Sitting together at a long wooden dining table in their rambling, boho Westside house, Jeremiah and Jillian Schenzel, the parents of three girls all under four — three and a half year old twins and a three month old — glance casually at each other, “well, you go first.”
The F&B vets are both opening new restaurants in their Westside hood. Jeremiah’s breakfast spot Daps, an all-day breakfast spot, will be opening “really soon” and in the past six months Jillian, owner of Semilla Mexican food truck, has procured the old Lee Lee’s Hot Kitchen space. Both buildings are a stone’s throw from the Schenzel abode.
Managing the opening of two entirely different brick and mortars with three tiny humans under your feet? “We’re just getting it all done,” says Jill with the ease of a prophetic saint. The couple supports each other in their endeavors, they say, but the two businesses are totally separate.
“While I’m involved a little, because we’re married, it’s still her business,” Jeremiah says of Jill’s Semilla. “It’s nice from a business standpoint to have someone who understands the industry. We’ve both been in different realms of F&B, so it’s good to see it from a different point of view.”
“We’re not sure if it’s a good thing yet or if it will be crazy to walk two feet to either place,” laughs Jill. She says there’s no date set yet for the Semilla’s brick and mortar — they’re working on the building and dealing with permits — but they plan to blow up the concept for nighttime, with a slightly different menu.
Jeremiah, who has done everything from working in the kitchen at Macintosh to building drink programs for Indigo Road, is pretty elated that he finally gets to open his own space, in his own neighborhood. “I’ve never lived off a three block radius from here,” Jeremiah says, referring to the the Westside neighborhood. “I love living downtown … it’s important for my restaurant to be in a neighborhood I live in.”
“We have a restaurant on either side of the street and it’s very kismet for that to all happen,” says Jill. Fated, perhaps, like the first time they met. Jeremiah relays the details like it was yesterday:
“So my business partner knew Jill’s brother from D.C. and they had just moved here to open a restaurant. I was in between jobs and had just gotten back from sort of a soul searching vacation. It was the day after Jill and her brother moved here, and we all met at the Spoleto Finale at Middleton. When we left, I looked at my business partner and said ‘I’m gonna date that girl.'”
“A year later we got engaged at the Finale,” says Jill. Kismet indeed.
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City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.