I was on the road to Virginia last night when the Tweets began to appear, words of shock and sadness. Next my Instagram and Facebook feeds filled with memories and pictures — Anthony Wright, better known as Tony the Peanut Man, had passed away. He was 63.
For 25 years, Tony was the face of one of the Lowcountry's favorite, and most acquired, tastes, boiled peanuts. He was best known for his work at the RiverDogs where he sold peanuts since 1997. Often you heard Tony before you saw him.
"Hey, hey, what I say, I got some boiled, got some toasted, got some stewed, got some roasted!" Tony would sing out to the crowds.
In fact, it was at a RiverDogs' game many, many moons ago that I tried my very first boiled peanut from Tony himself. How could I resist? How could any of us resist the charming man in the sweetgrass boater hat? That moment was an epiphany — the summer sun warmed my cheeks, the sound of beloved RiverDogs' announcer Ken Carrington joked overhead, and on my lips was the salty taste of a perfectly squishy legume. "Ah," I remember thinking. "This is what a baseball game is supposed to be like."
For others Tony's work took on a more historical meaning. City Paper contributor Robert Moss remembers Tony this way:
With his signature topless straw hat and basket full of peanuts in plastic bags, Tony the Peanut Man was a fixture at RiverDogs baseball games and countless other events around town. He was a local institution, but he was more than that. Anthony Wright was carrying on a century-old tradition of peanut vendors that is unique to the lower part of South Carolina, one that dates back to the early 20th century, when each fall enterprising men took to the streets to hawk freshly boiled green peanuts. They’re as simple a food as you can find — humble legumes, boiled in water flavored with nothing more than salt — but when delivered with an infectious smile and a catchy jingle, nothing is more sure to set a festive mood. Tony, you will be missed.
For former CP writer Paul Bowers, it was Tony's incredible perseverance that left a lasting impression. In 2012 a fire destroyed all of Tony's peanut-cooking equipment in his backyard including 900 pounds of peanuts and the walls of 50-gallon metal drums. Tony estimated the damage at $10,000, but he didn't give up. With help from the community, he rebuilt.
And as Paul says, he offered something of a "benediction in the midst of his own troubles."
Tony said in City Paper's feature, "In my lifetime, I know that things can easily be turned around, so there's no use in me getting angry or getting upset. I'm walking away with a smile, and that's what it's all about. It's like death. Somebody dies, you're going to feel the pain, and then you pick yourself up from there."
Tony then told Paul, "Don't think I'm alone, now," he added, pointing skyward. "I've got a friend up there helping me out. As long as I've got that, it's all good."
by Erin Davis
on Tue, Nov 22, 2016 at 12:41 PM
Call ahead to get your $9 turkey sandwich
For many of us, at least some of our Thanksgiving will spent behind counters and in offices waiting to go home for family dinner. And let's be honest, some of us won’t even get that. So, to help ease the pain of the Thanksgiving blues, Hall Management Group (owners of Halls Chophouse, SNOB, High Cotton, the Old Village Post House Inn and Rita’s Seaside Grille) are offering a taste of the good life with their to-go Turkey sandwich, available only on Thanksgiving day.
The sandwich features piles of Keegan-Filion Farm sliced turkey with thick cut white bread, cranberry mayo, and cornbread stuffing. It’s like a whole meal wrapped into one, mouth-watering sammie. No matter which restaurant you go to, the sandwich will only be $9 and can be ordered in-house or over the phone.
Don’t miss out on a bit of Thanksgiving eats just because of a busy schedule.
This Wed., Nov. 23 marks the last day of service at Wild Wing's Market Street location. After 24 years serving "hot wings, cold beer, and good times" at 32 N. Market St., the restaurant's lease has expired and the space will soon become — no surprise — a hotel.
"We have loved our Downtown Charleston location and consider our employees family. We will be working with them to relocate as many positions as possible to our other locations," the restaurant wrote on Facebook yesterday.
The closure follows Post & Courier's recent report that the chain is moving its headquarters out of Charleston. It's new HQ will be in Charlotte.
Following last year's closure of Wet Willie's after 22 years on East Bay Street, the shuttering of Wild Wing Cafe officially ends the '90s-early-aughts Market Street nightlife era. R.I.P.
In just five days since the release of our story on Tricounty Family Ministries desperate need for a walk-in cooler, Charlestonians have donated $37,905. Well done, Charleston.
While the GoFundMe campaign right now reflects $27,905 in online donations, the big leap came this past Friday when a donor, after reading our "Walk-Ins Welcome" story, mailed the non-profit a check for $10,000, which means we're just $12,095 away from our goal of $50,000 — enough money to not only give North Charleston's only soup kitchen a new cooler, but to also install a new stove, hood, and update all of the electrical work. Our goal is to have this money raised in time for Tricounty Family Ministries' annual Christmas Brunch.
As I wrote before, this free holiday feast serves over 2,000 people, 600 of whom are children. At the luncheon, all area welcome to get a nourishing meal, while the kids have a chance to not only meet Santa, but receive one toy and a jacket to keep them warm during the winter season. In one of Charleston's poorest areas, Tricounty Family Ministries is a lighthouse for those who have so little and through its programs, like counseling, addiction help, and job placement, hundreds have been able to get back on their feet.
But the date of that Christmas Brunch — December 19 — is swiftly approaching and we still have a long way to go to reach Tricounty Family Ministries' GoFundMe goal. Please give if you can here.
The current equipment inside TFM's new kitchen was likely installed in the '50s.
Last night 5Church Charleston celebrated one year in the city with a special tasting menu and free wine and beer for customers. And while the promise of free wine certainly lured me to the party, I was glad I stick around for the tasting menu.
Co-crafted by Charlotte-based Chef Jamie Lynch — one of this season's Top Chef: Charleston contestants — the menu highlighted seasonal ingredients and playful twists on classic dishes. While Lynch visits Charleston to cook on occasion, the kitchen is run full time by Executive Chef Adam Hodgson, who also helped create last night's menu.
As I cleaned the plate of my lobster risotto, delicately rimmed with Rosa foam, I wondered: Is this a preview of Lynch's dishes on Top Chef? Will I be watching TV, knowing just how Gail Simmons and Tom Colicchio are feeling as they spoon miso-marinated maitaki mushrooms into their mouths? Only time will tell.
Until the show's premiere, on Dec. 1, feast your eyes on pics of some of last night's plates. And read up on Charleston's own contestant, Emily Hahn, here.
Amuse: raw oyster, candied blood orange, limoncello granita, American caviar, red veined sorrel