Six years ago, Bryan Lewis came up with the idea to open a taqueria-style restaurant in Mixson to go along with the burgeoning neighborhood’s plan for a bath and racquet club. But then development of the area ground to a halt, and Lewis’ business partner got a promotion at Bon Appetit. So Lewis moved onto other projects — like opening up Heirloom Book Company.
But in the last year, Mixson’s kicked back into gear, so Lewis started looking at his idea again, and he sold his share in Heirloom to focus full-time on his restaurant, Básico. The concept hasn’t changed, but the menu has expanded in the years since Lewis first devised his plan.
The menu at Básico will be prepared by two different executive chefs, Leila Schardt and Italo Marino, both of whom studied at the Culinary Institute of America before making it down to Charleston. “They’re young, energetic, and kind of hungry to get in their own kitchen, which was something we were looking for,” Lewis says, and their resumes include stints at Daniel Boulud’s Daniel, Michael White’s Alto, Peninsula Grill, and Closed for Business.
Schardt and Marino will serve traditional tacos (chorizo, el pastor, lengua, barbacoa), torta and cemita sandwiches (like one made with lamb bacon, grilled peaches, and arugula), local fish and shrimp ceviche, and a Michelada seafood boil.
“We’re going to have three gardens out in front of the restaurant that we’re planning with Elizabeth Beak from Crop Up,” Lewis adds. “We’re going to pull a lot of those vegetables for our salads and sides and salsas.”
The menu will also feature homemade ice cream and churros and a traditional Mexican brunch on Sunday. Both Básico and the bath and racquet club should be open this summer. Lewis thinks the concept fits perfectly with the eating-by-the-pool lifestyle that the club should foster, but even if you’re not a card-carrying member, you’re still welcome at Básico, which will be opening this summer.
As for Heirloom Book Company, the store has moved from its King Street spot. Carlye Jane Dougherty is still at the shop, which is now located at 54 1/2 Broad St. She’s hoping to narrow Heirloom’s focus as she curates its collection of vintage cookbooks.
“Pretty much everything’s the same,” Dougherty promises. “It’s a little bit of a smaller spot, but we’re in a really great location on Church and Broad streets, and so we just feel like that allows us to take advantage a little bit more of the touristy kind of foot traffic, and we love being down here with goat.sheep.cow and all of those other great people.”
There also probably won’t be many five-course seated dinners on Heirloom’s calendar, but they still plan to host plenty of book signings and tastings. “Those events worked really really well for us,” Dougherty says. “We still absolutely tend to keep focusing on that and taking advantage of the art walks and bringing in great food photographers.”
Speaking of which, Heirloom has a Buttermilk event planned for Wed. June 19, and on Fri. June 21, they’ll host a grilling event to celebrate Bon Appetit’s new book.