Raskin Around: Remembering Chris West

High Cotton has added brunch on Saturdays.

Christopher West was a much-loved member of the local food and beverage community, but there was never any question that the native Charlestonian identified himself as a writer first: The word was tattooed on his forearm in such a way it could be read whether you were standing alongside him or seated on the opposite side of the bar.

“That’s part of why he liked working F&B,” West’s friend and former employer Garret McNally, owner of Mac’s Place, recalls. “He got stories from it.”

Before West died on Jan. 4 at the age of 40, he was working three nights a week at The Griffon pub, the last in a long string of Charleston restaurants and bars. He also was a regular contributor to Skope, a music magazine based in Boston.

West briefly lived in Boston but returned to Charleston a few years ago, saying the city was too expensive. He came back to his hometown an avid Red Sox fan, unable to shake a nickname he’d picked up before he left. Although friends say everybody knew West, The Griffon’s co-owner Scott London says he could always tell which patrons were longtime friends, because they referred to West as “Fish,” for reasons London still doesn’t know.

West is survived by his mother and father, Judy and Terry W. West; brother, Bryan West; sister, Terri L. Fox; and two nephews, James Haselden Jr. and Aiden Fox.

Charleston’s love for brunch is so passionate that another downtown restaurant is adding Saturday hours to its Benedict schedule.

As of last weekend, High Cotton is serving its standard brunch menu from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays. Available items include Lowcountry huevos rancheros, grilled salmon salad and Southern breakfast cassoulet.

“We feel offering brunch on Saturdays will only enhance the experience at High Cotton,” general manager Jill Maynard is quoted as saying in a release.

High Cotton is the only Maverick Southern Kitchens restaurant serving brunch on Saturdays, but the meal is a fixture at downtown restaurants including Virginia’s on King, Eli’s Table and Poogan’s Porch.

Charlestonians should have an easy time keeping an eye on at least two of the entities named to Imbibe Magazine’s second annual list of people, places and flavors to watch in 2014: The owners of High Wire Distilling Co. and Edmund’s Oast are among the 75 selections.

The beverage magazine this month released its best-of round-up, showcasing “who looks to have an interesting vision moving into the year ahead.” Beyond Charleston, Imbibe singled out Portland, Ore.’s Mark Hellweg in the coffee category, Greg Engert of Washington in the beer division, and Houston’s Alba Huerta and Bobby Huegel for their bartending prowess.

Imbibe saluted High Wire owners Scott Blackwell and Ann Marshall’s willingness to experiment, citing their sorghum whiskey as an example of their “culinary approach.” And while Edmund’s Oast is still at least a few weeks away from opening, the magazine praised the brewhouse’s plans to tinker with Old World recipes and wild yeast.

The Imbibe 75 issue is available now through Feb. 28. According to the Imbibe website, Books-A-Million and Whole Foods Market are among the magazine’s local purveyors.

Italian ingredients and an Italian chef are the starring players in Tristan’s next wine dinner, scheduled for Sunday.

Tristan’s chef Nate Whiting is collaborating with Villa San Carlo Hotel and Restaurant’s Carlo Zarri on a five-course meal featuring black truffles and hazelnuts. The menu includes king prawn tails fried in hazelnut tempura, truffle risotto and hazelnut sponge cake with pear custard.

The cost of the 6:30 p.m. dinner is $140. For reservations, call 534-2155 or email rachael@tristandining.com.

Perhaps hoping to lure a few customers away from their favorite chicken joints before the Super Bowl, East Coast Wings & Grill this week celebrated the grand opening of its first Charleston area location.

The North Carolina-based chain’s 26th store is in Mount Pleasant Towne Centre, 1909 U.S. Highway 17.

East Coast Wings & Grill was founded almost 20 years ago as an independent restaurant. A pair of entrepreneurs in 2001 purchased the concept, described to potential franchisees as “family friendly, with a much higher-than-average ticket.”

The East Coast menu features wings and shrimp in 75 flavors and nine heat levels, sandwiches, burgers and salads. This month’s featured flavor is cheddar jalapeno. Other available flavors include sesame, sweet Vidalia onion, Cajun ranch, coco mango, mango bango and mango habanero.

For more info, go to the restaurant’s Facebook page, http://on.fb.me/1m0UZCo.

A farmer’s market with a strong emphasis on sustainability debuted on Johns Island this past Saturday.

According to HomeGrown’s mission statement, “Only smart, safe farming practices are allowed here, we promise.” Market manager Frasier Block reports the market has thus far recruited 20 farmers and vendors. Participants include Compost in My Shoe, Spade & Clover Gardens, Sol Haven Farm, Botany Bay Sea Salt and Holy Smoke Smoked Olive Oil.

Conceived as a “one-stop-shop for everything on your shopping list,” HomeGrown is produced by A Snappy Event.

HomeGrown will convene every other Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The market is at 3546 Maybank Highway.

A new project associated with Butcher & Bee came before the Board of Architectural Review last week.

David Thompson Architects, the firm responsible for the design of Butcher & Bee, asked the board to grant conceptual approval for renovation of 652 King St., a 1940s building roughly in front of the popular restaurant. According to the agenda, the renovations will include “new windows, paint and tile.”

It’s impossible to tell from the submitted sketches exactly what’s in store for the venue, and owner Michael Shemtov is staying mum on the subject. But there are a few illustrated hints: Whatever is within the building will be known as The Daily, By Butcher & Bee. In the drawings, baguettes and beer growlers are visible through the frosted windows. So perhaps it’s a provisions shop? Have a look for yourself at charleston-sc.gov/index.aspx?NID=293.

It’s not just adults who start thinking about slimming down in January: Louie’s Kids, a local organization fighting childhood obesity, is urging families to make dietary changes this month.

“Eating out doesn’t have to break your belly bank,” says founder Louis Yuhasz, who’s hoping eaters of all ages will start ordering healthier items at restaurants. He’s specifically hoping they order the bison burger at SOL Southwest Kitchen and Tequila Bar, since the Mount Pleasant restaurant has pledged to donate $1 from every sale to Louie’s Kids.

The fundraiser runs until Feb. 10.

Although Fish recently did away with its lunchtime deal, the downtown restaurant hasn’t yet quit offering sale prices before sundown.

The revamped Happy Hour menu, which runs every day from 4:30-7 p.m., features a selection of small plates and discounted drinks. On Mondays and Wednesdays, the cost of cheese plates and bottles of wine under $90 is marked down 50 percent. On Fridays and Saturdays, the food special is $6 dumplings. Six bucks also buys mussels and fries on Tuesdays, a French-Asian small plate on Thursdays and noodle bowls on Sundays.

House wine, well liquor and house champagne are priced at $4 a drink during Happy Hour.

For more, go to fish restaurantcharleston.com.