As I've written before
, it's easy, once you've landed, to never leave Johns Island. Grocery stores, liquor stores, breweries, pizza and sushi and French and Italian. We've got it ... mostly.
Except for that in-between spot. You know, a cozy corner where you can order a glass or two of pinot, settle into a couch, and snack on a charcuterie plate in between the rush of work and the chores of home. In the past couple of years, Johns Islanders Kristin and Kayla Bennett decided that with Kayla's restaurant experience and Kristin's business acumen as a financial manager, it was about time to open their own restaurant, right down the street from their house.
"Johns Island was lacking a date night spot, other than full-on restaurants," says Kristin. "When we go out, you know, [restaurants are] nice every once and awhile, but sometimes you just want to go out to a nicer bar without leaving the island." The Woodruff (named after the couple's two-year old son) will be that nicer bar, open weeknights and longer hours on the weekend. Kayla, who worked at Gin Joint at the cocktail bar's inception and who now works at Bittermilk, says she has forged lots of great connections with local purveyors over the years.
Expect a changing menu (akin to Gin Joint's offerings in scope/variety) with cheese, charcuterie, hot food to share, and sandwiches on the weekends. Kristin says the restaurant will seat 40 inside, with around 15 outside. The new development — a boon for the couple, who says other J.I. options were too big or lacked features — is located right off of Maybank Highway at 1803 Crowne Commons Way. The planned mixed-use community sits right in front of a 282-unit apartment complex.
Kristin says the development will be similar to Freshfields Village, with a shared green space in the center of the buildings. According to Remax Commerical's listing of the project: "The first phase of this new island center will consist of approximately 35,000 sf of commercial space contained in six buildings all located on approximately ten acres that will feature abundant planned parking, green space and a park."
The Bennetts say The Woodruff should be ready by summer, aiming for a July opening. "We're ahead of schedule," Kristin notes, "so hopefully even sooner." She says the wine bar will have a "fun vibe, lounge-y, with an art deco style. Just a cool place to hang out." If the island continues to grow, we'll need a green space-adjacent patio from which to watch it all go up — the wine should help.