It's all in a day's work for Mike Lata.
Yesterday dawned with Alan Richman naming The Ordinary one of "The 12 Most Outstanding Restaurants of 2013" in GQ's annual restaurant list. Congrats to Mike (and to Richman for actually getting this one right).
Here's the money quote:
"The room puzzled me at first. The Ordinary seemed too big, too towering, too hollow, yet another valiant try at filling the excessive emptiness of an abandoned bank building with a restaurant. Then the people started showing up, initially the raw-bar crowd. I began to feel at home, so friendly was everyone, so easygoing the atmosphere. The customers didn't look or dress alike, but they all seemed to know one another. It's the French-brasserie concept idealized, everyone happily jostling everyone else. If you hang around for a night or two, it's likely you'll be warmly jostled, too."
A very apt description of the place and probably one reason I keep being unwittingly drawn in there (to my wallet's horror). Read the full write-up here.
Right on the heels of Richman's praise came the James Beard semifinalist list, which put The Ordinary in the top 30 Best New Restaurants of the year. (Only two other restaurants made both lists: Oxheart in Houston and Hog & Hominy in Memphis.)
As if that wasn't enough to make a great day, Lata got to spend an hour on the line at the Waffle House in North Charleston, learning how to make an omelet, a pork chop plate, and a patty melt in preparation for the Waffle House Smackdown taking place next Saturday as part of the Charelston Wine + Food Festival.
I was there to see Lata and Michelle Weaver from Charleston Grill in action. Funny stuff. More to come in next week's City Paper.