Eat

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Starting Thursday, Tu shifts focus from Indian to Asian-inspired street food

Now open for dinner Thursday through Saturday

Posted by Parker Milner on Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 11:02 AM

Meeting Street restaurant Tu will get a new menu and a new focus this week, the latest look for the creative, low-key downtown spot.

Since January 2019, Tu has focused on cuisine from the Indian subcontinent, serving dishes like butter chicken, vindaloo curry and naan. Starting Thursday, Tu will shift to a focus on Asian-inspired street food, a version of the restaurant executive chef Josh Walker refers to as Tu 3.0.

"People now more than ever are on this comfort food kick," Walker said. "The idea moving forward is to do a mix of cultures all throughout Asia but mainly inspired by street food."
The new menu, which features seven items under $15, lends itself to casual dining on their newly expanded outdoor patio. Bao buns with pork belly vindaloo, chicken satay and a Korean fried chicken sandwich are some examples of the dishes Walker will offer. In addition, fans of the Indian menu will be pleased to see the vada pav, a spicy fried potato slider-style sandwich, return to the menu after debuting back in January 2019.

The change at Tu comes just days after Walker announced his other restaurant, Xiao Bao Biscuit, would open a second location in Charlotte's new food hall, Optimist Hall. The Charlotte outpost, which will be simply called Xiao Bao, is the 23rd tenant to commit to the food hall and will open in spring 2021.

In a press release, Walker said, "This is an exciting next chapter for us, and we can’t wait to share our love for Asian cuisine with Charlotte. This is a big moment in the city’s restaurant scene, and we couldn't be happier to be a part of the great community at Optimist Hall."
Location Details Tu
Tu
430 Meeting St.
Downtown
Charleston, SC
Serving lunch and dinner, Thurs.-Sat.
Indian

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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Local retail stores and restaurants advocate against proposed 100 percent tariff on imported European wines

US Trade Representative accepting public comments online through July 26

Posted by Parker Milner on Tue, Jul 28, 2020 at 4:53 PM


A large civil aircraft dispute between the United States government and the European Union could impact the local Charleston wine industry. After keeping wine tariffs at 25 percent in February, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) could raise the tax on most wines from France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Spain to 100 percent during their next review, set to take place in August.
The increased tariff on European wine and other goods is a retaliation against the E.U. for illegal subsidies it provided to airplane manufacturers like Airbus. The result, however, could be devastating for a United States hospitality industry that has already been rocked by the coronavirus pandemic.

"For every European winery that this attempts to negatively influence, it's a negative for free American companies that bear the burden of this tariff," said Harry Root, owner of Grassroots Wine.

Root - RUTA SMITH
  • Ruta Smith
  • Root
"The 100 percent tariffs that they're proposing are effectively prohibition from any wines in the E.U. That means we're going to have Italian restaurants with no Italian wine, French restaurants with no French wine and Spanish restaurants with no Spanish wine," he said.

In a June policy hearing, USTR ambassador Robert Lighthizer said, “I understand there are people that import wine and don’t like the tariffs. On the other hand, many members of this committee and in Congress generally come from areas that have, in my judgment, the best wine in the world and there’s no tariff on any of it.”

According to Root, there isn't a domestic alternative meeting the price and quantity demand for imported wines like pinot grigio and prosecco, and the 100 percent tariff could also lead to the closure of several retail stores.

"The end result is going to be more consolidation at every level," he said.
"For a store like mine it would be impossible if these sorts of tariffs went through," said Monarch Wine Merchants owner Justin Coleman. "We are virtually a full European wine store, so it would make 90 percent of our wines too expensive for what they are."

And switching to a mostly domestic shop wouldn't be as easy as Lighthizer suggested.

90 percent of the wine at Monarch Wine Merchants would be subject to the 100 percent tariff - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • 90 percent of the wine at Monarch Wine Merchants would be subject to the 100 percent tariff
"We couldn't just switch to an all American domestic wine store overnight," Coleman said. "It would hurt us getting those as well because we get our domestic wines from the same distributors that we get our European wine from. So this would cut down every piece of our supply chain." 

National advocacy organizations like the United States Wine Trade Alliance are calling on citizens to join the fight against 100 percent tariffs by contacting elected officials in Congress.

The USTR is expected to make a decision on the tariff in August.

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Crosstown beer bar opens with 60+ craft beers, wine, sake and more for pick up

Meet Guilded Horn

Posted by Parker Milner on Tue, Jul 28, 2020 at 3:30 PM

Guilded Horn, a cozy 240-square-foot beer bar, is now open for takeout daily, offering a wide range of local craft drafts, wine, sake, alcoholic kombucha and more. The small taproom is located just south of the Crosstown Expressway at 267 Rutledge Ave. in the same building as upcoming restaurant Chasing Sage.
After homebrewing for five years, owner Rutledge Baker came up with the idea to open a bar unlike any other in Charleston — one that would satisfy the curious beer drinker looking for a more refined setting. The coronavirus pandemic forced Baker to debut on July 13 with takeout-only, but he's still offering a wide variety of local options in bottles, cans and growlers to-go.

Guilded Horn is a one man operation - PARKER MILNER FILE
  • Parker Milner file
  • Guilded Horn is a one man operation
"I had always planned on having a retail component, so I already had my PO7 which is basically your seven-day, on-premise and off-premise alcohol license pre-pandemic," Baker said. "That allows us to sell to-go everyday of the week."

Right now, Baker's tap list includes brews from The Hold by Revelry Brewing, Charles Towne Fermentory, Ghost Monkey Brewery and Westbrook Brewing Company, all of which are sold in growlers to-go. He also has one of his own beers on tap, the Guilded Horn Beyond the Pale ale, brewed with honey, grapefruit and jalapeno.

Beyond the draft offering, the options are seemingly endless with plenty of booze to satisfy non-beer drinkers. "I've got about 60 beers, 20 wines, digestifs, ciders, sake and mead," Baker said. "All in it's about 130 SKUs."

It might not be the opening he envisioned a year ago, but Baker is excited about the future for Guilded Horn.

"The response has been good," he said. "Nothing like this really exists in this part of town, so I think people are really excited about that." 

All orders can be placed online at guildedhorn.com. Pick up hours are 6-8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9-11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Location Details Guilded Horn
267 Rutledge Ave. Unit D.
Downtown
Charleston, SC
Mon.-Fr. 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Sat.-Sun. 9 a.m.-11 a.m.
Breweries & Distilleries

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Uptown Social debuts Bodega, a breakfast concept with New York-style sandwiches, pastries and brunch-themed cocktails

Brick-and-mortar location to come in 2021

Posted by Parker Milner on Tue, Jul 28, 2020 at 10:10 AM

Uptown Social partners Keith Benjamin, Kara Graves, Bryn Kelly and Kat Moore are bringing New York flavors to Charleston with Bodega, a new concept serving the breakfast sandwiches you might expect to find at a Manhattan shop. Starting Thursday, Bodega's full menu will be available at Uptown Social.
“Our inspiration behind this concept came to life right after we all moved to Charleston in the winter of 2017/2018," Benjamin said. "We quickly realized that there were no true New York City-style bodegas and we desperately missed our favorite breakfast sandwiches which could be ordered and picked up in less than five minutes.”

"The Cow" comes with bacon, egg, white American cheese and home fries - PARKER MILNER FILE
  • Parker Milner file
  • "The Cow" comes with bacon, egg, white American cheese and home fries
Executive chef Alec Gropman’s menu replicates that of a Manhattan-style bodega, featuring everything from the classic bacon, egg and cheese to more inventive sammies like The Smokey Swine, a combination of pulled pork, eggs and pimento cheese. There are also staple lunch sandwiches, pastries (don’t miss the Nutella cookie) and a Bodega Bloody Mary. In true New York City fashion, all of the massive sandwiches come on thick house-made kaiser rolls.

Benjamin said he wants customers to enjoy Bodega outdoors on their new patio, but he also envisions folks ordering the takeout-friendly sandwiches to-go.

“We really believe that there is no better food than some stellar sandwiches to take on the boat or to the beach. I have found myself looking for that quick grab-and-go breakfast option and couldn't think of a better way to go than a Bodega breakfast sammy,” Benjamin said.

Bodega's initial opening hours will be Thursday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. According to Benjamin, the group plans to start the concept as a residency at Uptown Social with plans of moving the operation to a brick-and-mortar location sometime in early 2021.

“There will be a time that we move Bodega to a home of its own but for now, it will have its own indefinite residency at 587 King Street,” Benjamin said.
Location Details Uptown Social
Uptown Social
587 King St.
Downtown
Charleston, SC
(843)793-1837
Lunch, Dinner (Daily). Weekend Brunch
American, Sports Bar and Pizza

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Thursday, July 23, 2020

Charleston restaurants host online bake sale benefiting Fresh Future Farm and ACLU

Sweet Solidarity

Posted by Parker Milner on Thu, Jul 23, 2020 at 10:13 AM

Over 20 Charleston-area restaurants are teaming up to host an online bake sale benefiting Fresh Future Farms and ACLU of Charleston. This week, order treats from The Harbinger, Void Baking Co., Wild Olive, Jackrabbit Filly and several others for pick-up on July 26.

Titled Sweet Solidarity, the bake sale was organized by Babas on Cannon co-owners Marie Stitt and Edward Crouse, Xiao Bao Biscuit/Tu co-owners Josh Walker and Duolan Walker-Li and Renzo co-owners Erik and Nayda Hutson.
“We reached out to all the different restaurants, and to this industry’s credit, I don’t think anyone we reached out to said no,” Walker said. “Community building is really awesome during these times.”

The bake sale features three different bundles, each of which come with pastries from five to seven local establishments. The “Fruit Delight” is a mixture of bars and pies from Babas on Cannon, Life Raft Treats and more, while the “Cookie Monster” is filled with whimsical options like FIG’s Assorted Party Fun Bag, an old school chocolate chip cookie with shortbread and amaretti cookies. Last but not least, the “Sunday Morning” package includes bagels from Renzo and Mexican conchas from Micho, among other items.

“We are honored being involved with this group of restaurants,” said Kwei Fei and Micho co-owner David Schuttenberg. “As with last year's bake sale for Planned Parenthood, XBB, Renzo and Babas have gathered an amalgam of several wonderful concepts from around town; mom and pop places that appear to not be afraid to take a stand.”

For his concha, Schuttenberg will do a traditional representation of the “round, yeasted sweet bread topped with a crunchy sugary topping that has a lovely shell shaped pattern etched into the top.” Walker will contribute savory options to the sale; Xiao Bao Biscuit’s frozen okonomiyaki and a jar of Tu’s coconut and masala Kerala curry.
Last year’s bake sale, held at Tu, raised $18,000 for Planned Parenthood in just three hours. The more than 20 establishments contributing to this year’s sale hope to make a difference for ACLU, an organization Walker said, “does a lot of good work from a legal perspective,” and the North Charleston farm that’s fighting to purchase its land.

“It’s such a shame that North Charleston is such a food dessert, and I think everybody should go out of their way to support small business owners like Fresh Future Farms,” Walker said.

Place your order by midnight on July 24 or donate directly to the bake sale at xiaobaobiscuit.com. Pick-ups will occur at various locations on July 26 from 12-3 p.m.

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