The Fat Radish’s February pop-up at Basic Kitchen wasn’t just an opportunity for Charleston diners to sample the New York City restaurant’s style of cooking: It also gave Basic’s owners a chance to audition an ongoing collaboration with The Fat Radish’s leaders.
“While searching to replace chef Air Casebier, we kept coming back to this idea, and the timing has finally worked out to get the team back together for good,” Ben Towill says in a release announcing Basic Kitchen’s resituating beneath The Fat Radish banner.
Fat Radish partners Natalie Freihon, Phil Winser and Michele Watanabe will henceforth oversee Basic Kitchen’s day-to-day operations, with Kellie Holmes retaining her position as general manager. Additionally, The Fat Radish’s Nick Wilber will serve as the restaurant’s executive chef.
Although Basic Kitchen represents the newly formed Fat Radish hospitality group’s first permanent foray into the Lowcountry, the company plans to open The Fat Radish Savannah next year. That restaurant also will be under Wilber’s culinary direction.
“I had been interested in expanding to the South for a while, and (the pop-up) solidified it,” Freihon says in the release, praising Charleston diners for being “so delightfully engaging.”
Towill and his wife, Kate, will continue to provide “creative input.”
“We are so excited to build on what they have created and further execute and elevate a combined vision,” says Freihon, who took over Towill’s ownership share in The Fat Radish, which he co-founded in 2010. The Fat Radish’s cookbook, published in 2014, was authored by Towill and Winser.
According to the release, The Fat Radishers will honor Basic Kitchen’s “original concept of a beautiful space that offers honest food that’s good for you,” while developing a new cocktail menu and biodynamic wine list.
From the start, the owners of Basic Kitchen have stressed they wanted their Harleston Village restaurant to be somewhere “you can eat at two or three days a week.” Apparently, though, customers weren’t scheduling their repeat visits for the evening, since the main thrust of The Fat Radish’s makeover campaign is to “overhaul and expand” dinner service.
Currently, the dinner menu at The Fat Radish includes a steak-and-potatoes, chicken Kiev and a Scotch egg, in addition to Thai curry and avocado toast. By contrast, Basic Kitchen’s standing dinner menu is an almost exact replica of its lunch menu, with fish tacos and a lamb burger among the most elaborate dishes.
While the Savannah restaurant will bear the Fat Radish name, Basic Kitchen will continue to be known as Basic Kitchen, spokeswoman Melinda Wood says.