by Taylor Weil
Picture this: it’s mid-may, 80 degrees and sunny, and you’re headed out to Sullivan’s Island in the morning to beat the beach traffic. Your stomach grumbles, it’s saying “feed me tacos,” and you know just the place to go — to the walk-up window at your new favorite all-American taqueria. Ahh...
What we’re daydreaming about is the up-and-coming Scratch Restaurant, opening in place of the old Abe’s Oyster House in Mt. Pleasant.
New-to-town co-owners Zach Bedell and chef Mat Jones have degrees from Berklee College of Music, but they say they know how to make a fresh tortilla. “Our concept really started with tacos and craft beer,” says Bedell, “specifically tacos with in-house, freshly made tortillas.”
But Bedell insists this isn’t a Mexican place, in fact it has no ethnic theme at all. There will be a fully equipped beer garden bar with 20 rotating beers on tap, a kitchen that’s fully visible from the dining room, and an outdoor patio for those glorious sun-soaked afternoons.
Their fondness for tacos sprung from their year and a half stint in Austin, TX. There, they were introduced to the wonderful - surprisingly unlimited - world of tacos. “We see tacos as something more than just a Mexican classic that's fun to eat. We see it as a platform for culinary creativity. Without letting trade secrets slip, I can say that the days of limiting tortilla choices to flour or corn are over. What we're doing with tortillas is going to blow people's minds.” (Don’t tell anyone, but we’ve heard rumors of blueberry, sweet potato, and indian spice tortilla creations).
And for those of you who value keeping it local, Bedell and Jones share the same ideal. “We’re sourcing locally and making everything from — you guessed it — scratch.” From the coffee brewing in the pot to the ingredients used to craft the “New American” menu, everything will be Charleston-grown. “It’s all simple, traceable, straightforward food that makes everyone comfortable, but in a new taco-esque form.” We don’t know what taqo-esque means, but we can’t wait to find out.
And if you’re not in the taco-mood, Scratch will have you covered with a selection of soups, salads, and platters of brisket, pork, and pasture-raised chicken and eggs. The “new American” menu idea refers to the move “back to old-school quality without all the frills. Classics, done right.” Their food isn’t necessarily inspired by American or Mexican cuisine, rather food “created under the same philosophy of deconstructing and getting back to basics.”
They’ve enlisted the help of award-winning architect, David Thompson, whose work can be seen at the Ordinary, the Grocery, and Butcher & Bee, just to name a few. With big plans for interior renovations, you can expect the space to be casual but classy. Bedell hopes to create an atmosphere where customers will be comfortable hanging out with friends at the bar, “then be caught off guard by how good these tacos are.”
In addition to sit-down dining, the walk-up window will hand over breakfast tacos to early risers. On Saturdays and Sundays, the weekend brunch menu will have bloody mary’s and mimosa specials. Prices range will be in the moderate range, but Bedell assures us that “the quality will be worth the few extra bucks,” and we have to say, we don’t doubt it.
Scratch has a tentative mid-spring opening date in mind, and Bedell assures us they’ll be open “just in time to offer beach goers on the way to Sullivan’s Island and easy breakfast or lunch solution.” We’ve already started counting down the days.