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Where's Lucca, From Oink to Pit, Rush on F&W Tickets, Pell Takes the Helm, Wild Thing, Red Sky Rising

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WHERE's LUCCA?

We've been patient. We have. But we're ready for Ken Vedrinski's Trattoria Lucca to open already. What's that you say? It's opening on Thursday? Awesome. We can't wait to get our lips around his noodles — er, that sounded kinda naughty. What we mean is, we can't wait for the renowned chef to make his entrance on the downtown food scene. For years, he's operated outside the peninsula — making a big name for himself at the Dining Room at Woodlands in Summerville before breaking out on his own with the much-loved Sienna on Daniel Island. We have no doubt that this trattoria will fast become one of the hottest seats in town. If he can pull diners all the way out to the boonies, he'll easily pack in the crowds downtown. But maybe his location will help keep it a hidden gem for at least a little while. Lucca is located on Bogard Street, tucked behind King Street, in an area that won't be sketchy much longer. His public relations team said he'd be opening this Thursday. —Stephanie Barna

FROM OINK TO PIT

Moneyhun's Oink out on Clements Ferry Road had some pretty darn good barbecue, but apparently it wasn't cutting it on the business side. After a brief closure, the spot has reopened under new management and the name Palmetto Pit. The basic setup remains the same, and the barbecue and sauces are a little different but still pretty good. I do miss Moneyhun's sweet onion slaw and fresh-made barbecue beans, though. The Palmetto Pit is open just for lunch for now, and has added an all-you-can-eat buffet. Let's hope they can make a go of it: Charleston can use all the good barbecue joints it can get. —Robert Moss

RUSH ON F+W TICKETS

Savvy foodies have already snapped up all the tickets to some of the hottest Dine Arounds at 2009's Charleston Food + Wine Festival. The schedule was announced a mere few weeks ago, but a handful of special guest chef dinners have already sold out. So, if you were hoping to sample the food of Linton Hopkins and Mike Lata at FIG, Wylie Dufresne and Sean Brock at McCrady's, Jean Robert de Cavel and Marc Collins at Circa 1886, or Joel Antunes and Bob Waggoner at Charleston Grill, you're out of luck. And if you have no idea who these chefs are, then you don't know what you're missing anyway. Let's just say that you won't go wrong at any of the Dine Arounds on Friday, March 6 — and there are still plenty to choose from. Just don't wait, 'cause the tickets to the Food + Wine Fest sell out early. —Stephanie Barna

PELL TAKES THE HELM

The Holy City Hospitality Group has promoted David Pell to executive chef at Coast. Formerly 39 Rue de Jean's executive chef de cuisine, Pell has extensive experience in French cuisine — he attended L'École Grégoire-Ferrandi/L'École Supérieure de la Cuisine Française, and worked in the kitchens of Parisian chef Christian Constant at Le Violon d'Ingres, Café Constant, and Les Fables de la Fontaine — so it will be interesting to see how that will influence the Coast menu, which focuses on seafood and local specialties. Looks like we need to get over there and check out his work sometime soon. —Stephanie Barna

WILD THING

We're going to go ahead and let you know about a dinner coming up at Tristan on Oct. 18, because it's probably going to sell out and you don't want to miss it. Chef Aaron Deal will welcome Chef Tory McPhail from Commander's Palace in New Orleans for a dinner that combines Wild Turkey, Wild American Shrimp, and wild game, inspired by McPhail's new cookbook Commander's Wild Side, which is being released next month. The evening begins with shrimp and tasso henican, grilled oysters on the half shell, and black bear turnovers. Dinner courses include Creole lobster bisque, wild shrimp and cognac, and mushroom-encrusted venison, and each course will be kicked up a notch with some Wild Turkey. The dinner costs $75 per person plus tax and gratuity. Call (843) 534-2155 for reservations. And you might want to go ahead and make your taxi cab reservations, 'cause you'll probably need a ride home. —Stephanie Barna

RED SKY RISING

Matt Bolus' restaurant Red Sky is slated to open Oct. 1, according to a recent press release. Bolus most recently worked at the Ocean Room at the Sanctuary on Kiawah as former Chef Chris Brandt's sous, but Bolus has taken a big step, buying in to a partnership at the old Red Sky on Seabrook Island. The restaurant has been undergoing an extensive renovation this summer. Originally, they had hoped to be open in June, but it looks like construction delays may have pushed them into the fall. Bolus has been marking progress on his blog — thymeforfood.wordpress.com — where he's been rolling cigars, growing produce, making vinegar, tasting eggs, and developing dishes for his new menu. His monkfish preparation looks pretty scrumptious — we can't wait to get out there and try it for ourselves. —Stephanie Barna

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