Following a second unsuccessful attempt to lure customers into Saint Alban for dinner, the café’s owners today announced they’re reinventing the venue as Little Jack’s Tavern, a full-service bar and restaurant.
Saint Alban will continue to operate across the street at 721 King Street.
“Having just received our liquor license for 710 King, we believe that location is better suited to a full-service restaurant with a heartier evening focused experience,” co-owner Brooks Reitz says. “And despite the reception for our dinner service, it became clear that Charleston thinks of Saint Alban as more of a coffee shop that a cafe or restaurant.”
When Saint Alban opened in January, it offered small sandwiches, vermouths and other light continental fare in the evenings. But customer traffic dwindled before dusk, so the café imposed an earlier closing hour. It last month launched a dedicated dinner menu featuring merguez sausage and squid ink linguine, but even Saint Alban’s most loyal fans apparently weren’t comfortable dining at tables they associated with work-related meetings and skim lattes.
The menu for Little Jack’s isn’t yet available, but Reitz says it will feature “familiar-but-smart pub standards.” In order to serve lunch and dinner seven days a week, the space will gain a new kitchen, as well as a new chef; Reitz says they’re now discussing the project with interested candidates.
During the transition, which may take a few months, Saint Alban will open from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. daily in its current location.
Part of the process of becoming Little Jack’s, in addition to switching the soundtrack from Django Reinhradt to the Rolling Stones, involves redesigning the dining room with upholstered banquettes; different artwork and an expanded bar.
“It will feel like a new joint, and we look forward to bringing it to life,” Reitz says.