Sunday, May 24, 2020

How a Charleston pizza shop delivered 12 pies to the crew stuck on board a cargo ship in the harbor

“I had no idea how involved I was going to be getting with this adventure”

Posted by Sam Spence on Sun, May 24, 2020 at 9:44 AM

  • Ben D’Allesandro/Provided
On Friday afternoon, Ben D'Allesandro found himself on board a 15-foot boat with 12 pizzas. His task: Delivering pizza to the crew stranded aboard a Liberian-flagged cargo ship anchored in the Charleston Harbor.

Hitching a ride with the local team that has been provisioning the 21 crew on board the Evolution while legal issues are sorted out by the ship’s owners, D’Allesandro didn’t quite know what he was getting into. But he a dozen pies at the ready.

“I took them 12 of our finest pizzas,” said D’Allesandro, who owns D’Allesandro’s Pizza with his brother. A few specialties like Get Gnarly, Beetnick, Spicy Benny and Chauncinator were among the selections, as well as a vegan pizza for the ship’s captain. He threw in a few hats, T-shirts, postcards and stickers for good measure.

  • Ben D’Allesandro/Provided
The D’Al’s team is used to making deliveries along the crowded streets of downtown Charleston, but this one was unique.

“I had no idea how involved I was going to be getting with this adventure,” D’Allesandro said.

Pulling up alongside a 550-foot cargo ship in a small boat in the middle of the rolling harbor is a bit intimidating by itself. But to do it while also helping unload a week’s supply up a moveable set of stairs hanging from the side of the ship is even more challenging. In addition to the pizzas, fresh vegetables, fish, water and other supplies were in Friday’s delivery.

“It was a little sketchy … they usually use a little bigger of a boat, which kind of added some excitement to the whole process,” D’Allesandro said. But the delivery was successful, “Nothing [went] overboard, it was pretty amazing,” he said.
  • Ben D’Allesandro/Provided
Of course, this is not the first time the D’Allesandro brothers have used their pizza powers for good. Recently, the shop has donated pies to local grocery store employees and firefighters at work in the middle of the pandemic. And during the 2019 government shutdown, Ben delivered pizza to TSA agents at Charleston International Airport.

The Evolution has sat in the harbor for nearly four months after being detained by American officials, reportedly tangled in international business disputes. Evolution was sold this past week and its crew is seeking back pay for their time on board, according to The Post and Courier.

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Friday, May 22, 2020

Pandemic prompts Crosstown pizza joint to rebrand as Saber's Deli

Out with the old, in with the new

Posted by Parker Milner on Fri, May 22, 2020 at 9:59 AM

Saber's Pizza became Saber's Deli on May 18 - PARKER MILNER
  • Parker Milner
  • Saber's Pizza became Saber's Deli on May 18
Back in September, Saber's Pizza filled the space at the corner of Ashley Avenue and the Crosstown where Luke's Craft Pizza made 50 pizzas a night before closing in May 2019.

Rather than shutting down completely in light of the pandemic, owner Brian Saber swapped out pizza dough for hoagie rolls and rebranded the eatery as Saber's Deli.
In an Instagram post, Saber said, "During this time of uncertainty and lack of business it has been very difficult to maintain food due to the short shelf life of the ingredients in pizza which go to waste if not moved fast enough. I feel at this time it would make more sense to take this business in a different route."

Saber's Deli officially opened on Monday, May 18 for delivery and takeout. The new menu features cheesesteaks, hoagies and hot dogs. Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays, Saber's also offers meat, egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches for patrons looking for quick morning bite. 

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Thursday, May 21, 2020

At home with food, booze and their devices, thousands flock to new Charleston Facebook groups

“Alone together”

Posted by Sam Spence on Thu, May 21, 2020 at 8:24 AM

This reporter’s isolation porch beer - SAM SPENCE
  • Sam Spence
  • This reporter’s isolation porch beer
Charleston’s communal food and drinking culture has taken a hit in the past couple months, but with people holed up at home, two local Facebook groups have exploded with members seeking the shared experience of their favorite restaurant, bar or brewery.

The Facebook group Lowcountry Quarantine Take-Out + Delivery has grown to over 22,000 members in just a few short weeks since it was created on March 18. Christine England, who initially formed the group, formed the group to keep a running list of which local restaurants were continuing to serve food for takeout or delivery. The initial goal was modest. England thought, "A couple of our foodie friends, we're going to get together and we're going to know the information."

England hoped to provide a spot where local people could find their next meal while supporting restaurants and employees that didn't know what was on the horizon. "Who can we support?" she asked. "Who needs our help? What can we do?"

Christine England - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Christine England
England understands perhaps more than most what restaurant workers are facing, her husband Ray is the chef at Tavern & Table on Shem Creek.

But pretty quickly, the group morphed into folks throwing their craving questions into the group and getting a response damn near immediately. But with a guiding hand from England, who works in real estate when she's not maintaining the group, look for more posts about how members can continue helping local restaurants once they venture out.

After the pandemic, England hopes the group's massive following will get to know the people behind the scenes at local haunts and the challenges facing restaurants and their staff. Now, you can find the group renamed as Lowcountry Eat Out!

  • File photo
  • Winn
As the creator of the Isolation Porch Beers group and the co-owner of Tradesman Brewing, Chris Winn knew the growlers of Circuit Breaker IPA and Brick Layer Red walking out his doors were destined for someone's quarantine happy hour. He heard it over and over: "I'm going to take this beer and I'm going to drink it on my porch."

"But ultimately, beer drinking is still sort of a communal team sport," Winn said. And that's pretty much the extent of the origin story of Isolation Porch Beers, now over 4,000 members strong.

Getting the attention of friends across the country, the group isn't technically local — plenty of 843 expats and porch beer enthusiasts post local brews from their corners of America — but you'll see plenty of familiar labels.

"If we can't drink together, we can drink alone together," Winn said.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Pay It Forward campaign is expanding its reach in Charleston area

5,000 grocery bags and counting

Posted by Parker Milner on Wed, May 20, 2020 at 4:25 PM

Our Lady of Mercy has volunteers in place to help with the Pay It Forward initiative - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Our Lady of Mercy has volunteers in place to help with the Pay It Forward initiative
Pay It Forward started at the onset of the pandemic as a small initiative to deliver groceries to displaced restaurant industry workers. Less than two months later, the campaign has donated 5,000 bags of groceries to out-of-work industry employees. As the campaign continues to gain support in the Lowcountry, Pay It Forward is partnering with Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach and Tricounty Family Ministries to further serve the Charleston area.

The initiative, started by Michael Shemtov of Butcher & Bee, The Daily and Workshop, was initially using shuttered restaurants as distribution points for grocery bags, but recent reopenings left them in need of new pick-up spots. With these new partnerships, Pay It Forward is adding distribution points in North Charleston, Johns Island and downtown.

With the volunteers, fridge space and safety protocols already in place, these groups are ready to start right away. Our Lady of Mercy will operate out of The Outreach (1864 Brownswood Rd. on Johns Island) and the Neighborhood House (79 America St. downtown), and Tricounty Family Ministries will distribute from 2105 Cosgrove Ave. in North Charleston.

In a press release, Our Lady of Mercy executive director Ericka Plater said, "We are committed, as always, to ensuring that the most vulnerable among us receive the critical support they need to not fall behind. Teaming up with these extraordinary groups helps local farmers, eliminates potential waste and makes a bigger impact on the community where we live, work and play."

The work by Pay It Forward is also getting national attention. Earlier this week, Good Morning America featured the campaign as part of an online story.

Pay It Forward has raised enough money to keep the program going through mid-June when they expect industry employees to be back to work. F&B workers can apply for a provision bag online, and those wishing to contribute to Pay It Forward Charleston can visit

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Monday, May 18, 2020

Celebrate Green Heart Project's 10th anniversary with a Harvest Dinner to-go

Greens for the road

Posted by Parker Milner on Mon, May 18, 2020 at 10:23 AM

Tickets for the Harvest Dinner "To-Go" cost $20 for adults, $10 for students and $1 for children under 12 - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Tickets for the Harvest Dinner "To-Go" cost $20 for adults, $10 for students and $1 for children under 12
For the last 10 years, the Green Heart Project has helped students learn the value of locally-grown produce with their school garden programs and experiential learning projects. To celebrate their 10th anniversary, the nonprofit organization is serving their annual Harvest Dinner to-go this Thursday with proceeds going towards school garden programs throughout the city.

Green Heart Project is partnering with Limehouse Produce, Motley Rice
Law Firm and Charleston County School District’s Nutrition Services to serve the barbecue dinner with sides made by local chefs.

In a press release, Green Heart Project executive director Jesse Blom said, "While we can’t gather in person this year, we are thrilled to still have an opportunity to feed
people, to celebrate our students, volunteers, and partners, and to be supported by community members from around the city."

Tickets must be purchased online in advance and cost $20 for adults, $10 for students and $1 for children under 12. Meal pick-ups will take place from 6-8 p.m. at Mitchell Elementary School, 2 Perry St. downtown on Thurs. May 21.

For more information on the Harvest Dinner, visit


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