Boulevard Diner Comes to James Island!
This has to be some of the most exciting news for James and Johns Island residents since the Fat Hen landed. Sal Parco has plans to bring Boulevard Diner to us. He recently inked the deal to purchase the old Locklear's location on Maybank Highway into which Mustard Seed will quickly move. Then, he'll take that opportunity to redo the old Mustard Seed, improving the kitchen, making the dining room more diner-like, and ultimately giving nearby residents what they've been clamoring for — a Boulevard Diner in their part of town. Andrea Sherman is in charge of reading Boulevard Diner comment cards and says requests for a diner on James Island had become a running joke between her and Sal. I'm just glad someone reads those cards and takes their suggestions seriously. The timeline is still up in the air, but you can expect to see the new Mustard Seed open fairly soon, with the diner following in a couple months. We'll keep you posted. In other Parco news, the company is set to open a corporate office in Mt. Pleasant, launch a new website (www.dinewithsal.com), and offer health benefits to its employees. —Stephanie Barna
'Berger on the Grille?
King Street Grille recently opened the doors of its third location in five years on Kiawah Island, and it is expected to be their busiest yet. According to Scott Keir, one of the owners, this location was especially exciting because rather than retrofitting an existing space, for the first time they've built from scratch. The result is a restaurant similar in seating capacity to downtown, but with a back patio complete with TVs facing out, so patrons can enjoy the weather and never miss a moment of sports action. King Street Grille also enjoys the kind of sports bar credibility money can't buy. Pittsburgh Steelers' Super Bowl-winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has recently been seen hanging around at the downtown Grille, and when asked about rumors regarding business ties between them and Roethlisberger, Scott was coy. "Ben is a longtime friend," he says. Though he refuses to elaborate, Scott hints that future appearances by Big Ben are likely. —Josh Eboch
It's the almost universal wine-buying dilemma: you get a bottle, love it, and then completely forget what it was. Fortunately, help has arrived (and in a big way). On Monday, Desmond and Betsy Garrity opened their retail wine store, Crushed, in the unique live-work neighborhood of Mt. Pleasant's Shelmore Village. At their shop, the Garritys sell wine in a way it has yet to be sold in Charleston. Wanting "people to experiment and try new and different things," Desmond, a sommelier with 15 years of experience in the biz, has created a place perfectly conducive to this: wines are organized by style and character (as opposed to region or varietal) and there is a computer system that logs everything you buy. Now, it will be easy to find and actually remember wine you like! It looks like Crushed will leave you anything but. —Meaghan Strickland
Smokin' Ray's BBQ Opens
Furniture expert-turned-restaurateur Ray Waldrup is open for business in Mt. Pleasant. While the yellow Ray's BBQ sign has been standing in front of the newly-renovated building for a few months, a crop of white "Now Open" signs finally popped up along the sidewalk last week. Located in the old machine shop that previously housed Li'L Mama's Red Pepper Squirrel and SoCal Burrito (440 W. Coleman Blvd., near Shem Creek), Ray's BBQ specializes in hickory-smoked pork and chicken, with an emphasis on Carolina-style sauces (mustard-based and vinegar-based sauces) and additional hints of Gulf Coast flavors, such as a homemade Louisiana-style hot barbecue sauce, south Georgia-style Brunswick stew, and a gouda-smoked chicken and rice jambalaya listed as "BBQ Bog."
Waldrup says the pork is chopped on the line. "We don't pull it or soak it in sauce beforehand, so it's very fresh and flavorful. The pink smoke ring might throw some customers off as looking rare-cooked, but we're glad to explain our smoking process to them." Ray's is open for lunch and dinner. Call (843) 216-5373 for more information. —T. Ballard Lesemann
Sommelier Showdown: Rubel Wins
Befitting his title as Best Sommelier in Charleston (as deemed by CP readers and agreed upon by his colleagues), Rick Rubel of Charleston Grill won a recent blind tasting competition presided over by the esteemed Master Sommelier Bob Bath. John Julius of Red Drum Gastropub tells us that the low-key event took place during the Food + Wine Festival and required competitors to judge five wines and identify them by grape, place of origin, and flavor profile. Second place split in a tie between Charleston Grill's Sara Kavanaugh and Social's Brad Ball. Other top tasters included Jason Freeman and Emily Bane of Ben Arnold Beverage Co. and Matt Maksimowitz of Carolina Wine Source. —Stephanie Barna