Glass Onion, Vince Lombardi's Italian Restaurant, James Beard Awards 

A La Carte: News and events from the Charleston cuisine community

Glass Onion Opens

The Glass Onion finally opened its doors last Friday. The cute little counter-style diner on Savannah Highway features delish, affordable dishes like fries and béarnaise ($3), braised pork shank with grits and greens ($12), and Sarah's lemon mint pound cake ($4) (named for co-owner and City Paper contributor Sarah O'Kelley). Besides the regular menu, they update their chalkboard with fresh offerings each day, and they use local products as much as possible. We stopped by a few days after they opened — the decor was fun and bright, and the food was scrumptious. They'll be open Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Check out their menu at or give them a call at (843) 225-1717. —Erica Jackson


This spring, Vince Lombardi (not that Vince Lombardi) is opening James Island's first "truly Italian restaurant" on Harborview Road in the Piggly Wiggly shopping center. Located in the old Video Station storefront, Lombardi says his 60-seat family-oriented dining room should be open in less than two months. The menu will feature southern Italian dishes typical of what Lombardi calls a "red sauce restaurant," like lasagna and Chicken Scarpiello. So far, the plans have been delayed by permitting issues and an inadequately licensed architect, but Lombardi remains optimistic that once the details have been worked out, Lombardi's Italian Restaurant will be a hit. —Josh Eboch

Chucktown Beards

Given Charleston's disproportionately influential culinary scene, it's no surprise to see three local chefs gracing a list of nominees for 2008's prestigious James Beard Awards. The list, which also includes the likes of Mario Batali and Wolfgang Puck, is a testament to the innovation of those like Mike Lata of FIG, who is making his second appearance in as many years. He was nominated for Best Chef in the Southeast alongside Hominy Grill's Robert Stehling. But perhaps the biggest honor goes to Sean Brock, chef at McCrady's, who was nominated for the national Rising Star of the Year. The award criteria describes a rising star as "A chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to have a significant impact on the industry in years to come." The awards will be presented this spring at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City, where the nominees will be treated to a weekend of partying and delicious indulgence that has been called "the social and gastronomic highlight of the year." —Josh Eboch

Pizza pizza

Mellow Mushroom has been drawing rave reviews for the first installment of their guest chef program, which featured a Spanish-inspired pie from the guys behind Guerrilla Cuisine. If you didn't get a chance to try it ... too bad. It's off the menu, and don't say we didn't warn you. But wipe that pout away; John Zucker of Cru Cafe is set to create the next pizza. The ingredients haven't been announced, but it might utilize duck. Whatever's on it, we know you'll whine if you don't get a chance to try it, so get in there for April. Subsequent months will feature gourmet pizza from Matthew Niessner of Blend and our own food critic Jeff Allen.Erica Jackson


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