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A LA CARTE

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ENOUGH VINO TO GO AROUND
Social, a new wine bar, is moving into the former site of the Charleston Chops steakhouse on East Bay Street. Social is the venture of Brad Ball, whose parents, Bobbie and Chuck Ball, own Poogan's Porch. The space will house a wine cellar that holds 3,000 to 4,000 bottles, including about 500 labels, with more than 50 varieties available by the glass. The menu will also feature wine flights, which are three or four wines grouped by grape varietal or region. The main entrees will be artisan-style pizzas cooked in a wood-burning oven. Ball predicts the homemade mozzarella will be a big hit, with fresh ingredients made in-house. Ball is a graduate of the College of Charleston and the French Culinary Institute in New York. With the invaluable skills Ball gained from Poogan's Porch and his other restaurant jobs, Social is sure to be the hightlight of the "social" scene this year. The new restaurant is set to open sometime this fall. —Laura Kelly

HOMINY PROMOTES HARMONY
Hominy Grill received an award for its humble support of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. Jim Ledbetter, executive director of the American Red Cross, Carolina Lowcountry Chapter, presented Hominy manager Greg Fletcher, with a plaque commemorating the donation. Hominy Grill was one of many establishments that participated in the Red Cross's campaign to "Bridge the Gulf to Feed Our Friends." Ciaran Duffy, executive chef at Tristan, encouraged over 100 local restaurant owners to participate. On Sept. 10, 2005, 10 percent of all proceeds for the night from each restaurant went to the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. The night ended with a bang and over $67,000 was raised for charity. —LK

YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND IN PHO
Tom Pham, owner of Kim Long in North Charleston, is opening a new Vietnamese restaurant in Mt. Pleasant called Pho Bac, which offers authentic Vietnamese pho (which is Vietnamese noodle soup, for all us laymen), with ingredients added at the table like beef, chicken breast, green onions, and coriander leaves. Other ingredients, like mint and chile, are also laid out so customers can adjust the soup's flavor. If you'd like to try this unique cuisine, Chef Pham will be hosting a "Taste of Pho Bac" event on Thurs. Aug. 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the new location, at 1035 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. Diners can sample small portions of various menu items for $10. You can also get your pho to go; for more info, call 849-6752. —LK

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