Anticipate Italian
Rumblings involving a new Hank Holliday restaurant weren't just our stomachs. The rumors have now been confirmed: Holliday — owner of Hank's Seafood and Peninsula Grill — has recently announced the opening of Mercato, which is being called, "an infectious dose of gastronomic la dolce vita." Former Union Hall/Cintra chef Jacques Larson is returning from a stint at Mario Batali's Lupa restaurant in the New York, and a subsequent tour through Italy, to take the position of Mercato's executive chef. Andy Fallen, an opening partner of Rue de Jean, is to cover the front of the house, and the decor is in the capable hands of interior designer Amelia Handegan. Handegan will be working her much-needed magic on the Market Street location formerly inhabited by Bodacious Burger. Mercato is slated to open in July. —Elle Lien

Giving Room
Tristan has added a new private dining room to its restaurant and is feeling philanthropic about it. To introduce the new space, Tristan is inviting area nonprofits to enter a drawing to win a seating for an event at "55." The winner can use the room for one of their own events or as an auction or raffle item. Submissions need to be in to Tristan by August 8. To enter, send an e-mail to chef@tristandining.com. —EL

A Family Affair
At Robert's restaurant, home of Charleston's famous singing chef, it's all in the family. Chef Robert's daughter MariElena has joined the family business as executive chef, and her husband Joseph is now managing the front of the house and developing unique new wine pairing menus. The couple met while in school at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and after working at hotels and restaurants throughout New England, they have settled into Southern living. Joseph's country-themed, five-course wine-paired dinners will be occurring with more regularity in the near future. Currently, Robert's is serving a meal based on the food and wine of Italy. —EL

Twin Talents
Brothers Armin and Bernd Gronert are identical twins creating culinary confusion up and down the eastern seaboard. Co-owners of Rococo German Bakery in West Ashley, the brothers create sophisticated European pastries and cakes. When not at the bakery, Bernd teaches at Trident's Culinary Academy. Armin, who formerly taught at the Charleston Johnson and Wales, now teaches at the culinary school's Providence, R.I. location, making trips south on the weekends. In addition to teaching and running a successful business, Bernd now films his own cooking program, which airs during the ABC News 4 morning show at 10 a.m. —EL



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