After seven years at Anson, Chef Kevin Johnson has moved on to a newly-created position as head chef at Revolutionary Eating Ventures (REV), which operates Taco Boy, Monza, Poe's Tavern, and Closed for Business. Johnson sees REV as filling the good-food-at-reasonable-costs kind of niche and hopes he can bring his extensive fine dining experience to bear.
Johnson is mostly stationed at Monza and is overseeing and tweaking all the menus. His biggest task has been opening Closed for Business, REV's newest concept, which replaced Raval at 453 King St. and opened a few weeks back.
Closed for Business is going for the American gastropub concept, and Johnson's menu is populated with classics like pork rinds, potato skins, Chicago hotdogs, and burgers. It also has some upscale choices like seafood stew in saffron broth, sirloin steak salad, daily beer mussels, and a pork slap sandwich featuring Allan Benton's ham on top of a fried pork cutlet.
The beer menu is unique in this town with the choice of 10-oz glasses, 16-oz pints, a 1-liter mug (think Oktoberfest stein), and even a 2-liter beer boot (we'll have to see that one for ourselves). The brews range from the well-documented PBR pint for $3.50 (how often do you drink a pint of PBR, anyway?) to a wide selection of small-batch Chimays, pale ales, IPAs, ambers — 20 drafts on tap in all. They also have a selection of single malt scotches and aged Pappy Van Winkle bourbons.
Johnson wants the menu and beer list to evolve naturally as the clientele grows. Ultimately, the goal for the new restaurant is to offer classic American favorites prepared with fresh and local products. Another of Johnson's tasks is to expand REV's commitment to local food purveyors and sustainable restaurant practices.
Anson has found a worthy replacement for Johnson, bringing home Chef Jeremy Holst, a Charleston native who once helmed the AAA four-diamond rated Six Tables in Mt. Pleasant before moving to take a position at Troutdale, a farm-to-table restaurant in Bristol, Tenn.
Holst, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, says he couldn't pass up the opportunity at Anson, where he plans to make some slight changes to the menu. What he won't change is Anson's commitment to providing fresh and local ingredients, which dates all the way back to Mike Lata's tenure at the classic Charleston restaurant located in the Market.