Holy City Hogs owner Tank Jackson is bringing back his weekly experiential dinners at Lo-Fi Brewing after a six-week hiatus, restarting the series Tuesday with an evening featuring Pink Cactus owner Brooke Warden and Mama Arepas pop-up owner Ana Alexandra.
Titled “Tank on Tuesday,” the weekly dinners feature a three to five course collaborative menu with local restaurants using ingredients from South Carolina farms. Kwei Fei’s David Schuttenberg, Jackrabbit Filly’s Shuai Wang and Gillie’s Seafood’s Sean Mendes are some of the notable chefs that took part in the Tuesday night dinner series earlier this summer.
The last Tank on Tuesday was held on July 14 and featured Chubby Fish executive chef James London, Red Drum executive chef Ben Berryhill and former Top Chef contestant Emily Hahn, who now works at Tarvin Seafood.
Jackson, known as a master of swine delivering the heritage breed pork raised on his Wadmalaw Island farm to restaurants throughout the Lowcountry, is combining his passion for whole hog cooking with a desire to assist local farmers with the dinner series.
“I was trying to come up with a creative way to partner with local chefs and get the buzz going about local farmers’ ingredients,” Jackson said.
Several of the farmers he’s spoken to are having trouble selling certain products due to the pandemic, Jackson said. Every Monday and Tuesday, he visits some of these farmers to purchase their undervalued crops for the dinner at Lo-Fi before connecting with the participating restaurant to discuss a menu.
“The menus change every week and we’re having a different guest chef,” Jackson said. “We let them know the ingredients and they’re kind of Iron Chef-ing it out.”
Since the beginning of Tank on Tuesday in May, Jackson and his cohort of chefs have cooked with products from Rooting Down Farms, Lowland Farms, Tarvin Seafood, Barrier Island Oyster Company, Joseph Fields Farms, Spade and Clover Gardens and Murray’s Heirlooms, just to name a few.
Jackson aims to highlight these unique local ingredients throughout each meal. One dish, for instance, featured a juicy Lowland Farms watermelon drizzled with St. Croix heirloom purple ribbon sugar cane from Wadmalaw Island’s Sugah Daddy Farms.
“It’s like a supper club and it’s all about having fun,” he said. “It’s as close to a fancy chef’s tasting menu that you’re going to get right now.”
Tank on Tuesday isn’t just getting the word out about local farms — it’s also helping Lo-Fi Brewing increase business on what used to be an off night, Lo-Fi owner Jason Caughman said.
“Obviously the restaurants, farmers and breweries are having difficult times, and he had the idea to support some local folks,” Caughman said. “Before the coronavirus, we weren’t even open on Tuesday. Three or four months ago, Tuesday was zero dollars and now Tuesday is one of our biggest days of the week all of a sudden thanks to Tank.”
To accommodate guests and comply with social distancing standards, Caughman has changed the layout of the brewery.
“We’ve got a couch and a few chairs inside that a few people could get, but otherwise, we have these nice 10-foot picnic tables that we moved outside,” he said. “I went to Lowe’s with my mask on and bought some umbrellas, and all of a sudden we’ve got a makeshift patio out there.”
The new patio is just the start. Lo-Fi recently updated its stage and sound system in order to host weekly socially distanced shows with artists like Daddy’s Beemer and Chris Wilcox. Caughman also plans to make other changes as the brewery transitions to a more retail-focused operation.
“With everything changing, we’re about to paint the building and put up new fences and do some stuff over the next few months,” he said. “We’ve been open for four years, and our model in the past has been mostly wholesale, but with the uncertainty, we’re looking to up our retail experience. It’s good for us, good for the customer, good for everyone.”
Tank on Tuesday “The Return” starts at 7 p.m on Sept. 1. The following night, Lo-Fi will host a watch party for Rodney Scott’s episode of Chef’s Table, which lands on Netflix on Wednesday Sept. 2.
Jackson, who makes an appearance in the episode, will team up with Daps Breakfast & Imbibe’s Nick Dowling and Jeremiah Schenzel to serve a celebratory meal, and Scott “will make a cameo but will not be cooking,” according to Jackson.
For more information on Tank on Tuesday, follow Lo-Fi Brewing on Instagram @lofibrewing.
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