Diner Food Goes Uptown, Upscale

Uptown: A Finer Diner is hoping to bring some classy, yet basic food to downtown as it prepares to open in the old Bookstore Cafe location at 412 King St. Slightly reminiscent of the location’s previous inhabitants, the new spot will be serving the type of food you’d expect from a diner: filling, satisfying, comfort food that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. They do hope to refine the usual diner experience somewhat, sprucing up recipes with ingredients uncharacteristic of most greasy spoons. They’ve dubbed it “sophisticated comfort food.” The idea for the semi-oxymoronic establishment comes from brothers and co-owners Gary and Greg Odachowski, who currently run a Charleston-based executive search firm for the hospitality and restaurant industries. The question is whether this new joint will be able to find a niche amongst the many mid-range eateries that already inhabit the ever-increasingly competitive Charleston restaurant scene. Let’s hope Uptown will be able to hang downtown. –Matthew Gannon

Hiro For-Sake Me Not

Word on the street was that Sushi Hiro was undergoing some changes … new ownership? A possible name change? New staff? Alas, your Hiro does not forsake you, be at ease. While Sushi Hiro has new owners and is saying goodbye to an employee who has joined the armed forces, the favorite sushi spot will remain as is, transforming sticky rice and seaweed into masterfully edible creations, serving up the same grub, from sashimi to shrimp tempura rolls to hot sake. And Hiro himself will remain a constant source of inspiration for the new owners, who hope to keep his expertise on display as much as possible. –MG

Small Plates Come to Daniel Island

After the recent closing of downtown’s Charleston Chops, former executive chef Jeff Gibbs has landed at Arlaana, teaming up with chef/owner Chuck Black and his wife Aarlana to create a brand-new tapas restaurant on Daniel Island. Arlaana’s incredibly diverse assortment of dishes aims to expose guests to “food from all around the world and let them experience cultures without having to leave their seat,” according to Arlaana Black. The choices range from top grade sashimi, vegetable pad Thai, and duck confit to she-crab soup, salmon ceasar berbere, and grilled venison. The artfully ambitious owners hope to create “a backdrop to a painting, where the guests are the canvas. We want people to have an experience, not just food.” –Matthew Gannon

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