered with Adamson after taking over the 60-year old bar’s management from his nephews, who he felt had betrayed the soul of the legendary watering hole; Condon particularly disapproved of an arrangement allowing Roti Rolls’ Cory Burke to serve kimchi and cow’s head in a venue formerly renowned for its pickled eggs and cold sandwiches.

Under the leadership of The Rarebit’s team, the bar will focus on more mainstream items from the grill, although it will offer a much more extensive menu than Big John’s did in its heyday. “Our intention is to be a viable lunch place,” Hightower says. Continue reading

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Food & Beverage Industry Remembers Christopher West

chriswestChristopher West was a much-loved member of the local food and beverage community, but there was never any question that the native Charlestonian identified himself as a writer first: The word was tattooed on his forearm in such a way it could be read whether you were standing alongside him or seated on the opposite side of the bar.

“That’s part of why he liked working F&B,” West’s friend and former employer Garret McNally, owner of Mac’s Place, recalls. “He got stories from it.”

Before West died Saturday at the age of 40, he was working three nights a week at The Griffon Pub, the last in a long string of Charleston restaurants and bars. He was also a regular contributor to Skope, a music magazine based in Boston. Continue reading

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Cooking Channel Looks to Improve Food at Local Dive Bars

“Belly Up,” a new Cooking Channel show devoted to elevating the food menus of dive bars, is now scouring Charleston for makeover subjects. Presumably, Big John’s Tavern isn’t planning to apply.

Big John’s owner Ryan Condon last month tossed out tenant Cory Burke of Roti Rolls, in part because the inventive chef’s Ethiopian-influenced cooking was too far removed from the pickled eggs and coldcut sandwiches he associated with the Big John’s of his youth. But “Belly Up”’s casting director Danya Berman believes “new, innovative, enticing bar foods that won’t break the budget” can help save struggling dive bars.

I’m super excited about the possibility of a South Carolina episode — Charleston seems to be a foodie town,” Berman writes. “Hopefully there is a dive bar that wants to remain a dive joint, but with a really delicious bar menu.” Continue reading

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