Monday, February 13, 2017

After 37 years, Norm's has closed making way for Smith Street Pizza

Mmm squared

Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Mon, Feb 13, 2017 at 3:30 PM

Look for new signage soon - GOOGLE STREET VIEW
  • Google Street View
  • Look for new signage soon
In 1979 Charleston, composer Gian Carlo Menotti debuted his opera "The Medium" at the Spoleto Festival, Hurricane David threatened to smack Charleston's shores, and a little pizza and hoagie place called Norm's opened on Calhoun Street. For three-plus decades it served Harleston Villagers, MUSC staffers, and plenty of CofC co-eds, but around Thanksgiving last year, Norm's long-run quietly came to a close.

That's when Dave Uecke, most recently of Chick's Fry House, and business partners Nick and Ben D'Allesandro, of D'Al's, saw an opportunity. The three have taken over Norm's from Norman and Susan Hanf and reworked 225 Calhoun St. into Smith Street Pizza.

"We're doing Philly-style pan pizza — it's not quite as greasy as Detroit style, not quite as sloppy as Grandma style," says Uecke. "There’s a whole level of weirdness when we get into square pizzas."

Uecke says square style pizzas are what he grew up with in Northeast Ohio.

"Nobody was doing square pizza down here," says Uecke. "I think there’s one place in Mt. Pleasant. But for me, this is the style I grew up with and saw it exploding in other markets right now. For us, with the college and hospital right there, this let's us do slices. A slice of cheese is $3 and with toppings $3.50."

But he's not ditching Norm's signature hoagies. They are getting a revamp, however. "Normandy Farms is doing the hoagie roll with classic sesame seeds. Our hoagie is 8 inch for $8. We've got your italian, deli subs, turkey, ham, meatball and chicken parm," he adds.

Keeping prices affordable is all part of the owners' plan. "We've kept the base formula of pizzas, hoagies, wings, salads. The goal is to hit the meal, drink, tax for $10 mark. That's a lot tougher to find in Charleston now. That $10 mark is what we want to sit at," he says.

  • Smith Street Pizza Instagram
Of course, as much as Uecke and the D'Alessandro brothers want to keep the laid back local feel of the place, good prices and all, some changes were inevitable, like a paint job.

"We reinstated it to about 2000-era vintage Norm's," says Uecke. "We put the classic pizzeria booths back in, gave it a coat of paint. We put the pool table back in and in that back area there used to be a cutout window we built that out for a bar. It will sit 10 at the bar."

But even with the renovation, confusion remains for some customers who have been going to Norm's for years.

"It’s tough to go into a place that’s been open for 30 years," says Uecke. "There’s a lot of history that gets built up. When they finally closed, they had a really large menu at that point. We’ve had every request under the sun — gyros to cheeseburgers to fish sandwiches, everything not related to pizza."

Needless to say, you won't be able to get a fish sandwich at Smith Street Pizza. However, if you're looking for a cheap square of 'za, they'll have you covered.

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MONDAY: Edmund's Oast hosts three year anniversary party

The oastest with the mostest

Posted by Mary Scott Hardaway on Mon, Feb 13, 2017 at 2:55 PM

  • File
Hop heads, celebrate your favorite NoMo brew slingers tonight from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The grownup bday party offers patrons half-price bottles of wine, burgers, birthday brownies, beer, and Red Wedding cocktails (perfect for a pre V-day sip). And, with the Edmund's Oast Brewing Company and Edmund's Oast Exchange to debut this year, there's a lot to cheers to.

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Friday, February 10, 2017

Martha Lou's Kitchen expanding with a second location in North Charleston

"It's all in her honor"

Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 3:12 PM

Martha Lou Gadsden has been running her restaurant for 32 years - JOSHUA CURRY FILE
  • Joshua Curry file
  • Martha Lou Gadsden has been running her restaurant for 32 years
In her 32 years in business at 1068 Morrison Dr., it's always been a family affair for Martha Lou Gadsden. At any given time, upwards of a half a dozen of her eight children and grandchildren have been involved in running Martha Lou's Kitchen. Now 87, Gadsden's family is making sure her legacy will carry on for years to come with a second location opening this spring.

Gadsden's granddaughter Melanie Alston plans to open Martha Lou’s Kitchen No. 2 Love and Happiness Catering at 2000-Q McMillan Ave. in North Charleston. The new restaurant will be in a strip mall currently housing a Subway and a Money Man Pawn shop.

"We're gonna mirror the original a whole lot," says Alston. The family has been considering an expansion for the past three years as business grew and grew. "We've just been trying to get the right location," she says. Alston thinks McMillan Avenue is a great spot because it's up and coming and new businesses are moving into the area.

Alston promises that even though she's in her eighth decade, Martha Lou's fingerprints will be all over the new space. Alston says that Gadsden will be heavily involved in the development of her second restaurant.

"We’re gonna dedicate a wall to Martha Lou with all of her accolades. It's all in her honor to keep it alive and the legacy going. It’s a big deal," says Alston.

That homage to Gadsden will continue in the menu that will have all the chef's hallmarks including fried chicken, chitterlings, lima beans and cornbread. The only differences will be that Alston plans to add some healthier items that "cater to a vegetarian person."

If all goes to plan, Alston expects to open Martha Lou’s Kitchen No. 2 Love and Happiness Catering on April 1.

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Jamie Lynch may be off Top Chef: Charleston, but he doesn't have any regrets

Onward and upward

Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 1:56 PM

Chef Jamie Lynch says the doors Top Chef has opened was worth the stress of the competition - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Chef Jamie Lynch says the doors Top Chef has opened was worth the stress of the competition
After seven episodes, five Last Chance Kitchen competitions, and one super hero sacrifice of immunity, 5Church's Chef Jamie Lynch is no longer on Top Chef. The tattooed cheftestant put up a damn good fight, but in a three-way battle with Casey and Brooke on last night's Last Chance Kitchen, his scallops were not enough to win the day.

So we caught up with Lynch to find out what he thought about his experience on the Bravo show and what he has planned next.

Jamie Lynch: What did I think about the show?  Hm, as far as the series goes I had a blast doing it. Looking back, I was a bit shell-shocked when I first got off, but looking back I had a blast. I made a ton of amazing friends out of it. Now I'm part of the Top Chef fraternity.

CP: What was it like watching the show?
JL: It was really strange to see myself on TV. When I started out cooking, I never thought I’d be on a show like Top Chef, so it was definitely a strange experience. When you hear yourself talk, you never know you sound that way. And watching myself it was like do I really make that face or do that?

CP: Did you cringe at any part of the show?
JL: I’ve got a pretty good sense of humor, so I can have a good chuckle at myself. I said some things not really thinking, actually apparently I said a lot of things not really thinking. I think my mom probably wishes I didn’t say some things.

CP: Tell me about giving up your immunity to Warehouse Chef Emily Hahn. Looking back, would you do it again?
JL: Had the situation been different, I wouldn’t have offered up immunity. But because it was a team challenge, it was the right thing to do. I didn’t think it was fair that one of my teammates would have to get axed because of a dish of mine that the judges didn’t like.

CP: Would you share with me what it was like to talk about your addiction to heroin on Episode 7?
JL: I think that how we covered it on the show is all I care to discuss about it at the moment. I had no recollection of that interview. It’s strange, the interviews happen at crazy times and sometimes you don’t know what you’re saying. I was quite shocked when I saw that episode because I don't remember talking about it.

CP: Did it make you uncomfortable that that information came out?
JL: I don’t have any ill feelings about it. I’m open with it with the people who are close with me. I’ve never been public about it though, that's why you didn't find any stories on it online.

CP: Well, thank you for talking about it with me. On another subject, tell me about your experience cooking at the James Beard House on Wednesday?
JL: It was totally amazing, a dream come true. Every young cook fantasizes about that at some point in their career. Being from New York, it was a huge honor to be able to cook in the city again. I hadn’t cooked in New York since I left after 9/11, so it was a pretty awesome homecoming. The dinner was outstanding. It was an absolute honor.

CP: What was your favorite dish you served?
JL: I really liked the wood pigeon roulade with cauliflower, sake-braised turnip, and wild mushrooms. We totally nailed. It was cooked perfectly.

CP: As with the James Beard House, being on Top Chef comes with being offered new opportunities. What's that been like?
JL: t’s been an adjustment. At times it can be difficult. I’m getting the opportunity to meet a lot of great people. It can be a challenge to skip from one kitchen to the next without normalcy though.

CP: I'm sure. You bounce from Charlotte to Charleston to Atlanta. Has doing the show made you feel like your place in Charleston has changed?
JL: I’m not sure that it has. When we decided to open a restaurant in Charleston, I wanted to bring something a little different that Charleston didn’t have already and I feel like we’re doing that. We’ve been open over a year now and Charleston is starting to embrace what we’re doing. I’m not sure everybody jumped on board right away and was cautious about who we were, what we’re doing. I’m there every other week, and we love it there. For the Southeast, Charleston is one of those spots, there’s so much great food and such a condensed area and we wanted to be a part of that and we’re starting to get that relationships.

CP: So what's next?
JL: I don’t know exactly yet. My focus is on 5Church. I want to spend a lot more time in Charleston and Atlanta. I want to continue to refine what we’re doing there. There’s some talk about some other projects. Nothing that’ll happen right away. Top Chef opens up a door to things you’d never thought of before. There’s a lot of that that what we want to do. The most important thing for us right now though is 5Church.

CP: So if Top Chef asked him back for a veterans seasons, would you do it?
JL: I probably would. You never know what could come from it. I did another season I might get invited to be the first chef to cook on the moon.

Top Chef continues next Thursday as the final contestants — Shirley, Sheldon, John, and either Brooke or Casey — head to Mexico. Top Chef airs at 9 p.m. on Bravo.

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Where to celebrate Valentine's Day 2017 in Charleston

V is very, very extra-ordinary

Posted by City Paper Staff on Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 10:28 AM

Nothing says love like Crave's mac and cheese. No, really. - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Nothing says love like Crave's mac and cheese. No, really.
It's almost here — the most berated, and beloved holiday of the year, Valentine's Day. Whether you're single or taken, there's a little something for everyone in Charleston, from parties to dinners. Read on for our roundup.


Bay Street Biergarten hosts their Bitterness Bash tonight at 10 p.m. with beats from DJ Natty Heavy and drink specials like $4 burning love shots, $4 black heart shots, and $15 shotskis. If you're more smitten than bitter, stop by Biergarten again on Sun. Feb. 12 from 11 am.-3 p.m. for Puppy Love Brunch where you can enjoy brunch with your furry friends — a portion of all proceeds will be donated to LowCountry Animal Rescue.

We think you meet your significant other in the unlikeliest of places, and definitely if you're in your underwear. Which leads us to Cupid's Undie Run, which takes place on Folly Beach tomorrow at 2 p.m. Run in your underwear, or not, your choice, and know that your money is being donated to the Children's Tumor Foundation.

Johns Island's Low Tide Brewing hosts two nights of chocolate and beer pairings on Mon. Feb. 13 and Tues. Feb. 14. at 6:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy chocolates from Christophe Artisan Chocolatier paired with beers that bring out the flavors in both. Learn more here.

Crave Kitchen & Cocktails always makes their V-day celebrations a little extra special with a Son & Daughters brunch on Sat. Feb. 11 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Chef Landen Ganstrom creates food specials for the occasion and $2 from every brunch special will be donated to Camp Rise Above.

Wasabi of Mt. P and of Daniel Island serves a three-course Valentine's dinner now through the big day. For $45 guests can enjoy dishes like rock shrimp tempura, hibachi, and chocolate green tea mousse.

Starting tonight 5Church Charleston serves a three course prix-fixe menu ($70) as well as an a la carte option, until Wed. Feb. 15. Dishes include beet-cured cobia, white stone oysters, Hudson Valley foie gras, monkfish cheeks, and a chocolate tart.


Cannon Green's Chef Amalia Scatena cooks up a prix fixe menu ($75) with dishes that include lobster salad, broiled oysters, crab cakes, and lavender panna cotta. Head here to check out the full menu and make your reservations.

Grab some Tex Mex for 2 at Lewis Barbecue, where you can enjoy a sizzlin' fajita platter with beef, peppers, housemade tortillas, and all the fixings. This special is available all night on Valentine's.

Enjoy Chef Greg Garrison of Prohibition's prix fixe dinner with dishes like baked oyster, Maine lobster, ricotta gnudi, and ribeye. The three-course menu includes a champagne toast ($45). Make your reservations here.

Head to Zero George for a six-course meal from Chef Vinson Petrillo, which includes such divine delights as aerated foie gras, Beef Wellington, and chocolate caramel tart along with beverage pairings ($160).

The Glass Onion whips up a Valentine's dinner for two ($63) including a whole fish dinner, choice of soup or salad, garlic bread, and sides. Wine pairings are also available.

In addition to their Sons & Daughters brunch, Crave also hosts a special five-course Valentine's dinner for two with dishes like oysters Rockefeller, steak tartare, chateaubriand, and red velvet cake. Make reservations here.

Several of Holy City Hospitality's restaurants will feature a Valentine's menu:

Head to Michael's on the Alley for dishes like Hawaiian albacore tuna and prime Manhattan steak au poivre. At Vincent Chiccos guests can enjoy dishes like baked brie en croute or pasta carbonara. Check out 39 Rue de Jean's specials, including seared scallops and a duck duo. And finally, if you're looking for dinner on Daniel Island, head to The Islander for a $65 three-course meal including poached apple salad and pan-seared chicken breast.

Crooked Crown's Stag ... or Not on Valentine's Day is a date night style event ($30) where you paint and drink. Fun, right? Guests have access to a full bar, King of Pops, bites, and starving artist prices on additional drinks.

Vickery's hosts a V-day dinner for two ($50) with three courses including a soup or salad, crab-stuffed mahi, and chocolate dipped cannoli.

Spend Valentine's day on the water with a blues and barbecue harbor cruise aboard the Carolina Queen ($52.95), featuring a Swig & Swine barbecue buffet, cash bar, and live music from Shrimp City Slim. Boarding begins at 6:30 p.m.

Mercantile and Mash hosts an interactive dinner ($95) from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Guests can enjoy a three-course meal and wine pairings from Chef Tim Morton, as well as a culinary lesson.

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