We first met Chef Joseph Jacobson four years ago when he was chef de cuisine at Oak. There the young grillardin had worked his way up from server assistant to expediter, pantry cook to chef de cuisine, and finally executive chef. So we weren’t surprised when, just a year after later, Indigo Road handed Jacobson the keys to the kitchen of their new Columbia outpost, The Oak Table. Now the West Ashley native has returned home and taken over Sweeney’s in the process.
Jacobson, the third executive chef to serve the modern restaurant (following chefs Jared Secor and Adam Cloyes), says he plans to use his skills to continue the spot’s American menu with influences from “local and seasonal ingredients sourced within rural Charleston and cultivated by the strong relationships developed with these fishermen, farmers, and specialty purveyors” according to a press release.
Interestingly, when CP reviewed Sweeney’s in Oct. 2013, writer Angela Hanyak noted that “despite its proximity to the hip downtown Charleston food scene and some of the richest Lowcountry farms, Sweeney’s finds no reason to advertise its nearness to either.” Perhaps with Jacobson’s arrival, Sweeney’s is now ready to maximize on its close quarters to area purveyors.
Either way, Jacobson comes to the John’s Island restaurant with seven trips to the James Beard House under his belt, 18 years of cooking experience, and, according to his wife Allison Jacobson, “the desire to attract guests from all parts of Charleston to come out and escape the congestion of downtown to enjoy a casually intimate dining experience with American cuisine sourced locally and to be a part of the ‘family’ that Sweeney’s has created.”