Last February, food critic Vanessa Wolf explored local chef pop-ups, a concept now gaining the same omnipotence as ‘farm-to-table’ restaurants. And while farm to table is woven into the mission of most hip-to-it eateries that have opened in the past decade, pop-ups still maintain a sexy enigma. Who are they, where are they, and, perhaps the most important W of all — why are they?
We revisited the pop-up concept in our Swig bar guide over the summer, chatting with 2Nixons and Kwei Fei about transitioning from frequent sojourners to semi-permanent residents and beyond. Everyone is popping up.
Perhaps the shiniest apple of our collective eye — and has been for a while now — is Shuai and Corrie Wang‘s Short Grain.
From their trailer days in front of East Bay True Value to their stint at The Daily to their Tuesday takeover at Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co., the Wangs have positioned themselves in the city so that anyone can partake in the Short Grain experience. With a few wildly successful itinerant years under their belt, their followers are always ready and raring for more.
Well, Shuai and Corrie are finally ready to talk about their next moves.
In November, hungry readers got wind that Short Grain signed a lease in Park Circle on a stretch of Spruill Avenue that previously was previously home to nightclubs like the Brickhouse and Deja Vu II.
Their new restaurant, Jackrabbit Filly, will be a collaboration with the team from nearby Stems & Skins — Matt and Angie Tunstall and Justin Croxall — and is set to open “hopefully no more than six months” from now at 4628 Spruill Ave.
[image-3] Short Grain popped up for several events at S&S over the past few years, and Corrie says, “we’ve loved the Stems and Skins cats from the very first time we set foot in their bar. The ambience, their hospitality, their wine and cocktail lists. Stems has always felt like home.” And don’t worry, Stems & Skins isn’t going anywhere.
Since opening three years ago on East Montague Avenue, Stems & Skins has been the go-to place for Park Circle residents and beyond to sip and stay a while. The natural wines and tinned seafood get ya in the door, and the hospitality, as Corrie notes, keeps you hooked.
[image-4]It turns out that Stems and Short Grain have actually been trying to hatch plans for some time, starting a few years back when S&S reached out to the Wangs. At that time, Short Grain was already working with someone else. When those plans fell through, they went back to S&S, but by then they had already made plans of their own. Star-crossed lovers, the two businesses continued doing their own thing, until the fall of 2018.
“Everything just fell into place,” says Corrie. “A big part of me thinks that the reason it took us so long to find a space was that all the cosmos had to align so it would be with them at this spot.”
Jackrabbit Filly, named for Corrie and Shuai’s zodiac symbols (he’s a rabbit, she’s a horse), will be a “celebration of Chinese heritage, local farmers and fishermen, inspired by Japanese cuisine.” Corrie says that Jackrabbit Filly “felt like the perfect fit for what would be our baby, a culmination of all those hard years we spent as a couple grinding it out on the food truck and then as a pop-up.”
From a constant hustle to a slower, steadier hustle, transitioning from food truck to pop-up restaurant to a full-blown brick and mortar is, objectively, a huge win. When we chatted with Corrie after Short Grain’s first Ramen with Friends event this Tuesday (they’ll be hosting it through the end of the month every Tuesday at EOBC, FYI) she said Shuai’s Apple Watch told him he’d been standing for 20 hours straight.
Corrie says the new North Charleston restaurant will seat 55-60 guests and that they’ll be open for dinner and Sunday brunch with lunch hours quickly following. No word on the libation specifics as of yet, but we’ll be sure to keep you posted. Until then, keep an eye on Short Grain’s social to see where they’ll be next and head to Stems & Skins any night of the week for a glass or three to chat with the ingratiating owners about all things vino.