The former head chef of SALT at Station 22, who endeared himself to customers with delicate soups, crab beignets and duck confit pizza, has accepted a job at a celebrated cocktail bar in St. Augustine, Fla.
Laird Boles considered a number of Florida-based offers before settling on the executive chef position at The Ice Plant, says Robin Canfield, another one-time SALT employee who will join The Ice Plant as a bartender.
“Laird is really excited to bring his talents to their kitchen,” Canfield says. “We’re really excited about the opportunity to join such an amazing team.”
SALT at Station 22 unexpectedly closed for renovations on the cusp of Restaurant Week in January, forcing many of its employees to find work elsewhere. It reopened on Feb. 5 with Charles Arena as executive chef; Boles had served in the role since 2013, when the longstanding Sullivan’s Island restaurant was rebranded with a new name and menu.
“His sauces were light and so flavorful, without a ton of salt,” writes reader Ann Lewis, who was especially fond of a summertime pasta with bay scallops and fresh corn. “We ate there at least once a month.”
Arena, a College of Charleston graduate, oversees all of the kitchens associated with the Crew Carolina restaurant group. In addition to SALT, his responsibilities include the Boathouse at Breach Inlet and the forthcoming Ellis Creek Fish Camp on James Island.
“He ran The Boathouse on East Bay when it was one of the only restaurants in the area that offered sushi and is very well trained,” spokeswoman Heather Sjostrom adds.
The new menu emphasizes classic beachside dishes, such as fried shrimp; fried oysters and crab cakes, along with pizzas, pastas and sushi rolls. According to a press release, the appearance of sushi at SALT is “just the prologue for what’s in store.”
“The restaurant is unscathed from the recent closing,” Sjostrom says. “Minor repairs were made, (a) new menu created and staff hired.”
SALT at Station 22, 2205 Middle St., is open Mon.-Thurs., 5 p.m.-9 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Sjostrom says brunch is in the works. For more information, call 883-3355 or visit saltstation22.com.