Hugh Acheson, Root Baking Co. announce imminent opening of downtown cafe

Chef Hugh Acheson attended the opening ceremonies of the Charleston Wine + Food Festival in 2012. (Grace Beahm/postandcourier.com)

Hugh Acheson and Chris Wilkins of Root Baking Co., who last worked together at Acheson’s The Florence in Savannah, are partnering on a downtown Charleston café scheduled to open by August.

Root + Spiller, an adjunct to the forthcoming Club Monaco, will specialize in coffee and light bread-themed dishes, such as panzanella salads, tartines and toast with fresh ricotta and jam. The garden café will have 12 seats, but Acheson anticipates a steady to-go business; the counter will also feature bread for retail sale.

“We’re excited,” says the Atlanta-based Acheson, a James Beard award winner and Top Chef judge. “It’s interesting to see that kind of – not to use a weird business term, but – synergy between food and fashion. And now I have to go wash my mouth out.”

The Spiller Park Coffee portion of the partnership, which also has an outlet in Atlanta’s Ponce Street Market, will use beans from various roasters, and delve deeply into the iced coffee genre. “I’m interested to see how an espresso lives outdoors in Charleston,” says Acheson, a frequent visitor to the city.

In addition to coffee, Root + Spiller will pour wine and beer.

Based in Toronto, Club Monaco is a 31-year-old clothing retailer that touts its “thoughtfully designed, purposeful collections.” As reported earlier this year by The Post and Courier’s Warren Wise, Club Monaco is opening its first South Carolina location at 258 King St., between Anthropologie and Victoria’s Secret. The chain has not yet revealed a precise opening date, and a spokesperson didn’t return a message seeking comment.

Club Monaco has previously installed high-profile cafes in its stores, such as Café Myriade in Montreal, a collaboration with noted barista Anthony Benda, and in New York City, Toby’s Estate Flatiron, the first Manhattan branch of a popular Williamsburg coffeehouse.

Although the café is affiliated with Club Monaco, it has a separate alley entrance. While the hours and menu are likely to evolve, Acheson predicts the planned 8 a.m.-7 p.m. schedule will allow Root + Spiller to flourish as a private event venue in the evening.

“It is a physically amazing space,” Acheson says. “The décor is stunning.”