Opening a new restaurant isn’t an easy task, and while every process is different, rarely does everything go according to plan.

From delays in receiving proper permits to setbacks in construction work and equipment delivery, there are many factors that are outside a restaurateur’s control. And those hiccups often mean that opening dates will be pushed back from the initial, optimistic projections.

Below are updates for some of the most highly anticipated new dining spots in and around Charleston.

Wiki Wiki Sandbar

Wiki Wiki Sandbar, the latest concept from restauranteur Karalee Fallert (Taco Boy, The Park Café, The Royal American, Monza, and Closed for Business), quietly opened on Dec. 11. The tiki-themed restaurant is “Folly Beach’s love letter to the South Pacific, and all the commonalities between Southern hospitality and the aloha spirit,” Fallert says.

Lunch features a selection of Hawaiian lunch plates — “which are very similar to meat and three,” Fallert says — with options including kalua pork, macaroni salad, and Carolina Gold Rice. Poke bowls with salmon and tuna are also on the menu. A vegan poke option, which Fallert singles out as one of her favorites, is made with beets and macadamia nuts.

“Because we’re at the beach, there’s also yummy sandwiches,” Fallert says. “We have a tuna tempura and a crab, avocado, and bacon sandwich.”

Wiki Wiki Sandbar has five themed dining rooms with varied seating capacities. The Diorama Room and Octopus Bar seat 100 and 75, respectively. The Sunset Room seats 65, and the more intimate Tiki Bar (located on the top floor) and Wave Room each seat 35 guests.

Hours are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m.–10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 3 p.m.–11 p.m. Weekend brunch from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. will begin service on New Year’s weekend.

“I think one thing we really focused on here is creating an entertainment experience,” Fallert says. “So every room has a different theme, and we just focused on escapism. We want people to show up and enjoy every sight, smell, and sound and leave your cares at the door.”


Restaurateurs Patrick and Fanny Panella of Chez Nous have partnered with current Chez Nous sous chef Juan Cassallet for their new concept Malagón, a Spanish market and taperia.

“I think we’re bringing probably the first really authentic Spanish restaurant [to Charleston],” Patrick Panella says, citing Cassallet’s culinary influence from his Spanish heritage. “We’ve spent a lot of time in Spain. I think it’ll be a Spanish experience that Charleston has sorely been lacking.”

The market will be a specialty, gourmet grocery store, Panella says, and carry items such as canned fish, olives, rice, and spices common in Spanish cuisine.

“Nowhere locally can you get these things,” Panella says. “We’ll be the only place you can get these products.”

As for the taperia, Panella says, “We have the menu figured out. It’s not going to be a lot of cliché dishes. There will be some classics but also some dishes you’ll find in Galicia or areas that are not Americanized versions of Spanish food.”

The dining space will be intimate. “We’re not sure of the total number of seats, but it’ll be small,” Panella says. “Think Chez Nous.”

Malagón will be open from 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Panella is aiming for a late winter 2019 opening.

“We’re really shooting for end of January, early February,” he says. “I don’t see a reason we’ll delay that, unless there are staffing issues.”


Estadio’s flagship restaurant in Washington, D.C., has garnered positive reviews over the years, earning spots on Eater’s 38 Essential D.C. Restaurants and Food & Wine’s Best Date Restaurants in D.C. Owner Max Kuller is now bringing the Spanish tapas bar concept to Charleston but with a Lowcountry twist.

“One of the things that’ll be special about what we are doing in Charleston is focusing on rice-based Spanish dishes,” he says. “We’re looking for interesting ways to use Carolina Gold Rice, and we want to showcase Spanish rice dishes, because it makes sense down there.”

D.C.’s Estadio location only serves paella on Wednesdays, but it’ll be an everyday offering at the Charleston location, Kuller says.

Estadio’s seafood entrees will also differ from those in D.C. due to Charleston’s local seafood selection. Rather than serving a shrimp dish that is on the D.C. menu year-round, Kuller says, the Charleston restaurant will use local, in-season shrimp and rotate other seafood as seasonality changes.

Kuller hopes to open in late winter 2019. Hours of operation will be from 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m., seven days a week.

Between the main inside dining room, the bar, a counter with a view into the kitchen, and a patio, the restaurant will seat 50 guests.

“We’re excited to expose people to traditional Spanish cuisine. That’s not to say that Charleston doesn’t have Spanish cuisine, but we think we’re certainly going to expand the horizons of what’s available in Charleston in terms of Spanish cuisine and these flavors that aren’t always so common,” Kuller says. For example, pimentón, a smoky Spanish paprika, will be featured in several dishes.

“Overall, it’ll be a deeper celebration of Spanish cuisine,” Kuller says. “I think it’s very relatable because it’s Mediterranean cuisine. I think [for] people who like Italian and Greek food and other Southern European cuisine, Spanish food is very natural, and they have the core ingredients like tomatoes and olives and fish.”

Herd Provisions

Alec Bradford of Virginia-based Leaping Water Farms launched Herd Provisions food truck in fall 2017, and through various pop-up events since, we’ve got a taste of what to expect when Bradford opens his brick-and-mortar butcher shop and restaurant in the former Ark Lounge Bar on Grove Street.

All meat that will be for sale at the butcher counter and on the restaurant menu is raised on Bradford’s land. Proteins available will include goat, lamb, beef, rabbit, chicken, goose, and turkey.

“We own the animals prior to slaughter, so we can price the meats a bit lower and keep the quality high,” Bradford says.

The butcher counter will be up front, and two-thirds of the building is a full-service bar and restaurant. The restaurant will seat 86 people inside and between 20 to 30 outside, Bradford says.

Bradford describes the cuisine as “a rustic version of neo-American bistro fare” that the entire family can enjoy. Daytime offerings include Philly cheesesteaks, burgers, cold roast beef sandwiches, and salads. Vegetarian dishes, including a veggie burger, will also be offered. Evening dishes will include steaks and potentially a weekly fish dish.

“I don’t want to characterize it as a steakhouse, and I don’t like the word farm-to-table, even though we own a farm. I think it puts the food in a box when we do that,” Bradford says. “We’ll stand apart in terms of quality of meats, traceability of meats, as well as the cuts and creativity of preparation. There’s no place like what we’ll be able to do, especially with meats.”

Vegetarian dishes will also showcase various vegetables grown on Bradford’s farm.

Herd Provisions will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m.–10 p.m. With Christmas Day and New Year’s Day both falling on Tuesdays, Bradford says he is now eyeing a mid-January 2019 opening after originally aiming for mid-December.