In another favorable plug for Charleston’s fine-dining scene, The Ordinary has landed on a list of the 70 best new restaurants in the world.

Conde Nast Traveler asked food critics to submit their favorite newcomers from eight cities and geographic areas for its newly released “Hot Tables” rankings for 2013.

The Ordinary was included in the American South category, based on selections from Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer John Kessler.

The restaurant, which opened at 544 King St. in December, is the creation of chef Mike Lata and business partner Adam Nemirow, both of FIG fame.

“Upper King continues to surprise locals and visitors alike with its proliferation of gems such as this grand two-level, 90-seat seafood restaurant set in a 1927 Bank of America building,” according to the article that accompanied the list.

Earlier this year, the oyster and seafood hall became a James Beard Foundation Awards finalist nominee for best new restaurant. The Ordinary also was identified by GQ magazine as one of the 12 most outstanding restaurants in the country.

Go to to see the entire Hot Tables list.

On loan

PNC Bank is looking to help some homebuyers clear the affordability hurdle by providing $500,000 in low-cost financing to the Lowcountry Housing Trust. The money will go into the nonprofit agency’s revolving loan fund, providing capital for qualifying developments in the area, officials said.

“Through this partnership, we will continue to provide affordable lending products and services which are critical to bringing about positive, long-term social and economic change for the communities we serve,” said Michelle Mapp, executive director of the trust.

Pittsburgh-based PNC entered the Charleston market through its 2011 acquisition of RBC Bank. It’s extending the financing to the trust on the heels of an event the group held to kick-start a regional plan to develop more affordable housing by combining private and public resources.


No surprises here: Wal-Mart Stores remains the dominant U.S. merchandiser, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual review of the industry’s 100 biggest businesses.

With $328 billion in sales last year, the Bentonville Ark.-based owner of Walmart and Sam’s Club was miles ahead of the No. 2 chain, the grocer Kroger Co., with $92.1 billion rung up at its cash registers.

Rounding out the top 10 in descending order were: Target; Costco; Home Depot; Walgreen; CVS Caremark; Lowe’s; Safeway; and McDonald’s.

Of those, only Kroger and Safeway have no stores in the Charleston area, though not for long for the former: Cincinnati-based Kroger announced last week it is buying Harris Teeter, which has seven local supermarkets.

Go to to see the entire list.

Lounge act

Local road warriors who frequent Charleston heavyweight carrier Delta Air Lines and its Atlanta hub are getting a new option for killing time, unwinding or conducting business while waiting to depart from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

An independently owned 160-seat private lounge dubbed “The Club at ATL” is scheduled to open Thursday, according to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

It’s on Concourse F of the bustling airport’s international terminal, not far from Delta’s Sky Club. It will offer food, beverages, alcoholic drinks, a business center and showers. It’s open to members of Priority Pass, which provides access to about 600 airport lounges worldwide. Others can pay $35 for day pass.

The venture is being spearheaded by Plano, Texas-based Airport Lounge Development Inc., which operates similar concepts in Dallas-Fort Worth, Raleigh Durham, Las Vegas and San Jose, Calif.


Open less than a year, The Alley has scored a strike of its own.

Travel & Leisure magazine last week named the eight-lane bowling center among “America’s Coolest Bowling Alleys.” The 6,870-square-foot reclaimed warehouse at 131 Columbus St. came in at No. 8 out of 15 on the list.

There are about 5,000 bowling centers across the country, so the ranking is quite noteworthy for the retro-chic Alley, which features vintage arcade games and a 40-foot bar made from recycled bowling lane wood.

“Fuel your game with oyster po’boys, braised pork belly and slow-roasted green-chili chicken, served with a side of Southern charm,” Travel & Leisure said. Saturdays call for a barbecue party on the outdoor patio and live bluegrass music.”

For the complete list, go to