As Mainstays Depart, Charleston Asks Where Its Restaurant Scene Is Headed

When Hominy Grill opened in 1996, the town’s Navy base and shipyard was closing. Civic leaders turned with new dedication to tourism. To say they succeeded is an understatement.

More than seven million vacationers a yr crowd Charleston’s charming streets, some with properties that date to the early 1700s. Even on a weekday evening, the town appears stuffed with bachelorettes tumbling out of Uber automobiles, culinary vacationers angling for tables and wide-eyed cruise ship passengers, 225,000 of whom arrived in 2018.

The feel-good machine doesn’t appear to cease. The Charleston Wine & Food Festival, which Ms. Dupree helped begin in 2006, packs in 30,000 folks every year, and is so widespread that NBC’s “Today” present broadcast dwell from the occasion in March. For eight years in a row, the town has topped Condé Nast Traveler’s record of the most effective small American cities. Southern Living readers picked it because the South’s finest metropolis for 2019. It has held the highest spot on Travel & Leisure journal’s best-cities record for six years in a row.

As a outcome, the town is in the course of the largest lodge and restaurant increase in its historical past.

The eating places Mr. Brock as soon as presided over have modified, too, though the identical restaurant group nonetheless owns them. Husk has spawned sister eating places in Greenville, S.C., and Nashville, neither of which he’s concerned with anymore. McCrady’s, a historic restaurant that Mr. Brock helped reinvent in 2006, used to function dishes like his beet au poivre, through which the vegetable was pressure-cooked, dehydrated and coated in peppercorns so it introduced like dry-aged New York strip steak. Now the one beet dish on the menu is a salad wearing raspberry French dressing.

Next door at Minero, the Mexican restaurant he began, a sandwich board on the road beckons prospects with the promise of tequila and TV, not the nixtamalized masa handmade from heirloom corn.

“You look at the number of restaurants and the amount of people who are coming and the size of the talent pool, and it doesn’t add up anymore,” Mr. Brock mentioned.

He just isn’t as involved as some. “The great adjustment happening in Charleston isn’t necessarily a bad thing,” he mentioned. “It will be easier to sift through the ashes and see what’s important. What’s left will be the thing that moves it forward.”

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