Monday, September 10, 2018

Why these three Charleston restaurants plan to stay open during Hurricane Flo

"We got fish to sell and beer to drink"

Posted by Mary Scott Hardaway on Mon, Sep 10, 2018 at 6:48 PM

Party don't stop at Lowlife - RUTA SMITH
  • Ruta Smith
  • Party don't stop at Lowlife
With evacuations starting Tues. Sept. 11 at noon as the area's customary fall storm approaches, Charleston restaurant owners are faced an increasingly-frequent choice — do I stay open and get the stragglers/locals/weather-be-damned crowds? Or do I close and risk losing thousands of dollars worth of business?
We asked around, and it turns out that, as you'd expect, it's a little different for everyone. Three restaurants we polled are determined to stay open as long as they can, and we'll keep you updated as we learn more from the F&B community about who will welcome the Flo-ridas:

For Folly Beach folks, if you plan on hunkering down on the island, there's a watering hole that is going to do "everything possible to stay open as much as we can." Lowlife co-owner T.J. Lynch says they have a "generator ready to go and plenty of great things to drink and eat ... Lowlife Bar is on a high point in Folly Beach and we are made out of concrete with 150 mph hurricane rated doors and windows, so game on!"

Location Details Lowlife
106 E Hudson Ave.
Folly Beach, SC
Bar and American

If you plan on riding out Flo put can't imagine doing so without some wine, cheese, and good company, head to Wine & Co. on Meeting Street. Owner Joshua Walker says: "My wife and I live downtown and do not leave for these storms, so we have been open for the hurricanes and even snow days in the past. I can walk to the shop (in the bottom of the Elan Midtown that is well suited for these storms with hurricane windows and excess power generators). We may be light on staff (we obviously do not require any employees to come in if they feel unsafe in the slightest) but we will be there with smiles for our community."

Walker urges, though, that "We do not encourage people to stay or be unsafe in any way. Being responsible is the most important decision and we beg our customers to use good decision making."
Location Details Wine & Company
441 Meeting Street
Charleston, SC
For North Chuck denizens, Adam Randall of CODFather says he has fish and chips hot and ready for anyone who can make it to his Spruill Avenue shop. Randall, on deciding to stay open: "It’s not that I think it’s a good or bad idea to stay open or close, it’s more of the fact that being a small independent business, not financed by deep pocket backers, I have to make money, even if I only scrape a few dollars together that week, I still got bills that need paying."

Randall adds that the other reason he stays open is he has perishables, and if he loses power it all has to be thrown out once the coolers rise above DHEC mandated temps. "I'd rather sell it or give it away than throw it in the garbage," says Randall. "Last time we did discounted meals for first responders on duty during the storm as they are probably working long hours away from home. We will offer the same again this time ... I stayed open for the last one out of the same reasons and we did ok. People still like to eat and they still like to get out and about." Like Walker, Randall says he doesn't ask his staff to work, and last hurricane "I opened alone. They [the staff] are free to evacuate and evaluate their own safety and well-being without me trying to make demands on them. There are no repercussions on my staff by not showing for scheduled shifts during an emergency such as this."

Randall closes with, "We got fish to sell and beer to drink, if you’re in town and need to get out and can do so safely we will be open."

Keep up to date with all three restaurants via their social media pages, and check back here to find updates on other restaurant openings and closings.
Location Details The Codfather
The Codfather
4254 Spruill Ave.
North Charleston, SC
Lunch + Dinner, Weds.-Sat.
English + Irish and Seafood

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The pros at Edmund's Oast have a few tips and tricks for out-drinking Hurricane Flo

Courtesy of Edmund's Oast's professional drinkers

Posted by Connelly Hardaway on Mon, Sep 10, 2018 at 12:59 PM

If there are any folks in Charleston who know how to prepare for an emergency drinking situation, it's the beverage directors over at Edmund's Oast. We asked Jayce McConnell and Brandon Plyler (who are also the guys behind new podcast, Pocket Liquor), and Sarah O'Kelley for their hot tips on staying cool in the eye of the storm. Here's what they had to say:

Jayce McConnell, Edmund's Oast

You should have already designated a cooler for ice and booze if you're thinking about riding out the storm sub-sober. Now, most people are expecting me to fill it chock full with cheap domestic beer that's crushable and light, and yes, you should probably grab a 12-pack or whatever that is for you, but I advise you to get your absolute favorite beer or sparkling wine and get it on ice. It could be a rough couple of days if the power goes out, and some sense of luxury and comfort could go a long way. I'm grabbing some Duvel and at least one bottle of Raventos sparkling rosé if I can find it.

Beer and wine alone probably won't cut it, so I'm going to also recommend a bottle of Gosling's Black Seal rum and a bottle of bonded bourbon or rye. Grab a few cans of ginger beer and some limes, because while it may seem cliché or topical, Dark 'n Stormy cocktails are super easy, refreshing, and you can make them 'tropical depression' strength all the way up to Category 5 if you want to. Gosling's + lime + ginger beer = easy, boozy respite. That bottle of whiskey will be there for you at night when it's nothing but candles and flashlights. Don't forget to hydrate!

Brandon Plyler, Edmund's Oast Exchange

I agree with Jayce about the luxury thing. Grab a great bottle of Champagne. I'm into Billecart Salmon and Calsac. Drink something that will not only make you happy but make that memory a pleasant one. For booze, something in the Amaro world is a nice sipper and can settle down an anxious stomach. If you want a more powerful Amaro go for Fernet. If you want something softer and more citrus based grab a bottle of Montenegro.

Beer-wise I'm always a sucker for Belgian beers. Go with some stronger Trappist offerings, like Westmalle Tripel or Chimay Blue label. These beers are totally OK on the warmer side and serve well as easy sippers when you have some time on your hands. This is also a good time to grab that bottle in the back of the fridge that you've been holding onto because it's "too cool to drink tonight." Go ahead and open that barrel-aged what-not you've been saving for no particular reason. Drink water and get some rest!

Sarah O'Kelley, Edmund's Oast Exchange
I would say that the name of the game during stressful times i.e. hurricanes is to stock up on whatever comforts you most! For me this means a slight detour from my usual wine picks as I usually drink a lot of old world wine. But when my anxiety level goes up I want the warm, fuzzy feeling brought about by new world favorites — like Oregon and Cali Pinot Noir. I am thinking of producers like Teutonic in Oregon and Lioco in northern Cali. These will pair well with whatever I pull out of the freezer to cook before the power goes out.

Of course, if you are the type to throw caution to the wind (bad pun) and throw a hurricane party then I would definitely grab some of the high quality boxed wine we stock at Edmund's Oast Exchange like From the Tank Rosé, Schplink Gruner Veltliner, and Herisson Gamay.

And for everyone I would recommend grabbing at least one bottle of bubbly Champagne so we can all celebrate getting through this damn thing. Personally, I will be taking home a bottle of Laherte Rosé, which is so yummy it should bring a smile to my face even if I am mopping water out of my downstairs for the third year in a row.

Be sure to check out our ongoing coverage of Hurricane Florence prep to stay safe while swilling.

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Basic Kitchen brings on NYC's Fat Radish team to oversee day-to-day operations

Simply radishing

Posted by Mary Scott Hardaway on Mon, Sep 10, 2018 at 12:46 PM

Chef Nick Wilber - FILE
  • File
  • Chef Nick Wilber
This February, Basic Kitchen hosted NYC restaurant The Fat Radish (Basic Kitchen co-owner Ben Towill opened the spot in 2010, but had since left the restaurant) for a Friday night bar takeover and a Saturday evening four-course dinner crafted by executive chef Nick Wilber. At the time, Towill said of the pop-up event: "When we opened The Fat Radish 9 years ago, one of the most exciting things we did were pop-up events. We did them all over the world — in Paris, Rio, Tel Aviv, to name a few. And while I am no longer a part of the restaurant, we are definitely still great friends and I love what they are doing."

Such great friends, in fact, that Basic Kitchen decided to permanently collaborate with the Fat Radish team — Nick Wilber now serves as executive chef with Natalie Freihon taking on daily operations alongside current GM Kellie Holmes.

Towill had been serving as executive chef since April, when chef Air Casebier announced she would be stepping away from the project for personal reasons. Now, with a solid team in place, the restaurant is gearing up to "overhaul and expand the dinner menu, drawing on Wilber's expertise in working with seasonal, local ingredients."

Basic Kitchen's current dinner menu features items like their popular bowls and salads, along with chicken, lamb, and wreckfish entrees. No word yet on what the Fat Radish team will bring to the dinner tables, but Wilber's February pop-up gave us a taste. Courses included dishes like radishes with olive tapenade, bitter greens with caramelized sherry vinaigrette, beet cured local fish crudo, roasted lamb saddle, celery root pot pie, and butternut squash and apple eton mess.

In a press release Friehon says, "When my team came to Charleston earlier this year to produce The Fat Radish pop-up, we fell in love with the energy of Charleston. I had been interested in expanding to the South for a while, and this solidified it...Basic Kitchen is a perfect fit for us because of Ben and Kate's fun narrative and their relationship to The Fat Radish; as well as the fact that the ethos we all share is inline...Our goal is for Basic Kitchen to be a restaurant that really fits into one's lifestyle — a restaurant one can visit a few times a week and feel nourished and cared for while enjoying delicious food, wine, and cocktails all with a focus on sustainability."

Towill says in the release, "One of the primary goals of Basic Projects has always been to find and collaborate with the absolute best partners, those that are experts in their respective fields...I am extremely passionate about the concept of Basic Kitchen and am confident that this team is the absolute perfect group to further execute it." 

The Towills will continue to offer creative input "in order to keep it in line with their original concept of a beautiful space that offers honest food that's good for you, and that gives you energy to pursue the things you love."
Location Details Basic Kitchen
Basic Kitchen
82 Wentworth St.
Charleston, SC
(843) 789-4568
L, D, (Mon.-Sat.) Sun. brunch

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Destiny Community Cafe hosts pop up dinner and Wellness Expo this month

Two ways to support the pay-what-you can restaurant

Posted by Jack Kramer on Mon, Sep 10, 2018 at 11:02 AM

Destiny Cafe owner Ragina Saunders - RUTA SMITH
  • Ruta Smith
  • Destiny Cafe owner Ragina Saunders

Ragina Saunders opened Dorchester Road pay-what-you-can Destiny Community Cafe in 2015 when she realized there was a need for affordable/free food in North Charleston. The cafe serves buffet-style lunch Mon.-Fri. to at least 50 people a day, utilizing fresh ingredients prepared by volunteers, up-and-coming chefs, and occasionally guest chefs. But serving healthy meals to customers who sometimes can only donate a few dollars, or their time, is not easy to sustain.

Help the cafe raise money for food and building costs at a special pop-up dinner Sun. Sept. 16.

Chef Raul Sanchez (Maya del Sol, R Kitchen) will cook up a four course meal (with food donated by R Kitchen owner Ross Webb) for $45 with two choices of apps, three entrees, and two dessert options. Diners will be able to choose shrimp ceviche or chorizo stuffed jalapenos for the first course; chicken in mole sauce, a carnitas platter, or ninos envueltos (Mexican pigs in a blanket) for the second course; and guava cheese cake or tres leches cake for dessert.

The cafe will also host a Health & Wellness Expo on Wed. Sept. 29 starting at 9 a.m. They're still looking for vendors:

Sign up as a vendor for $25 and give a five-minute speech about your business for $75. 

On the event's Facebook page, co-coordinator of the event Raine Mertz says they are looking for vendors who "offer clients and patients natural health options that help maintain a healthy lifestyle." This can range from massage therapy to naturopathy healing. 

Guest tickets are $7 and each attendee will receive a $5 voucher to spend with any vendor they choose. Proceeds from the event support the pay what you can program at Destiny. 

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