Eat

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Analyzing Charleston's impending all-day breakfast boom

Make bacon and eggs great again

Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Tue, Mar 6, 2018 at 2:25 PM

Millers All Day, Big Bad Breakfast, Daps. What do these forthcoming Charleston restaurant projects all have in common? All-day breakfast.

Even with local Waffle House appreciation at peak smothered and covered, restaurateurs apparently believe Charleston needs even more breakfast options, namely those that are available any time of day.

Millers All Day (120 King St.), the work of restaurant consultant and chef Nathan Thurston and farmer and owner of Geechie Boy Mill Greg Johnsman, was the first 2018 project to declare itself a breakfast emporium. Thurston and Johnsman have hired Chef Madison Tessener, most recently of Chez Nous, to execute a "brunch centric" menu for, we presume, locals for whom Sunday Funday just isn't enough.

Also coming soon is Daps, the food-baby of Jeremiah Schenzel (most recently of South Seas Tiki Bar) and Johnson & Wales grad Nicholas Dowling (former head distiller at High Wire). Over on the Westside, Daps will also play an all-day breakfast game that's equal parts reverent and playful. The name Daps comes from Latin for a sacrificial feast, but it doesn't appear that the idea is to make eaters chant Om over their avocado toast. The crew posted on a GoFundMe they launched in November to raise money for the project, "We're not reinventing the wheel here ... it's just breakfast. Really, really, ridiculously, good breakfast."

And it certainly better be if Daps wants to compete with the hash-crown prince of breakfast, Big Bad Chef John Currence.

A few weeks ago, we learned that the Oxford, Miss. chef is bringing his Big Bad Breakfast biz to Charleston. Currence will demolish the retail space at 465 King St. in a matter of weeks, clearing a space for his tomato gravy to flow.

"Breakfast has just gotten sloughed off, and we wanted to take a chef’s approach to it," Currence told Food News Feed in January. In addition to the Charleston location, they say, Currence has plans for 20 additional BBB's throughout the Southeast and beyond. With a James Beard award to his name and a hugely successful restaurant portfolio, naturally his reputation precedes him.

But let's not scramble things: While it's easy to assume that the morning meal is strictly a Charleston preoccupation, that's hardly the case. Don't forget that two whole years ago, Time Inc. launched Extra Crispy, a website "dedicated to obsessively documenting breakfast, brunch and the culture surrounding it all." And, with the help of a great stable of writers like hard boiled food journo Kat Kinsman, that's exactly what it does.

It's breakfast time in America.

Of course, Charleston restaurants have been banking on biscuits, bacon, bagels, and banana pancakes long before this all-day-fast-breaking boom made itself known.

In 2012, Rarebit declared itself an all-day breakfast spot. Three years later, Rutledge Cab Co. rolled onto the scene offering the same. And then came Park Cafe, which even nixed its dinner service to focus on its early business. But long before that there were the OGs: Bear E. Patch, Early Bird Diner, and Sweetwater Cafe.

Hell, this city's most recognized dish — shrimp and grits — started as a breakfast meal before oozing into every part of the day.

As the Lee Bros. told Southern Living, shrimp and grits was originally called "breakfast shrimp." The Bros. said that in Two-Hundred Years of Charleston Cooking, published in 1930, the recipe for "Shrimps with Hominy" was described as "a delicious breakfast dish, served in almost every house in Charleston during the shrimp season.” As late as the 1951 release of Charleston Receipts, it was still called "breakfast shrimp." However, today you can grab all day at places like Husk, 82 Queen, and Hominy Grill, which moved to offering morning eats all day last November.

If anything, our love of all day breakfast is nothing new. It's just growing exponentially.


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