Lunch 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. Continue reading
Jestine’s Kitchen, which last month shut down in the midst of lunch service, is planning to re-open on Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 11 a.m.
Jessica Grossman of Jestine’s Sweet Shop shared the news in an e-mail, but didn’t elaborate on what diners should expect when the tourist favorite returns. Jestine’s Sweet Shop remained open throughout the restaurant’s hiatus.
It’s still not clear what caused Jestine’s owner Dana Berlin Strange to close the restaurant on Aug. 22 without warning: According to social media reports, Strange shooed away customers, declaring the restaurant would never re-open.
The restaurant’s windows were papered over days after the closure with butcher paper on which the oddly-spelled phrase “closed for remolding” was handwritten.
Strange in 1996 opened Jestine’s Kitchen to honor her family’s longtime housekeeper. Jestine Matthews died the following year at age 112, but her namesake restaurant continued to attract acclaim from the national press and remarkably long lines.
As of this weekend, Jestine’s Sweet Shop remained open, but it remains unclear why Jestine’s Kitchen closed without warning on Thursday, and whether the popular restaurant plans to re-open.
A Sweet Shop staffer refused to comment on the situation, but a man in the shop who identified himself as a friend of its employees said they’re as curious as the general public about what prompted the abrupt closure for unscheduled and unspecified renovations.
Although messages left on the restaurant’s voicemail and with the Sweet Shop for owner Dana Berlin Strange weren’t returned, rumors that the closure could be prolonged or permanent are swirling on social media. Continue reading