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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Brooks Reitz opening Leon's and St. Alban on Upper King with Tim Mink

Getting some skin in the game

Posted by Stephanie Barna on Tue, Nov 19, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Brooks Reitz’s last day as manager of the Ordinary was Sunday. Today, he is ready to announce his next venture, or rather ventures. Reitz is partnering with restaurateur Tim Mink to open two new places on Upper King Street. These will not be a part of Mink's established REV restaurant group, which includes Taco Boy, Closed for Business, and Monza. Reitz says each restaurant is owned separately under a different LLC.

Leon’s, at 698 King St., will be a fried chicken and fish joint with a menu of raw and chargrilled oysters.

Leon's — before
  • Leon's — before

“It’ll be high-energy with lots of draft beer but no craft cocktails,” he says. “You can sit down, order some easy stuff, and be part of a great vibe.”

It’ll be the kind of place that makes you feel good — sexy. “That’s what a good restaurant can do,” says Reitz, who says venues like Pizza East in London inspired him. “I’m interested in getting into things that are scruffy and high-energy. … In London, what I loved is these great places we went, the food is very simple. It’s just a restaurant but it’s a fun restaurant.”

The second venture for Reitz and Mink will be a “gathering place” called St. Alban, in the vein of an all-day European café. In the morning, you can stop in for a cup of coffee and some pastries. By the afternoon, you can get some cheese and antipasto and in the early evening some wine, a glass of sherry or a beer, and basic food offerings. It will be going into a space located at 710 King St. — with plenty of parking.

click to enlarge The plans for St. Alban
  • The plans for St. Alban


“There’s no coffee shop in that corridor on King Street between Wagener Terrace and downtown, and we want to cater to that young, professional neighborhood,” he says.

For Reitz, this move is all part of his long-term plan. In college he studied drama and English but made a conscious choice to pursue a hospitality career. He’s been managing restaurants since he was 21.

click to enlarge Brooks Reitz as a young cocktail expert at FIG
  • Brooks Reitz as a young cocktail expert at FIG
After  working at Proof in Louisville, Ky., and acquiring some serious cocktail skills, Reitz moved to Charleston five years ago to work at FIG, eventually taking over as manager and then helping open the Ordinary a year ago.

While managing Charleston’s top restaurants, Reitz established Jack Rudy Cocktail Co., crafting small-batch tonic and grenadine. That company’s success has allowed him to make this next move — “and get some skin in the game.”

“I won’t be the general manager at either of these places,” he says. “I will be present, but I won’t have the same role I had at FIG and the Ordinary. I’m a little burned out with that part of it, but there’s nothing more exciting than being in a restaurant.”

On the horizon, Reitz hopes to parlay this experience creating these two new restaurants into a design consulting business. He already has a great connection with Michael Bonadies, a hotelier and restaurateur who hires him to develop concepts and find designers for big budget projects (big in the sense of Middle East hotels). The ambitious Reitz sees design work as a future direction for his new partnership with Mink, and they’ve already created a firm called Neighbourhood, whose first task is designing Leon’s and St. Alban.

The two restaurants are currently in the permitting and approval stages and Reitz hopes for them to be open by the first of the year. 


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