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So the deal is done. John Marshall, chef/proprietor of West Ashley's darling Al di La, has sold his restaurant to longtime employee Mark Kohn, a.k.a. Flaco, and gone and bought a farm in North Carolina where he will cultivate 55 acres and create a sustainable restaurant with green overnight accommodations. "A working man's Blackberry Farms," he says. The Stonesoup Farm will have a six-seat restaurant and a distinctively Marshallian vibe — laid-back, simple, and old world. According to Kohn, the deal's been in the works for awhile. The young Italophile has been with Marshall for five years, accompanying him on a trip to Venice to do research on wine bars, before Al di La expanded into its bacaro, which Kohn has been managing for the last two years. Essentially, not much will change. "It's not broken, so there's no reason to try and fix it." The kitchen staff remains intact, and Kohn pinky-promises that he won't touch either the gnocchi with shrimp or the asparagus risotto, two of our all-time favorites. The biggest change? "Now we take American Express," Kohn jokes. No word on whether Stonesoup honors Amex, but they'll probably be ready to start taking reservations in the summer of 2008. —Stephanie Barna


Did you know there's a new pizza joint in the Market? Well, neither did we, until we stumbled across Pizzeria di Giovanni in the Rainbow Market where they're tossing out big, New York-style pies for $13 a pop. Giovanni Radeglia, a New Jersey native who's been in Charleston for 15 years, says he focuses on quality and freshness. "The dough is made the day before, like it's supposed to be," he says, before boasting about the authentic Sicilian espresso and the yummy cannolis on the menu. The deals seem rampant at this joint, with cheese slices going for $2 and a breakfast plate for $5 that includes double eggs with sausage, bacon, or ham on a bagel or croissant with coffee or juice for $5 every day except for Mondays. The tour guides down there must be loving this place. They're also open until midnight, so if you're out and about, you ought to stop by for a slice. They're tucked away at 40 N. Market St., inside the little Rainbow Market near Wild Wing. —Stephanie Barna


The Kopaja Trio announced it would be playing its last gig at Cordavi last Wednesday, but the rumor mill had already been churning with talk about when Cordavi would be closing for good. The owners could not be reached for comment. We'll keep you posted. —Stephanie Barna


The 2008 Food + Wine Fest is already gearing up for a big 2008, and its foodie club, Bon Vivants, has some events planned this month. On Nov. 12, Fat Hen will put on a "Not Your Grandmother's Thanksgiving Feast" — a three-course dinner with paired wines and a champagne toast ($35/members, $50/nonmembers), and on Nov. 29, the fest will unveil its poster at a big party at the Art Institute of Charleston. Visit the festival's website at and reserve tickets for your favorite dinners and parties — according to their latest newsletter, stuff is already selling out. —Stephanie Barna

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