Say aloha to some Kona coffee — the Bad Ass franchise is about to touch down. Hawaiian company Bad Ass Coffee is slated to open five different stores in South Carolina starting in March. Publicist Amber Hawkins says the company is currently scoping sites in the downtown region of Charleston, but will start by opening in the Five Points area in Columbia. “Bad Ass is very Hawaiian; Jimmy Buffet meets Maui style,” says Hawkins. Starbucks may have to loosen their aprons to compete, because patrons may change allegiance when they sample what Hawkins called Bad Ass’ signature “aloha spirit.” —Kinsey Labberton


Blame Castro. Cuban-themed restaurant Avondale Station has closed its doors. Skipper Condon, owner and member of the Condon family restaurant group (Tommy Condon’s, Bocci’s, A.W. Shucks) says, “We had a dedicated, small following, but the Cuban concept just wasn’t working out. We’re anticipating opening a new concept middle of March.” Condon was hesitant to offer more details, but did reveal that the neighborhood could look forward to a more “all-American grill” style restaurant very soon. —KL


The February issue of Southern Living unveils the 2006 readers’ choice awards, and Charleston fared pretty well, garnering the best Southern City distinction — “hands down the most beloved city in the South.” Runners up were Savannah, New Orleans, and Atlanta. Magnolias won best splurge restaurant, beating out the esteemed Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. Third place went to Charleston Grill and fourth to 82 Queen. Charleston also got recognized for its fabulous shopping, second only to Atlanta. Two Meeting Street Inn and Charleston Place also received accolades. —KL

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