The Quick & the Casual, Old School Locavorism, Craft Beer-topia 

A La Carte

THE QUICK AND THE CASUAL

Fez, Charleston's lone Moroccan restaurant, shut its doors at the beginning of the summer — a note on the door blamed a broken air conditioner, but talk about town said they wouldn't be reopening, and they didn't. Last week, Kevin Grant informed us that he's taken over the lease, purchased Fez's assets, and is currently transforming the Maybank Highway space into a Mexican taqueria. "To take it from Moroccan to Mexican won't be the trickiest thing in the world," he says, referring to the terra cotta tile floors and general feel of the place. Grant's concept for his Zia Taqueria is solid — quick and casual — especially in the current economic climate. Entrées will run $8-$14. You'll order at the counter and a waiter will bring you your food and drinks and bus the table. And because Mexican isn't truly Mexican without a margarita on the side, they'll have a full bar too. "It's a great fit for the neighborhood, next to the movie theater with the Pour House across the street," says Grant. "My concept is anything you want it to be. Tacos to go, queso and drinks. It's very versatile." Grant knows of what he speaks, too. He moved here from Houston to help open Taco Boy, where he designed the menu and worked as manager. He says he's ready to run his own place and hopes to be open by Oct. 1. "At this point, that seems realistic," he laughs. We'll keep our fingers crossed. —Stephanie Barna

OLD SCHOOL LOCAVORISM

Eating locally ain't all that new. Just ask your grandma. Folks in South Carolina have been growing, buying, and preserving local foods forever, that is until a can of tomatoes from California became cheaper than a tomato grown down the street. But now that we're learning about things like carbon footprints and the slow food movement, we realize how good grandma used to have it, eating fresh, tasty fare grown in her neighbor's clean soil. The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association has been promoting local farmers and their wares for 26 years, but they're capitalizing on our growing appreciation for locally grown foods by hosting their second annual Upstate On-Farm Dinner in Easley. Five of the area's best chefs will come together to create a six-course meal featuring products like pasture-based meats, free-range chicken, artisanal cheeses, organic fruits, naturally grown vegetables, hormone-free milk, and hand-milled grains. The dinner is scheduled for Oct. 4, the perfect time to head upstate and see the seasons change. Make your reservations online at www.carolinafarmstewards.org or by calling (919) 542-2402. —Stephanie Barna

CRAFT BEER-TOPIA

Charleston's hop, malt, and high-gravity lovers will soon have a new reason to rejoice when the Charleston Beer Exchange opens next to Carolina's on Exchange Street. Local beer connoisseur Scott Shor plans to open the shop in October, featuring what he promises will be the best and largest offering of microbrews in the state. In addition to a global selection, the Exchange is planning a "growler fill station," where patrons can purchase a growler (half-gallon glass jug) and refill it from chilled kegs — "Beyond recycling," says Shor. He'll keep local brewery Coast's seasonal beers on tap at all times, in addition to craft batches from larger breweries whose seasonal and craft beers are often not bottled and offered only in kegs. We raise the biggest mug we can find to anyone bringing new, quality beers to the market, and our growlers are ready for filling. —Stratton Lawrence

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