Back on the beat: A week’s worth of food news

My temporary home on the Saone (Hanna Raskin)

I’m just back from a week in Burgundy, so in the immortal words of Thomas Jefferson – or, at least, Hamilton’s version of Thomas Jefferson, who returns from a Paris sojourn to start off Act II – what’d I miss?

Nothing too earthshaking, it seems. The weather’s hot, and people understandably made the most of the holiday weekend. Last week’s biggest Charleston food-and-beverage world developments were Two Boroughs Larder’s announcement of its impending closure and Frank Lee’s abdication of the executive chef title at Slightly North of Broad; we’ve already reported on both items.

But the press releases that piled up in my absence contain a few more changes worth noting:

Since 2007, the upper King pioneer has been guided by Nico Romo, whose enthusiasm for his native France and sustainable seafood initiatives informed the restaurant’s programming. Romo is leaving the restaurant at summer’s end to “pursue a new endeavor,” according to a release. Fish’s owner Randall Goldman says he’s “exploring options” for the future.

Sometime around April, the reader query “when is Lewis Barbecue opening?” hopped to the top of my most-frequently-asked questions list. I’m happy to say the question is now outdated, since pitmaster John Lewis last Tuesday threw open the doors of his tribute to Texas smoked meat methodology. Initial lines were intense.

Speaking of reader questions, I’m often asked to evaluate the cleanliness of various establishments; while I don’t know how many of the wary eaters first consulted S.C. Department of Environmental Control’s website, I’m certain those who did had trouble locating the information they wanted. DHEC last week did away with its outdated online reporting system, introducing a new app capable of displaying full reports, with no downloads required. You’ll find it here.

Almost exactly one year after naming Blair Machado as its executive chef, the Wagener Terrace restaurant announced Matt Canter was taking the reins. Canter, a veteran of The Ocean Room, FIG and Charleston Grill, is apparently keeping the fried egg sandwich and avocado toast on a menu, but a release announcing his appointment was otherwise light on specifics. “He will introduce his own seasonal dishes,” it promises, quoting Canter as saying, “I look forward to bringing my kitchen experience and passion for food to The Park Cafe.”

Introduced three years ago as Zero Café + Bar, the hotel outlet which formerly specialized in small plates and snacks has become a full-fledged restaurant under Vinson Petrillo. In recognition of the venue’s evolution, it will henceforth be known as Zero Restaurant + Bar (and has a new website to match.) For more on restaurant names, be sure to pick up a copy of tomorrow’s food section.

Anything still missing? As always, feel free to drop me a line at