So much for late-night sherry sessions at Saint Alban

hraskin@postandcourier.com

When Brooks Reitz first started talking about plans for Saint Alban, he emphasized sherry, olives and cheese. But it turned out that what Charlestonians wanted most was a cup of coffee.

Starting tomorrow, Saint Alban will do away with its evening hours in order to focus on its hugely popular daytime service.

“I did not expect to be this busy in the morning,” Reitz admits. “So rather than stay open until 11 p.m., we’re going to embrace the morning and afternoon and close at 7 p.m.”

The schedule shift will be accompanied by an enhanced menu, featuring more baked goods and lunch items. Saint Alban has hired a baker so it can handle pastries in-house, although EVO will continue to supply baguettes and boules; new scones and muffins debut tomorrow.

Reitz said it quickly became evident that Saint Alban’s tiny kitchen couldn’t handle the daytime crush. “We’re putting in a walk-in immediately,” he says. Rearranging the food prep space also allows for the creation of a garde manger station, so the restaurant can offer more salads.

Saint Alban is also likely to start hosting ticketed dinners prepared by guest chefs, adds Reitz, who believes the cafe is especially beautiful by night. But sunlight streaming through the streetside windows seems to have resonated with customers.

“It speaks to people as a daytime thing,” Reitz says. “And I think the coffee element having been stressed from the get-go: It’s a morning ritual. Once it gets set, it’s ingrained. We have this great pool of regulars two weeks in.”

Located at 710 King Street, Saint Alban still open at 7 a.m. six days a week and at 8 a.m. on Sundays.