[image-1] With evacuations starting Tues. Sept. 11 at noon as the area’s customary fall storm approaches, Charleston restaurant owners are faced an increasingly-frequent choice — do I stay open and get the stragglers/locals/weather-be-damned crowds? Or do I close and risk losing thousands of dollars worth of business?


We asked around, and it turns out that, as you’d expect, it’s a little different for everyone. Three restaurants we polled are determined to stay open as long as they can, and we’ll keep you updated as we learn more from the F&B community about who will welcome the Flo-ridas:

For Folly Beach folks, if you plan on hunkering down on the island, there’s a watering hole that is going to do “everything possible to stay open as much as we can.” Lowlife co-owner T.J. Lynch says they have a “generator ready to go and plenty of great things to drink and eat … Lowlife Bar is on a high point in Folly Beach and we are made out of concrete with 150 mph hurricane rated doors and windows, so game on!”


If you plan on riding out Flo put can’t imagine doing so without some wine, cheese, and good company, head to Wine & Co. on Meeting Street. Owner Joshua Walker says: “My wife and I live downtown and do not leave for these storms, so we have been open for the hurricanes and even snow days in the past. I can walk to the shop (in the bottom of the Elan Midtown that is well suited for these storms with hurricane windows and excess power generators). We may be light on staff (we obviously do not require any employees to come in if they feel unsafe in the slightest) but we will be there with smiles for our community.”

Walker urges, though, that “We do not encourage people to stay or be unsafe in any way. Being responsible is the most important decision and we beg our customers to use good decision making.”
[location-3] For North Chuck denizens, Adam Randall of CODFather says he has fish and chips hot and ready for anyone who can make it to his Spruill Avenue shop. Randall, on deciding to stay open: “It’s not that I think it’s a good or bad idea to stay open or close, it’s more of the fact that being a small independent business, not financed by deep pocket backers, I have to make money, even if I only scrape a few dollars together that week, I still got bills that need paying.”

Randall adds that the other reason he stays open is he has perishables, and if he loses power it all has to be thrown out once the coolers rise above DHEC mandated temps. “I’d rather sell it or give it away than throw it in the garbage,” says Randall. “Last time we did discounted meals for first responders on duty during the storm as they are probably working long hours away from home. We will offer the same again this time … I stayed open for the last one out of the same reasons and we did ok. People still like to eat and they still like to get out and about.”

Like Walker, Randall says he doesn’t ask his staff to work, and last hurricane “I opened alone. They [the staff] are free to evacuate and evaluate their own safety and well-being without me trying to make demands on them. There are no repercussions on my staff by not showing for scheduled shifts during an emergency such as this.”

Randall closes with, “We got fish to sell and beer to drink, if you’re in town and need to get out and can do so safely we will be open.”

Keep up to date with all three restaurants via their social media pages, and check back here to find updates on other restaurant openings and closings.