If you’ve been to a new restaurant in the Charleston area in the past few years, chances are Shuai and Corrie Wang got there first.
Since launching Short Grain Food Truck in 2014, the Wangs have been hunting for a space to house the restaurant they envisioned opening when they moved here from New York City. Their criteria evolved, they say, so some of the sites they at first turned down later seemed like prime locations. But their funding and feelings didn’t line up until they found 4628 Spruill Ave., where they plan to open Jackrabbit Filly.
“We looked at where Semilla is, where Pancito & Lefty was, where Graft Wine is,” Shuai Wang says. “But when you know, you know. We picked Park Circle because we live there and love the neighborhood.”
The Wangs are partnering with current Park Circle commercial residents Stems & Skins on the 55-seat restaurant, scheduled to open this summer. Co-owner Matt Tunstall will run the beverage program, co-owner Angie Tunstall will serve as Jackrabbit Filly’s general manager and co-owner Justin Croxall will provide behind-the-scenes support.
Corrie Wang’s precise role hasn’t been determined, partly because she’s publishing another young adult novel this fall. But Shuai Wang is in charge of the menu, which has taken a Chinese turn since the couple first announced plans for a fixed location.
Initially, the Wangs described Jackrabbit Filly as a Japanese izakaya. But they’ve now settled on “(a) celebration of local farmers and fishermen inspired by Japanese cuisine, but fueled by Chinese heritage,” as their elevator pitch. Wang’s heritage even came into play when the two chose the restaurant’s name, which refers to both of their Chinese Zodiac signs. The same figures appear on their wedding bands.
Although Wang estimates Chinese comfort foods will occupy about half of the menu, he plans to keep serving customer favorites, such as “The O.G.,” a chirashi bowl, and Japanese-style fried chicken.
“We’ll do Sunday dim sum brunch, as well,” he adds. “We’ll figure out how to pull that off: Maybe hire my mom and grandma.”
For the next month, Short Grain will continue its residency at Edmund’s Oast Brewing Company on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. It’s reviving its popular guest chef series, “Ramen with Friends,” in January, and plans to mark Chinese New Year before clearing its calendar of pop-ups to focus on restaurant development. To stay abreast of the Wangs’ progress, visit shortgrainfoodtruck.com.