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

Geoff Rhyne Leaving The Ordinary for Leon’s; Mike Lata to Step In UPDATED


Larry Hoffman

Geoff Rhyne, who’s served as The Ordinary’s chef de cuisine since the seafood hall’s opening, is leaving the restaurant to become sous chef of Leon’s Oyster Shop.

The eagerly-awaited restaurant from tonic man (and former FIG general manager) Brooks Reitz and Tim Mink is scheduled to open later this month. Although the pair hasn’t yet released a menu, Reitz has previously hinted raw oysters, fried chicken and fried fish would form the core of the offerings.

“I worked closely with Geoff opening The Ordinary, and was consistently wowed with his creativity, leadership and team building abilities,” Reitz says. “When the opportunity to work together again arose, I considered myself very lucky, and was honored to have him be a part of our team.”

Ari Kolender, another alum of The Ordinary, will serve as head chef. Kolender was chef de cuisine at Los Angeles’ Red Medicine before returning to his hometown of Charleston. Continue reading

Fleet Landing Celebrates SEWE With 10-Buck Oyster Buckets

Just because you don’t need a rod or gun to collect shellfish doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy bivalves during the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition: Fleet Landing is serving up oysters by the bucket.

The restaurant at 186 Concord St. is offering $10 pails for lunch today, tomorrow and Sunday; the deal’s available until supplies run out. For more information, call 722-8100.

Free Oyster Roast at 82 Queen

The oysters are free this Friday at 82 Queen.

To commemorate 32 years in business, the restaurant is hosting a complimentary oyster roast in its courtyard, starting at 6 p.m. “When we opened in 1982 it never crossed my mind that I would be here 32 years later,” owner Steve Kish is quoted as saying in a release.

For more information, visit

Fleet Landing Plans Oyster Roast

Fleet Landing has been serving seafood for a decade, but downtown’s lone waterfront restaurant has never before staged an oyster roast.

That changes on Feb. 23, when Fleet Landing will be serving up local oysters by the $10-bucket. The no-cover event, which runs from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., will also feature beer trucks, live music and cornhole.

The restaurant will remain open during the party. For more information, call 722-8100.

Guerilla Cuisine Returns With Dinner Featuring Sylvain Chef

cakesSo-called “underground dinners” may no longer be novel – or especially mysterious – but a highly-regarded New Orleans chef heading here for a one-night residency remains a fan of the format.

“Different ways to convey food are part of the food culture of a city,” says Sylvain’s chef Alex Harrell, scheduled to star in Guerilla Cuisine’s first supper of 2014. “A lot of people are a little bit put off by these things, but I welcome them. It gives chefs an opportunity to experiment with food they might not be able to experiment with in a restaurant kitchen.”

Guerilla Cuisine, a roving supper club, has hosted sporadic local events since its launch seven years ago. The concept took a brief hiatus this year while founder Jimihatt served as interim chef at Camden’s Duck Bottom Plantation, but spokeswoman Angel Powell says “2014 will bring a limited season of Guerrilla Cuisine dinners, a few featuring local chefs, but mainly talent from out of town.” Continue reading

Charleston Museum Oyster Roast Tickets Now on Sale

The standard anniversary gift chart doesn’t extend past 60 years (maybe you just keep getting diamonds once you reach that milestone), but the Charleston Museum believes oysters are the proper way to mark a 241st.

In honor of its birthday, the museum is hosting its annual oyster roast on Sunday, Jan. 12 at its wildlife sanctuary on James Island. The event at Dill Sanctuary runs from 2 p.m.-5 p.m., and will feature live bluegrass music and curator-led history walks. The menu includes Ben Moise’s oysters, chili and an open bar.

Tickets are $50 for non-members, or $35 for members. “Early registration is strongly encouraged as this event sells out each year,” spokeswoman Rachel Chesser warns. To purchase, call (843) 722-2996 x235 or click here.

Grab Your Knife: The Latest, Greatest Oyster Roast Benefit Calendar

And off we go with the oyster roasts! Coming up next:

(Roasts are all-you-can-eat and don’t include drinks, unless otherwise noted.)


WHAT: SC Aquarium Sustainable Lowcountry Oyster Roast

WHERE: Mingo Point, 876 Kiawah Island Parkway, Kiawah Island

WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 12, 4 -7 p.m.

WHY: Ten percent of the proceeds will go to the South Carolina Aquarium.

WORTH KNOWING: The menu includes yellow fin tuna crudo; hickory-grilled Picanha steak; local white shrimp and swordfish; All of the dishes are paired with Palmetto Brewing ales. Reservations are required.

COST: $65

MORE INFO:  768-2790 Continue reading

Pearlz West Ashley Announces Season’s First Oyster Roast

West Ashley’s Pearlz Oyster Bar, which annually strives to get a jump on the local pack of oyster roast hosts, has made good on its reputation by scheduling the season’s first public bivalve bonanza.

On Sunday, Oct. 6, Pearlz will serve all-you-can-eat oysters on its patio from 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Admission to the roast is $12; mimosas and vodka drinks are priced at $3.

Pearlz, located at 9 Magnolia Road, offers oyster roasts throughout the season. For more information, call 573-2277.