Five Guys to Conquer King Street?

There is no shortage of awesome burgers in the downtown vicinity. Let’s see, just off the top of my head you’ve got Rue de Jean, Moe’s, Vickery’s, A.C.’s. So what does Five Guys think it’s doing by plopping itself down on King Street? Does it really think it can break off a piece of the downtown burger market? Well, it probably can. We’ve spilled plenty of ink praising Five Guys’ delicious burgers. In last year’s Best of Charleston issue, food critic Jeff Allen surely drooled all over himself as he wrote: “One brown sack at Five Guys contains enough gut-busting flavor to keep you holed up in there for hours, making Five Guys the best place around to get a burger and bag full of hand-cut, steaming hot fries in under 15 minutes.” So, we’re going to hold off on bashing this burger chain, because, well, because we like it. According to the managers of the Mt. Pleasant and West Ashley locations, Five Guys will be moving into the old Cold Stone Creamery location smack dab in the heart of King Street’s College of Charleston district, just south of Calhoun. They expect to be open by mid-summer. —Stephanie Barna

Later Miss Ellie, Hello Eddie

Friday last, I headed out for a Daniel Island lunch and noticed that Miss Ellie’s Island Soul was closed up tight. I drove by the old storefront to make sure it was indeed kaput. . . and there was a brand new banner saying “Now Open: Eddie’s Bistro.” Later the same morning, a nice young man in a tie came into the lobby at Benefit Focus with a stack of new Eddie’s menus to pass around the building. So, I grabbed one. Eddie’s is open for business, and the menu is ambitiously upscale, with a fusion of Asian and Lowcountry and a bunch of other stuff. Eddie’s, I must admit, seems much more in tune with the general Daniel Island aesthetic than a fried chicken joint. But, these are interesting times for restaurateurs, and we’ll keep an eye out for how things unfold. —Robert Moss

Ali Baba

Just down the block from the aforementioned Eddie’s Bistro, another new Daniel Island restaurant has opened: Ali Baba Mediterranean Deli. I waited in a line 20 deep for a mixed grill platter that included unbelievable chicken souvlaki and lamb and beef gyros alongside perhaps the best hummus I’ve ever tasted. Ali Baba is a new venture from Samir and Yasmeen Elzabidi, natives of Jordan who have been running the Subway franchise on Daniel Island since 2004. This new restaurant, designed by the same architect responsible for Oak, Mercato, and Peninsula Grill, is definitely several unique steps away from a franchised sandwich shop. Another Ali Baba is set to open in the former Alair Bistro spot on Houston Northcutt. —Robert Moss

More Italian

It seems like as far as food trends go, Italian is the new Italian. More Italian restaurants will be opening soon. Out on Johns Island, Wild Olive is slated to open in February. Chef/Owner Fred Neuville of Fat Hen fame will focus on rustic Italian food with ingredients sourced from the Lowcountry’s choice farmers and growers. Expect it to be a lot like Fat Hen — delicious, affordable, and way popular. Out Mt. Pleasant way, in the old Culinary Art Company location, Cuoco Pazzo has popped up in recent weeks, serving a small menu of antipasti, insalata, and pasta, along with a selection of veal, steak, chicken, and fish dishes. Owner Gary Langevin has been involved with La Fontana, Bella Napoli, and Bada Bing Pizza in the past and says his kitchen is staffed with real Italians from Naples. They’re already open for dinner, Mon.-Sat. (843) 971-9034. —Stephanie Barna

Halls Opening Very, Very Soon

The Hall family has been renovating the old Artist and Craftsman’s Supply location on Upper King Street for many months, and they’ve set a tentative opening date of Halls Chophouse for Feb. 5. Last week, they announced the hiring of Executive Chef Scott Blackerby, who is coming to our steamy corner of the world from the cool climes of the Pacific Northwest. He was raised in Florida and says Charleston is a great town that should inspire his culinary creativity, which he says is Nouveau American with an Italian influence. Blackerby has done stints at Nana Grill in Dallas, Atlanta’s Peachtree Café and Veni Vidi Vici, Tulipe in Los Angeles, Seattle’s Edgewater Hotel, Bambara in Salt Lake City, and most recently at the Columbia Gorge Hotel in Oregon. Because it’s a chophouse, the menu at Halls will center around prime steaks. Halls is located at 434 King St. For inquiries and reservations, call (843) 727-0090. —Stephanie Barna

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