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Meritage, Baked, Ray's BBQ, Mimi's, Fish, Gilligan's

A La Carte

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MERITÄGE OPEN FOR BUSINESS
I sincerely regret to say that an error made it into print in last week's City Paper. We reported that Meritäge had closed, but Meritäge is indeed open for business and still packing them in, serving drink specials and tapas into the late night. We apologize for the error, and hope you'll run down there immediately and buy some drinks and eat some tapas. —Stephanie Barna

GET BAKED — LEGALLY
A new specialty bakery and coffee shop opened at 160 East Bay St. in the old O'Hara & Flynn spot last weekend. Baked Charleston is the second location for Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, who also have a Baked in Brooklyn, N.Y. and a new cookbook by the same name out too. Lewis says they've completely redone the space, eschewing the traditional coffee shop shabby chic (ie. slouchy couches) for a more modern approach. They've got free wifi, of course, and he promises the best coffee drinks in Charleston. "We're serving Stumptown Coffee from Portland — honestly the best coffee in the country," says Lewis. "We make everything here daily, a full range of breakfast — scones, quiche, loaves, and then we move into afternoon fare with cupcakes and cookies." Lewis plans to be in town about once a month or so to check in on the operation, but knows that it's in good hands. His father Larry Lewis, proprietor of the before-its-time 11 Center Street on Folly Beach, will be managing the store, and Chef Patrick Panella has moved down from Brooklyn to oversee the kitchen. For starters, they'll be open weekdays from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. and from 8 a.m.-11 p.m. on weekends. Hours are subject to change based on traffic patterns. Check it out. They have cake flights! —Stephanie Barna

SAY IT AIN'T SO, RAY!
Last week, word came into the office that Ray's BBQ at 440 W. Coleman Boulevard (near Shem Creek) had officially closed down. A small group of City Paper staffers had eaten a huge feast of a lunch there just days before, and there were no signs of trouble to be found. Furniture expert-turned restaurateur Ray Waldrup opened the business in March. On Wed. Nov. 12, a sheet of paper taped to the front door said, "Out of business. Due to the declining economy, I've been forced to close. Thanks to all my loyal customers and the new friends I have made. My e-mail is raysbbq@gmail.com if you need to reach me." What a shame. The place was consistently friendly and delicious. Good luck to Ray and all. —T. Ballard Lesemann

MIMI'S GETS BOUGHT BY CREW CAROLINA
The rumor mill had been churning for weeks that Mimi's Cafe had finally been sold. Last week, the news became official when Crew Carolina announced that it had negotiated a deal for the prime marshside restaurant, which had been on the market for months. Mimi's will close Dec. 28, and the Boathouse, after renovations, will open its third location on Harborview Road with a bit lower price point. The restaurant will be called Boathouse on Ellis Creek. All we James Islanders can say is, we can't wait. —Stephanie Barna

FISH FOR FUN
Fish renovated its space a couple months back and has also been reinventing its concept along the way. The menu has been retooled to reflect a more value-conscious option (see our review from Oct. 15 online) and they are eager to become a regular destination for the neighborhood and not just a special occasion restaurant. "We're more involved with our Upper King neighbors than ever," says marketing manager Jenny Badman. "We're going to be hosting a Design Conversations gig with Charleston Civic Design Center. Just really focusing on being a community center." They have live music from Elise Testone on Thursdays and DJ JAZ spinning on Fridays. They've also brought back the Mercy of the Chef night on Mondays, which gets you three delicious courses of Chef Nico Romo's choosing for only $25. For $5 more, you can get wine with each course. Stop by and see what's happening. —Stephanie Barna

GILLIGAN'S ON THE MARKET
The eighth Gilligan's Steamer and Raw Bar is taking over the old Cordavi and 16 Market space on Market Street. And it's going to be huge. So big, in fact, that they had a job fair last week to fill the 65 positions needed to run the restaurant. The main dining room will be inside the old 16 Market space and will cater to a family-friendly crowd. Next door, the more upscale bar space will be open a bit later and will serve wine and martinis. The best part's got to be the open back patio, where Gilligan's will be hosting oyster roasts. Keep an eye out for their grand opening. —Alison Sher

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