Benny Palmetto’s, which just over a year ago opened its first South Carolina location in Mt. Pleasant, is coming to King Street.
The chain plans to open near the corner of King and Reid streets, in the building partially occupied by the George’s Loan and Music Company. Owner Erin Haselkorn says the pizzeria is aiming for an early 2017 opening date, contingent on the pace of the permitting process.
“We’re really excited to go into a downtown space,” Haselkorn says. “Charleston has been great to us, and we’re excited to serve the community in a new way downtown.”
George’s Loan and Music Company owner Alan Rovick says he’ll keep operating the 80-year-old store, but wanted to take advantage of current business conditions by selling off the half of the building he used for storage and tool display.
“It’s all bars and restaurants,” Rovick says, adding that it’s hard for a retail business to thrive without other retailers around it. “So we decided to try to boost our bottom line by liquidating that area. For now, though, we’re staying and sticking.”
Rovick is considering renting out additional space at 516 King St. as offices.
Haselkorn and her husband, both College of Charleston alums, were connected to the Virginia-based restaurant through mutual friends; the chain is best known for 28-inch pies, sold whole or by-the-slice. In addition to pizza, the location on Coleman Boulevard offers beer and wine, but Haselkorn says the downtown store will be dry.
Otherwise, the second area location will exactly mirror the first, except it will be slightly smaller at 1200-square-feet.
Each location bears its own customized Italian name: Benny Palmetto’s sister restaurants include Benny’s Vitali’s, Benny’s Damato’s and Benny Scarpetta’s. The store on King Street will be known as Benny’s Ravello’s.
“It wasn’t in the lease, but we’re expecting free pizza for life,” Rovick says, laughing.