Restaurants Overwhelmingly Opt to Open on Thanksgiving

timstackton

timstackton

Thanksgiving is increasingly becoming just another day in the restaurant business, as the list of Greater Charleston Restaurant Association members keeping holiday hours makes clear.

Although many of them are adjusting menus and hours for Thanksgiving, 41 restaurants are planning to open. By contrast, the group’s spokeswoman was only aware of five member restaurants shutting down for the day.

“It’s just been a tradition for us to let employees have a family day,” says Steven Jones, manager of the West Ashley Crab Shack, one of the five closed restaurants. Continue reading

High Cotton Pours Free Bubbly

The spate of human birthdays in November makes scientific sense: Count back nine months, and you’ll land on Valentine’s Day.

But what explains the prevalence of local restaurant November birthdays? Is it a reflection of owners frantically trying to open their doors before the holiday season? Or a desperate effort to qualify for the year’s best new restaurant accolades? Whatever the reason, eaters are the beneficiaries: High Cotton turns 14 tomorrow, and the restaurant’s celebrating by pouring free sparkling wine. Each dinner guest will receive a complimentary glass of Dibon Cava Brut.

High Cotton opens at 5:30 p.m.

Stars Offers $25 App, Entree and Dessert on October Mondays

IMG_7278-300x200Stars is marking its first anniversary on Mondays throughout October with a $25 three-course menu.

The Upper King restaurant, known for its rooftop bar, officially opened on Oct. 5, 2012, should you choose to toast the achievement on Saturday. But the promotional menu rolls out two days later; a release says the “choices will change from week to week.”

“Patrons can expect popular selections such as Dino Kale Salad, Grill Room Steak and Smoked Chocolate S’more Pie,” the release continues.

The restaurant’s located at 495 King St. For more information on the weekly celebration, check out Stars’ blog.

Austin’s Food & Drink Calls it Quits

austins2Austin’s Food & Drink, which this summer took over the Spring Street storefront previously occupied by Black Bean Co., this weekend closed up shop.

A note taped to the front door didn’t explain the reasons behind the closure, nor did owner Debby New provide additional information on Austin’s Facebook page, but the restaurant was often eerily quiet for much of its near-daily 9 a.m.-8 p.m. schedule. Extending hours on Friday and Saturday nights, adding Sunday brunch and serving beer and wine didn’t seem to help cultivate the crowds: A staffer was at least once stationed on the sidewalk to ask passersby whether they’d tried Austin’s. Continue reading

GrowFood Carolina Celebrates Birthday With Dining Fundraiser

Charleston diners habitually spend money on local food, but an Oct. 2 fundraiser will allow them to funnel a portion of that money toward a critical link in the local food distribution chain.

To mark the second anniversary of GrowFood Carolina, nearly two dozen restaurants have pledged to donate 5 percent of their daily sales to the food hub. GrowFood Carolina collects produce from 50 farmers in a single warehouse, simplifying the logistics of buying and selling for small farms and restaurants which could easily be overwhelmed by the logistical challenges posed by the ordering process. According to GrowFood, more than 100 restaurants and four retailers now patronize the warehouse.

Restaurants participating in the charitable event are Blu Restaurant. Burwell’s, Cru Café, Glass Onion, Green Door, Hank’s Seafood, Heart Woodfire Kitchen, High Cotton, Hominy, HUSK, Langdon’s, McCrady’s, Mercato, Basico, Opal, Peninsula Grill, Republic Lounge, Slightly North of Broad, Ted’s Butcher Block, The Lot, Tristan, VERDE and Xiao Bao Biscuit. For more information, visit growfoodcarolina.com.

James Beard Foundation’s Local Dish Challenge Returns

TasteAmericaKickOff-027With a single dish order, Charleston eaters this fall can support the work of two charitable organizations.

During the annual James Beard Foundation Taste America Local Dish Challenge, which runs from Sept. 1-Oct. 31, the foundation’s education department will collect $1 for every featured dish sold at one of 11 area restaurants. Additionally, diners are being asked to Instagram the JBF dish with the hashtags #JBFTasteAmerican and #Charleston. The city which produces the most Instagram images will receive the greater of $10,000 or 10 percent of the money raised nationally.

The money’s earmarked for a cause selected by participating chefs; In Charleston, Feed the Need’s been selected as the potential recipient.

Restaurants in 35 states and the District of Columbia are joining the effort. Locally, the line-up includes Fish, O-Ku, Cypress, Fleet Landing Restaurant, Indaco, Oak Steakhouse, Poogan’s Porch, Ruka’s Table, The Grocery, The Macintosh, Tristan and Wild Olive.

For more information, visit the foundation’s website.

Three New Options for Brunch

Deck Bar

Vendue Inn

Three downtown restaurants are adding Sunday brunch to their schedules, bringing more biscuits and Bloodys to an already busy morning.

Of the newcomers, The Vendue Inn was first out of the gate with its “brunch basket” program, which premiered this past weekend. As the name implies, Vendue’s Rooftop Bar brunch is a picnicky affair, in which guests can purchase a bottle of bubbly and a basket of snacks for $40. The baskets are sized for two, and designed around a culinary theme, such as The Pacific, Paris or Tuscany: Menu items include cured salmon, Boursin cheese and dried figs. Baskets are available from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

On Sept. 1, Republic Garden & Lounge will join the brunch crowd with its “light, healthy approach,” writes spokesperson Grace Newland. Executive chef Benjamin Harris’ definition of “light” isn’t exactly egg whites and grapefruit segments, though: The menu features honey biscuits with salt butter; housemade pork belly rillettes; duck prosciutto and crème fraîche scrambled eggs. But there’s coconut water in the ReHydrator cocktail, made with cucumber vodka, St. Germain and lemon. Other quaffable options include frozen Mimosas with various floaters and a smoothie of Bols Yogurt liqueur, orange juice and gin. Brunch is served from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Finally, Warehouse is readying to roll out its brunch service on the same Sunday. Although the menu hasn’t yet been released, it’s likely the eggs and cheeses on the bar menu will be reconfigured in morning-appropriate ways. But the specials aren’t exclusively for early risers: Brunch starts at 11 a.m. and runs through 11 p.m., so night owls can have hash with their highballs.