Charleston’s Food Insanity – Part Two


Here’s a google street view of the new Stars Restaurant building, formerly known as King Street Antique Mall, formerly known as Leon’s.

Just a little over a year ago, I wrote a post called Charleston’s Food Insanity (and Mine). I rhapsodized with taste buds in a confused frenzy about what to try first.  So many new options! Too many new places!

But, my fellow fine food connoisseurs, I’ll tell you – what seemed like frenetic additions to the Charleston culinary scene then, seems slower than sweet sorghum syrup by comparison today.  Certainly we read articles about the launches all the time, and spread foodie heaven rumors like mayonnaise on a good sandwich, but when you see them in a list, and on a map, it’s truly astonishing.  

So here are the new (past 45 days) and upcoming openings, starting closest to the Battery, and moving North on our tiny 1.6 mile wide, 3.5 mile long Charleston Peninsula. I can taste it already, can you?

  1. ‘Cesca Ristorante and Trattoria – 5 Faber Street – Italian with a southern twist. Just opened on June 14.  Gorgeous decor, food was delicious, service was a little slow but hey, I was there during the first week they were open so they get some wiggle room.  I’d go back.
  2. Craftsmen Kitchen and Tap House – 12 Cumberland St – in the former space of late night place Johnson’s Pub , a new craft beer and good eats house will be opening in late August.
  3. Izakaya Hiro – 298 King Street – What was formerly the popular, low-key Sushi Hiro, has now been transformed into a hip Japanese eatery, with the help of the brilliant REV foods team.
  4. CO Vietnamese – 340 King Street – A little slice of hip Vietnamese heaven.
  5. Republic?? – 462 King Street – In the old Chai’s space, but I can’t remember the name of the new place.  They’ll be converting a warehouse space in the back to be a music venue as well.
  6. Some Type of Burger Place – 474 King Street – this is what I hear, though geez guys, I don’t think we need more burgers on Upper King!
  7. Stars Grill Room and Rooftop Bar – 495 King Street – The press powers that be got their first tour of Stars the other day, and they are aiming for an August 1 opening.  With two floors of dining and a huge rooftop bar, you know this place will be fantastic.
  8. To-be-named – 515 King Street – will be a new 2,000+ square foot restaurant going in here.
  9. The Ordinary – 544 King Street – This is Chef Mike Lata’s (of FIG) newest creation and it’s going to be a fancy seafood and oyster bar. Opening this fall.
  10. A Smoothie and Juice Bar – 569 King – the owner of the amazing Dell’z Deli at 1-A Cannon St (if you haven’t been – go!) is opening this place any minute now.
  11. A Beergarden (or Biergarten?) – Corner of Spring and Coming Streets – though this is still under the radar because it has to get final City and BAR approval, the intent is to have a family-friendly neighborhood place in this central location.  German/French/Southern?  That remains to be seen.
  12. Xiao Bao Biscuit – Corner of Spring Street and Rutledge Avenue – purveyors of pop-up dinners, the guys who serve up Asian comfort food are settling down in the old gas station on the corner (hurrah!). Opening in October.
  13. A Bahn Mi place – Spring Street between Ashley and Kracke – I can’t find the name and it isn’t open yet but given what I saw, it looks to be soon.
  14. Elliotborough Mini Bar – 18 Percy Street (corner of Bogard).  Formerly Ken Vedrinski’s (of Trattoria Lucca down the street) great teeny tiny wine bar, Enoteca, he has sold it to a new owner, who will offer wine, food and more.  Though I loved Enoteca, I think this is an even better idea!  Opening in a week or two.
  15. The Alley – 131 Columbus Street – A new bowling alley is coming to Downtown situated in an old warehouse. I included this one because in addition to 8 bowling lanes, they’ll have a 200+ seat restaurant and 3 separate bars.  That’s pretty significant, wouldn’t you agree?
  16. Rutledge Grill – Corner of Mount Pleasant Street and Rutledge Avenue – After months of rumors, this place is finally confirmed, in the most unlikely (and pretty smart) location.  Chef Bob Carter, formerly of Peninsula Grill, is opening a series of ‘neighborhood’ restaurants, beginning with Carter’s Kitchen in I’On, followed by this one opening in the Fall. Despite what the naysayers say, I can tell you this place will be popular.  Anyone who lives in Wagener Terrace or North Central can kiss their food desert goodbye, and walk or bike merrily to their very own place.

View Charleston Restaurant Openings in a larger map

Note: I am SURE there are several I forgot – so do me a favor and let me know!


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