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/.

Graze to Open Second Location in Summerville This Fall

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Chef Michael Karkut

If renovations proceed according to schedule, Graze will celebrate its fourth birthday this September by opening a second location in Summerville.

The popular Mt. Pleasant restaurant is occupying the space which previously housed Moose’s Famous BBQ. The new Graze will seat 120 people, or 50 more people than the Mt. Pleasant dining room can accommodate.

Chef Michael Karkut says the Summerville menu will be “about 95 percent” the same as the Mt. Pleasant menu, although he anticipates adding a few different dishes or drinks “to differentiate it.” The restaurant will have a full bar. 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

FED Now Serving “American Eclectic” in Mt. Pleasant

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FED

Nick Arbuckle, the 30-year old owner of the newly-opened FED in Mt. Pleasant, has moved away from the Charleston area just once. And now that he’s back, he’s vowing not to leave again.

After spending eight years at Langdon’s, Arbuckle helped open Latitude 32 outside of Atlanta. The short-lived restaurant featured global food from the 32nd parallel (don’t bother consulting an atlas: it stretches from Georgia to Sichuan to Iran), which may help explain why Arbuckle chose a more basic concept for his first independent venture.

“American eclectic is the best way to describe it,” he says. “It’s not fine dining, but a step above average.” Continue reading

Annie’s Bistro Serving Country French in Mt. Pleasant

282107_139597089454843_7274551_nThe Snowmaggedon of 2010 set in motion a series of restaurant moves which culminated with Annie’s Bistro opening in Mt. Pleasant – in the midst of last month’s ice storm.

Mark Manly and Carole Robert in 2007 opened their French café in Middleburg, Va., but were forced to relocate three years later when a few feet of snowfall weakened the restaurant’s roof. After three years in Bethseda, Md., “we were at that point where rents were about to go into the realm of not possible,” Manly says.  Last fall, he and wife paid a scouting visit to the area where his grandparents retired in the 1970s.

“(Carole) said ‘I can live anywhere’,” Manly says of the decision to re-open Annie’s Bistro in Towne Centre. Continue reading

New Menu Details From Holy City Hospitality’s Michael’s on the Alley

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Victor Social Club, the new watering hole next door to the new Michael’s.

While the menu at the forthcoming Michael’s on the Alley skews High Steakhouse Classical, meaty developments from the century’s first decade haven’t been lost on head chef Aaron Lemieux: When the restaurant opens next Wednesday, diners will be able to saturate their steaks with house-cured bacon butter, or pair them with truffle fries and lobster mac-and-cheese.

More interesting, though, are the nods to current trends: Michael’s — one of three new John Street restaurants from Holy City Hospitality – is offering a side dish of cauliflower gratin and a horseradish beetroot crust for folks who are serious about wanting their beef cooked pink.

Other menu options include oysters Rockefeller, shrimp cocktail, bone marrow, beef tartare, crab gratinee and a pair of salads prepared tableside. The steak selection features a ribeye, tenderloin, Kansas City strip and petite filet; prime rib is identified as “our signature entrée.” (Prices have not yet been determined.) Continue reading

The Farmbar’s First Incarnation Opens on Jan. 24

8698946_origMany of the restaurants promised for December 2013 still haven’t materialized, including Tapio (tied up with lease issues); Chez Nous (“We are close. We just don’t want to open before we have properly trained our staff and worked out some kinks,” owner Patrick Panella writes) and Lee Lee’s Hot Kitchen (not returning my messages.)

But perhaps hoping to prove that restaurants are sometimes worth the wait, The Farmbar provisional is on the cusp of celebrating its grand opening. The project, described on The Farmbar’s website as “seven years in the making,” was originally supposed to take shape by last January.

Although the culinary salon is holding off on permanent construction, meal service begins at 1600 Meeting Street on Jan. 24. The field-parked Spartan trailer (that’s a brand name, but since there’s no phone, it’s especially fitting) will offer its compact menu of sandwiches, salads and baked goods from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays, with lunchbox pickup available on weekdays from 12 noon-2 p.m. The venue will also host occasional pop-up dinners on Sundays and Mondays. Continue reading

Oak Steakhouse Plans Second Location Near Atlanta

oakdessertAnd, speaking of Indigo Road, the restaurant group recently released additional details about its Atlanta area Oak Steakhouse location, set to open in Alpharetta next year.

According to a release, the menu will mirror the menu currently available at the Charleston location, described as “a mix of classic steakhouse features, as well as a farm-to-table locally driven selection of seafood and vegetarian dishes.” (That’s maybe a slight stretch: I recently ate at Oak, and noticed the only dish on the entrée page suitable for non-carnivores was an undescribed $18 item poetically called “vegetarian plate.” But what would a vegetarian be doing in a steakhouse anyhow?)

Jeremiah Bacon, executive chef of the Oak Steakhouse here, will help hire the new restaurant’s chef. Continue reading

Owner of CO “Isn’t Ruling Out” a Sushi Restaurant in Charleston

cosushiCO is opening a sushi-centric restaurant in Myrtle Beach, but owner Greg Bauer currently has no plans to add raw fish to the Charleston location’s menu.

“Unfortunately, CO on King Street will not offer sushi,” publicist Jonah Jeter says. “However Greg isn’t ruling out the idea of opening a CO Sushi in the Charleston area.”

The Myrtle Beach restaurant, CO Sushi, is scheduled to open in early 2014, two years after CO debuted downtown. CO’s current executive chef — Tarquino Vintimilla, a veteran of Vegas sushi bars — will transfer to CO Sushi to serve as its executive chef. Continue reading

Sunrise Bistro Takes Over Tiny Cafe on Spring Street

sunriseA four-year old Johns Island restaurant is picking up where Austin’s Food & Drink left off, returning breakfast and lunch to the pint-sized nook at 116 Spring St.

“I don’t think she had the concept of what people wanted,” Sunrise Bistro co-owner Jessica Welenteichick says of the café which this fall failed after a few short months. Welenteichick and her partners acquired the 14-seat restaurant in a turnkey deal, with plans to open Sunrise Bistro Express by early 2014.

“That lady, she was like an interior decorator wanting to go into restaurants,” Welenteichick continues. “We’ve built ourselves a reputation.” Continue reading