Spring Street is the new King Street (or at least the new chic AF place to open a worldly eatery).
From the chef-driven Josephine Wine Bar — which our critic described in her review this week as “a beautiful, convivial space boasting equally welcoming food and drink menus” — to the hopes-to-open-by-the-end-of-the-year Malagón, a Spanish market and taperia to be located at 33 Spring St. helmed by Chez Nous’ Juan Cassalett, there’s a lot going down off the beaten peninsula path. (And nearby, Babas is promising an Italian trattoria getaway on Cannon Street.)
Joining the Spring Street soiree is Estadio Charleston, a Spanish style tapas bar branching out from its flagship in D.C. And at least initially, they’ll also be joined by Alex Lira, formerly of the Lot and Bar Normandy.
Here’s what you need to know about the newcomer, which plans to open late 2018:
Opened in 2010, Estadio D.C. is described a “fun, convivial restaurant serving contemporary Spanish cuisine” in Logan Circle. Estadio has made many foodie lists in the nation’s capital, including the Washingtonian’s “100 Very Best Restaurants 2017.”
Owner Max Kuller
Kuller, who has spent much time in and loves Charleston, turned his attentions to a second Estadio, and thought Charleston would be the perfect fit. Kuller and his D.C. team saw a void in the Lowcountry market for their cuisine and wanted to seize the opportunity to bring traditional tapas-style fare to the city. Kuller is the son of the late beloved restaurateur Mark Kuller who was the “driving force” behind D.C. restaurants Proof, Estadio, and Doi Moi.
Charleston’s Alex Lira joining the team
Alex Lira (formerly of Cypress, The Lot, Craft, Marlow & Sons) met Kuller at Bar Normandy shortly after its opening (Lira’s darling Broad St. spot shuttered earlier this month) and became fast friends. Lira does not have a current title with this project, but the two are excited to “organically explore the possibility of a longer-term partnership.” Lira, Kuller, and Estadio’s longtime executive chef Rufino Bautista will embark on trip to Spain to immerse themselves in the cuisine and culture before the Charleston opening.
The “small and buzzy” Spring St. restaurant will have 57 seats and will incorporate seasonal ingredients and grains of the Lowcountry region in their Spanish dishes — one local ingredient of note will be Carolina Gold Rice which will be one of the bases for extensive rice/paella offerings. The menu will consist of Spanish charcuterie and cheeses, a range of single-bite pintxos (small plate tapas), raciones (larger plate tapas), and a range of Spanish rice dishes. The restaurant plans to feature “Charleston’s most extensive Spanish wine list” with 85 percent of the offerings sourced from Spanish vineyards. They will also have inventive cocktails and local beers on tap along with Spanish vermouth and Basque cider.