The Secret’s Out
Two of our personal favorites were recently voted “Local Secrets, Big Finds” on Travelocity (that’s the website with the talking lawn gnome). Jack’s Cosmic Dogs in Mt. Pleasant and Ted’s Butcher Block on East Bay were listed among South Carolina’s five secrets in the state. Jack’s is lauded for capturing the “nostalgia of youth when hot dog stands and ice cream trucks held sway,” while Ted’s is toasted for “specialty ingredients, fresh pastas, and made-to-order sandwiches,” as well as a friendly staff. A “locals” hotline has been set up to allow both the winning venues and their loyal patrons to call and leave a message, describing what makes them so amazingly awesome. Some of the messages will be used by radio stations across the nation as sound bites to promote Travelocity. So go ahead and give a shout-out to Jack and Ted. The hotline number is (877) 771-2007. —Liz Robinson

Fat Hen Finally Roosts
Johns Islanders are probably fat and happy right about now, clucking about their new restaurant. Chef Fred Neuville’s Fat Hen finally opened its doors last Friday in the old St. Johns Island Cafe space, and locals have been scratching at the dirt, anxious to get in there and cram their beaks with French Huguenot-inspired Lowcountry fare. The lunch and dinner menu range from down-home cooking to fancier plates, with most of the dishes falling somewhere in the middle. For lunch and brunch, you’ll find crème brûlée French toast served with Grand Marnier and strawberries alongside burgers and fries and mac and cheese. For dinner, you’ll find seared duck breast, grouper, and hickory-smoked barbecue brisket. Looks like a menu designed to keep islanders happy for years to come, similar to Rue de Jean’s enduring popularity. —Liz Robinson

A Trusted Expansion
Justin Broome and Ian Johnson have always had big plans for The Trusted Palate, their wine retail store and bar on Upper King Street. Within a matter of days, The Trusted Palate will reopen as a wine bar, lounge, and restaurant. According to Broome, that’s been the plan all along. The restaurant will have a European flavor, with imported meats, charcuterie, cheeses, and local and organic ingredients from retailers such as Johns Island farmer Celeste Albers. They also promise a selection of classic European wines, with a focus on natural winemaking and what Johnson calls terroir wines, which boast a distinct sense of place derived from a given wine’s origins. As for the lounge, five swank living-room areas will provide elegant atmosphere and luxurious vibes, making The Trusted Palate a nightlife triple-threat. —Josh Rosenthal