[image-1]It’s no secret true oceanfront dining is limited in the greater Charleston area. Sure we’ve got harbor-side spaces and plenty of marshy views, but straight up oceanfront? We can count those on both hands. So it’s no wonder that Jon Weitz, CEO of Avocet Hospitality (Vendue, BLU Restaurant, Tides Hotel), jumped at a chance to bid on Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission’s Edwin S. Taylor Fishing Pier restaurant on Folly. But it wasn’t just the fact that the pier is within throwing distance of his Tides Hotel. Instead, Weitz says he jumped at the bid when he got wind that Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville chain was interested in the site.

“I couldn’t let that happen,” he says. “Folly people would hate that, but ultimately it would have crushed my business. Every tourist would want to go to Margaritaville.” So he says he made an aggressive bid in hopes of keeping the spot local. (According to the Parks department, Buffett’s enterprises never made a bid).

In October, it was announced that Avocet had won the bid and would be taking over the property from Locklear’s who had been there for the past 11 years. Now, with a new name — Pier 101 — new menu, and entirely updated look comes a new era for pier dining, one that includes strolling the 1,045 feet pier stretch cocktail in hand.

“We built that outside bar so now you can order a drink and walk the pier with it. You can’t take drinks on the beach, but you can do it up here,” says Weitz. Pier 101’s menu has all the classic beach cocktails — Mai Tai ($9), Mojito ($8), Margarita ($8), but the one that gets marquee designation on the menu is the Kokomo ($9). Made with Smirnoff Coconut, Disaronno, creme de cacoa, and cream of coconut, it tastes like a White Russian on vacation.

The food menu is your standard seaside fare — fish sandwiches, fried baskets, and burgers. And it’s all served up in a clean white space with pops of yellow. A big bar with a garage door window opens oceanside so you can take in the breeze while you eat.

Pier 101 opens on Mon. March 20 at 11 a.m.

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