Little Miss Ha and Two Fat Olives will be taking up residence at Workshop this fall, giving two women-owned businesses a shot at working out their concepts, and perhaps one day moving on to owning their own standalone restaurants.
But the odds are against them. Since opening in May 2017, Workshop, billed as an exploratory food hall, has incubated 14 restaurant concepts, with Slice the only one moving on to a brick-and-mortar location.
Little Miss Ha started as a Vietnamese pop-up at the original Butcher & Bee space on King Street, with Hudgins and her mother, father and brother serving dishes based on her mother's recipes. At the time, Hudgins was on spring roll duty, but a few years ago decided to learn her mother's recipes. After mastering them, she launched Little Miss Ha last fall, offering catering and cooking classes.
The next step is taking over a Workshop stall on Oct. 15; the space is currently operated by Pink Bellies.
Hudgins will be previewing her food at a pop-up this Thursday at The Daily, with dishes like shrimp fritters with battered sweet potato ($7), spring rolls ($6), Shaking Beef Salad ($12) and beef or vegetarian pho ($14/$12). The pop-up starts at 6 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m., or until the food runs out.
Two Fat Olives is another concept born out of a mother's skill in the kitchen, this time with Italian food. Brittaney Hutson, a native Charlestonian, says pasta is her comfort food, probably because her mother made a lot of Italian. The two will join forces at Workshop, preparing fresh pasta, meatballs, eggplant Parmesan, lasagna and other familiar Italian dishes.
Hutson, a military veteran, says she has long fantasized about opening a restaurant, an idea she shared with her mother. "Having worked in the ER, I see how quickly things can change, so I decided to go for it. To take that leap of faith," she says. Her first step was securing loans and buying a food truck last April. It's currently being fabricated and should be ready to roll in a couple months.
If they can work out the staffing, Hutson's plan is to run both the stall and the truck. Her tenure at Workshop will be at least six months.
Two Fat Olives, named for the signature stuffed and fried olives that will accompany every dish, will preview some of their menu this Wednesday and Thursday at Workshop before launching full service this weekend.
"I'm excited, terrified and oddly calm all at the same time," she says.