Puree Cafe to Close This Weekend

photo (66)Puree Cafe, the Mt. Pleasant vegetarian restaurant which last month launched a last-ditch effort to attract more customers, is closing on Saturday.

“Puree will be closing indefinitely at the end of this month,” owner Jenan McClain wrote on the restaurant’s Facebook page. “We are in talks with multiple angel investors and we’re hoping to continue or re-open. We started on one family’s budget, which has proven to not be enough.”

Although Puree was popular with diners who appreciated McClain’s commitment to using only organic ingredients, many customers couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t serve Coke.

“A lot of people in the South don’t even know what a GMO is, so it’s been a real educational process,” she said last month. Explaining her decision to enhance dinner service with a dedicated menu and organic cocktails, she added, “We’re not in danger of going out of business, but it’s got to get profitable at some point.”

Continue reading

Puree Cafe Isn’t Luring Customers With Organic Food; Adds Dinner

blk-burger-prof-300x200In a bid to improve its bottom line, which has been held down by the high costs of organic food, Mt. Pleasant’s Puree Café is launching a full-fledged dinner menu later this month.

“We’re not in danger of going out of business, but it’s got to get profitable at some point,” Jenan McClain says of the vegetarian restaurant she and her husband launched last year.

According to McClain, the restaurant’s commitment to using only organic ingredients hasn’t resonated with local eaters, who tend to group Puree with the spate of other new Mt. Pleasant restaurants emphasizing freshness, such as Southerly and Scratch Taco.

“A lot of people in the South don’t even know what a GMO is, so it’s been a real educational process,” McClain says. Continue reading

Southern Season Hosts Advocate of Attractive Vegetarian Dishes

Eat-Your-Vegetables-Joe-Yonan-CoverBecause restaurant review dinners tend to include their share of pork products, and because I’m taken with what area growers harvest in early fall, I’m in the habit of ordering vegetables at lunch.

Commendably, most Charleston restaurants list at least one all-veg plate on their midday menus, no counting the DIY assemblage of sides that’s typically available. But I’ve frequently found myself wishing that the plates amounted to more than meatless heaps. Even when restaurant vegetables taste great, they don’t look very pretty.

I put the problem to my friend Joe Yonan, who’s in town today promoting his new book Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook. I’m admittedly biased, but the book’s been a hit with my vegetarian roommate and her usually-carnivorous boyfriend. (I gave her the book as a peace offering soon after we met, suspecting she assumed someone who worked as a food critic would harshly judge her dietary choices.)

Yonan agrees that even chefs who’ve come around to the idea that dishes without animal flesh can be imaginative, compelling and nutritious often fail to appreciate the visual opportunities presented by produce. Continue reading