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Vivian Howard's Lenoir is now open in downtown Charleston

Vivian Howard’s first sit-down South Carolina restaurant is serving fried collard greens; butterbean agnolotti with country ham broth and crudo with buttermilk nuoc cham, but to fully grasp what the celebrity chef has in mind for Lenoir, it’s worth noting that its flagship item is a patty melt.

In the weeks leading up to Lenoir’s opening at the Renaissance Charleston Historic District Hotel, Howard flipped patty melts at a promotional pop-up and added them to the lunchtime lineup at Handy & Hot, her adjoining bakery.

As Howard envisions a patty melt, it’s topped with two kinds of cheeses, caramelized onions and pickled green tomatoes. The latter accoutrement is a nod to Howard’s eastern North Carolina agricultural roots, which are also evident in the new restaurant’s décor and other menu items.

But patty melts and burgers, which were the central theme of Howard’s now-closed Boiler Room in Kinston, N.C., are also in line with the comfortable setting that Howard is aiming to create.

Lenoir, 68 Wentworth St., is open 5-9:30 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. To learn more, visit

Reach Hanna Raskin at 843-937-5560 and follow her on Twitter @hannaraskin.

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