New Downtown Ramen Shop Likely to Appeal to Fun-Loving Crowd


This is not Menoki’s ramen.

The last dedicated ramen shop to open in Charleston closed within weeks, but the forthcoming Menkoi Ramen House has a weapon that’s likely to conquer any local skepticism about its noodle bowls.

“Spicy ramen is their most popular dish,” Jonathan Sharpe, an avid eater and food photographer in Columbia, says of the restaurant’s original location. “The secret of its hangover-curing properties is out here.”

Menkoi recently posted a sign in the window of the former Manny’s Neighborhood Grill, first spotted by Eater Charleston. According to a staffer at the Columbia store, the Charleston restaurant is scheduled to open later this month. Continue reading

Carving a Niche for Upscale African Restaurants

jikofishThe last time I visited DisneyWorld, I had a turkey leg for lunch and a cheeseburger for dinner. But as I learned on a recent trip back to Orlando, there are far more interesting food choices beyond the park gates. My strategy of experiencing Disney on the cheap by knocking about its resorts led me to Jiko: The Cooking Place, a 13-year old dining room at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Later, when I called Disney’s press office with follow-up questions, spokeswoman Pam Brandon described Jiko as “one of the most popular restaurants in DisneyWorld.” I’m not surprised. The décor, which leans heavily on earth tones and sultry curves, would seem sophisticated even if you hadn’t spent the day dealing with toddlers in mouse ears. But the real appeal is the exclusively South African wine list, which runs for pages, and the menu of African-influenced dishes. Continue reading

Former Leyla Chef Back in Business in Los Angeles


Vatche Meguerdichian, the opening Leyla chef who left the downtown restaurant after he was denied a shift drink, is again selling schawerma and shish tawook in Los Angeles.

Meguerdichian’s new Sherman Oaks venture is considerably more casual than his previous southern California restaurant, which drew praise from Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold. Entrée prices at the counter-service joint top out at $12. Continue reading

Nation’s Restaurant News Visits Charleston, Writes a Trend List


Nation’s Restaurant News

What’s popular in Charleston? According to Nation’s Restaurant News, cured meat, foraged greens and flavored ice cubes.

The trade publication’s senior food editor, Bret Thorn, recently paid the city a visit to uncover “trends that are likely to become further entrenched across the country.” Although he went looking for them in the usual places – his write-up doesn’t note relative newcomers such as Edmund’s Oast or Warehouse – he came up with a pretty defensible list of five things Charlestonians like to eat. Continue reading

The Palace Hotel Hires Head Chef



Ongoing point-of-sale system issues have forced The Palace Hotel to repeatedly delay its official grand opening, but the “underground boutique dive bar” last night hired an executive chef.

Blake Joyal, who’s currently the butcher at FIG, will work in tandem with restaurant consultant Eva Keilty before taking over the kitchen.

“He is amazing,” says Keilty, the Warehouse opening chef who designed The Palace Hotel’s starter menu of gourmet global hot dogs. “I’ve been looking for someone for a while.” Continue reading

Blu Appoints New Executive Chef

vendue-exterior (11)The impending opening of The Vendue‘s new restaurant has forced a kitchen shuffle at sister property Tides Folly Beach.

Steve Klatt, formerly chef de cuisine at The Francis Marion Hotel’s Swamp Fox Restaurant, is joining Tides as executive chef of Blu Restaurant & Bar. Former Blu executive chef Jon Cropf is taking the same position at The Vendue. In addition to heading up The Drawing Room’s kitchen, Cropf will oversee operations of the hotel’s rooftop bar and coffee shop.

“(Cropf) continues his rise in the Charleston culinary scene with his move,” Avocet Hospitality Group’s Ken Merkel is quoted as saying approvingly in a release announcing the hires.

The Drawing Room is scheduled to open next month.

Sean Brock Plans Casual Mexican Restaurant

Neighborhood Dining Group and Sean Brock, who next week will learn whether the James Beard Foundation considers him the nation’s best chef, are opening a Mexican restaurant alongside McCrady’s.

The restaurant is scheduled to open in late summer.

According to a release, “it will have a fun atmosphere, affordable menu and casual service.” No further details were available.

No wonder Brock has been practicing his micheladas, which made a spirited splash at Cook It Raw last fall.

Rolf & Daughters Plots One-Night Takeover of Butcher & Bee

Edsel Little

Edsel Little

Rolf and Daughters, the Nashville restaurant which last year earned the number three slot on Bon Appetit’s “best new restaurants in America” list, is planning to occupy Butcher & Bee on June 19 to serve a five-course supper.

According to the event announcement, “The Rolf and Daughters team will be serving a selection of hit dishes from their menu, including their dynamite handmade pasta.”

Butcher & Bee’s Nadya Freire says additional menu details are still being developed, but “we’d like to take advantage of seasonality as much as possible. We definitely want to source some great local ingredients for the menu, both on the produce and protein side.” She mentions Abundant Seafood and Grassroots Wine as possible partners. Continue reading

Roadside Seafood Settles Into Permanent Digs on Folly Road

crabsoupWhen a food truck strikes an item from its menu board, patrons are apt to write off the inconvenience as just another entertaining idiosyncrasy of eating far from a fixed kitchen. As Sean Mendes has learned since he earlier this month opened a permanent location of Roadside Seafood, it doesn’t work that way in restaurants.

“People don’t expect you to run out of everything,” he says. “I’ve been doing three or four batches of she-crab soup.”

The she-crab clamor is understandable, since Roadside – which got its start two years ago as a food truck – produces one of the city’s best bowls.  Based on Mendes’ grandmother’s recipe, the soup bears little resemblance to the flavorless, overworked bowls of thick cream which have caused plenty of Charleston eaters to dismiss the dish as tourist pap. It’s almost more of a chowder than a bisque, crammed with picked crab and flecked with onion and celery. Continue reading

Five Loaves Cafe Plans to Open Summerville Location This Fall

logoAnother Charleston restaurant is opening a Summerville location, with Five Loaves Café today announcing plans to take over the former Farringdon Bistropub.

The news comes just days before Toast of Summerville, a spin-off of the popular peninsular breakfast spot, is scheduled to open on Trolley Road.

Five Loaves owner Casey Glowacki is projecting an October opening for his restaurant, which will offer the same menu as the downtown and Mt. Pleasant locations. Like the Mt. Pleasant location, the Summerville location will feature a full bar and Sunday brunch. Continue reading