|Issue 1.36 | Monday, March 16, 2009 | Top of the morning to ya!|
CharlestonCurrents.com is a new online twice-weekly publication that offers insightful community comment and good news on events. It cuts through the information clutter to offer insight and news on the best of what's happening locally. More.
MARCH 16, 2009 -- Opening a small business in challenging times is not for the faint of heart, or the shy. Our restaurant, Crave Kitchen and Cocktails, will mark its first anniversary March 20. Our experience has been that, in order to succeed in this economic environment, business owners need to be talking with their customers, earning their business and listening to what they tell us they want. That is what has helped us succeed at Crave.
Our first year has been challenging at times, but the response from local residents has been so strong, and our menu has developed and grown in response to input from our guests. For example, with the changes in the economy, we are offering more value-oriented items that allow people to dine out and still enjoy their experience. Also, during the year that we've been open, we've added gluten-free and low-calorie menus in responses to requests from our guests.
Both of us have spent years in food and beverage. Prior to opening Crave in Mount Pleasant, we worked in New York City in the restaurant/hospitality industry. Cara's mother, Realtor Rebecca Gooden, who is a partner in Crave, lives in Mount Pleasant, and we were married here. We vacationed here frequently, relishing the coastal life. We were lured to make this our home here by the proximity of beaches, marsh vistas and the true sense of community that is a vibrant part of life in this area.
Opening a restaurant together was a dream of ours for a long time, and we were confident that Mount Pleasant would be a fertile ground because of all the helpful, kind people we'd met on our visits and vacations. We're here because of this community. Our guests say to us, "We want you to succeed and we're telling our friends about you." It's exactly the kind of supportive environment that we didn't feel was present in New York City, and it is the fundamental element in our success.
We knew that we wanted a comfortable restaurant with everything from filet and duck to burgers to grilled cheese, but with our own spin. We knew that we wanted our guests to feel comfortable coming in from the beach or on their way home from work. We took what worked from several of our favorite restaurants in New York and brought that together in our concept - creative food coupled with a casual feel.
We are fortunate not only to have the support of the community, but to have been introduced to chef Landen Ganstrom, who worked with us to develop our menu, which is inspired by the cultures of Asia, South America and Europe. One of our food purveyors told us that Landen was looking for an opportunity after Folly Beach's 11 Center Street was sold, so the three of us sat down and talked about what we liked and wanted in a restaurant. We discovered that we had the same beliefs about creating a restaurant where there is solid cuisine that people will enjoy but without any formality.
To sum it all up, we know that our restaurant really belongs to our guests. They are doing us the honor of coming out and spending their hard-earned dollars, and the least we can do is make sure they have a great experience. Listening to customers and being responsive to their comments has been a key to making our first year successful. We believe that's good advice for any business.
Crave Kitchen and Cocktails is located at 1968 Riviera Drive in Mount Pleasant, near the Isle of Palms Connector. For directions, menus or details on anniversary specials that the restaurant will be offering March 20-22, go to http://www.cravemtp.com.
2009 One in seven.
the number of South Carolinians almost 600,000 people who
have received scholarships, grants or tuition assistance since 2002 thanks
in large part to state lottery funds, according to state figures.
a heck of a legacy for former Democratic Gov. Jim Hodges, who won election
in 1998 by pushing for a lottery.
so clear the positive impact that higher education levels have on every
aspect of community life in South Carolina, Hodges said. Im
not at all surprised by those numbers (70 percent of high school graduates
heading to college). Thats what we intended.
Andy Brack is publisher of CharlestonCurrents.com. He can be reached at: email@example.com
The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents.com to you at no cost. This issue's featured underwriter is Horne/Guest, a local employee benefits consulting firm that's home to Charleston's best workforce engineers. Horne/Guest is poised to fill this demand by offering greater flexibility, service and expertise. Innovative employee benefit plan design ideas, state-of-the-art employee benefit plan communication techniques and up-to-date compliance information is what makes us unique. Horne/Guest is sensitive to every opportunity in which we can help our clients improve their employee benefit plans. To learn more about Horne/Guest and its Applied Wisdom Advantage , visit the company online at: www.horneguest.com.
residents are invited to take part in a free International Day Dance and
Taste of Cultures sponsored by the Charleston School of Law. The celebration
of the area's cultural diversity will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. March
18 at the school's building at 81 Mary St. downtown. The law school's
Office of Diversity Initiatives and Círculo Hispanoamericano de
Charleston are sponsoring the event, and participants will be able to
make donations to offset costs.
Day gives students and the community a tiny window through which they
can see and experience the foods and dance of various groups who live
and work in Charleston," said Visiting Professor Debra J. Gammons,
who serves as the school's acting director of diversity initiatives. "By
giving people a glimpse of the many cultures that add to the flavor of
Charleston, this celebration allows interactions that may not normally
occur and these interactions among people further strengthen the Lowcountry.
We are not islands but communities with common interests, concerns and
Agencies create database to help nonprofits avoid duplication
Trident United Way and the Human Needs Crisis Network have teamed up to make a tracking system available to local nonprofits and churches to help reduce duplications of efforts that cost time and money. The six-month pilot project, funded by Trident United Way, will include all agencies with programs funded by TUW, all agencies receiving federal Emergency Food & Shelter Program grants, and two dozen churches in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties.
In a press release, TUW officials provided several examples of the kind of duplication of efforts that the new database will help prevent:
With a common tracking system, the United Way says, these problems could have been avoided, and people in need could be served faster, better and in more efficient, more cost-effective ways.
pilot project ends, TUW and HNCN will recruit other basic needs providers,
churches and government entities to join in the tracking system so that
every individual who seeks basic needs aid is followed. Ultimately, Trident
United Way will analyze the data to increase community understanding of
the needs of those on the economic fringes.
Charleston County's Project Impact initiative needs volunteers to help plant sea oats March 21 at Folly Beach as part of the Build-a-Dune Project. The sea oats will be planted on dunes that are forming around sand fencing that Project Impact volunteers installed in April 2008.
"The enhanced dune system provides protection for the barrier islands and inland areas against coastal storm-related flood losses," said Joni Rennhack, who coordinates Project Impact for the county. "The first part of the project was the sand fencing installation, and now we are going to plant sea oats to help stabilize the new dune system."
Carl Simmons, director of Charleston County's Building Services Department, says, "These projects are environmentally friendly and cost significantly less than other types of beach renourishment projects. They help to provide wildlife habitat and protection against coastal flooding in our beachfront areas."
Previously completed projects have helped establish new dune systems for more than 3,100 linear feet on Sullivan's Island and Isle of Palms.
Volunteers should meet at the Folly Beach County Park at 9 a.m. March 21 near the far end of the park's parking lot. To sign up or learn more, call Joni Rennhack at 202-6940 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Citizens asked to weigh in on Wragg Square Park spruce-up
Park is getting a makeover thanks to the Charleston Parks Conservancy
and the city of Charleston, and the two groups want your input. Charleston
residents are invited to the second Pride in Our Parks event March 21
from 10 a.m. to noon at the park to share their comments, suggestions
and vision for historic Wragg Square.
staff and volunteers, along with representatives from HLA Inc. landscape
architecture and the city, will get the conversation started by presenting
information on the current conditions and history of Wragg Square Park,
along with the challenges and opportunities ahead. The city, the conservancy
and HLA will create a conceptual plan to renovate the park and then will
seek further input from the public.
is also currently working on the renovation of Colonial Lake and Moultrie
Playground and held a similar event last fall to gather public input on
proposed designs for those areas.
The Pride in Our Parks event will be held rain or shine. Wragg Square Park is located at 342 Meeting St. in downtown Charleston. For details, go to http://www.charlestonparksconservancy.org.
Designed by Philadelphia architect Thomas U. Walter, Hibernian Hall is among the most significant examples of the Greek Revival in Charleston.
In the early 1830s the Hibernian Society, a social and charitable organization founded in 1801 to provide aid to Irish immigrants and their families, began making plans to build a meeting hall. After acquiring property on Meeting Street nearly opposite the Fireproof Building, the society held a national competition for the architectural plans. The design submitted by Walter, who later oversaw the enlargement of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., was ultimately chosen. Construction began in the spring of 1839 and was completed in January 1841.
Walter modeled his design for the building on the Ionic temple on the Ilissus in Athens. The hexastyle portico was originally executed in the Ionic order, but after collapsing in the 1886 earthquake it was awkwardly rebuilt with reproportioned columns and a Corinthian pediment with an Italianate window. Set above the entrance in relief is a gilded Irish harp. The side elevations feature Tuscan pilasters.
In contrast to the restrained exterior styling, the interior is an elegant, dramatic space. An extraordinary rotunda with columnar balconies rises three stories to a coffered dome with oculus. The building is surrounded by a wrought-iron fence and cast-iron gas lamps.
In addition to hosting countless Hibernian society functions, including the annual St. Patrick's Day banquet, the hall has been used for other major social events, most notably the January Ball of the St. Cecilia Society, Charleston's oldest and most exclusive social function. The U.S. Department of the Interior designated the building a National Historic Landmark in 1973.
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The Powder Magazine at 79 Cumberland St. might be one of Charleston's most underappreciated historic sites. It's the oldest public building in the Carolinas, if not in the 13 original colonies, and ties us directly to the city's earliest days on the peninsula. Here are five facts about the Powder Magazine:
"If a man who cannot count finds a four-leaf clover, is he lucky?"
CALENDAR: THIS WEEK
Nature Photography Workshop: March 18-March 21. Through the Charleston Center for Photography, nature photographer Kenny McKeithan will lead a workshop called "Nature of the Lowcountry." Participants will travel around the greater Charleston area photographing various sites. Sessions include hands-on instruction for each student along with critiques. Cost: $300. Details/registration: http://www.ccforp.org or 577-0647.
Human-Resources Workshop: 7:30 a.m. to noon March 19, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, 2750 Speissegger Drive, Suite 100, North Charleston. "Tough Economic Times Never Last, Resilient Companies Do!" is a human-resources workshop to teach businesses about organization design, proper and legal employment practices, new labor-related legislation and the impact of changes in government leadership. Cost: $95 for chamber members, $125 for nonmembers. Details/registration.
Small Business Fair: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 19, Charleston County Main Library, 68 Calhoun St. For owners of small businesses or those thinking of starting a business, the fair offers free workshops, an exhibition hall with vendors, tours of the library's business resource center, and professional counseling that focuses on low-cost ideas to help businesses run more efficiently and attract more income. More info: http://www.ccpl.org or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Charleston Foundation Festival of Houses and Gardens: Ongoing March
19 through April 18, various sites. Tours feature the interiors
and gardens of approximately 150 historic private homes in 10 colonial
and antebellum neighborhoods during the peak of the city's springtime
blooms. Other events include Plantation Picnics at Drayton Hall Plantation,
daily walking tours through the Old and Historic District, "Eat and
Run" luncheons, harbor tours, book signings, etc. Proceeds benefit
the work of the Historic Charleston Foundation. Tickets/more info: 723-1623
or by clicking
Penguins 'n' Pajamas Family Sleepover: 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. March 20, S.C. Aquarium, 100 Aquarium Wharf, Charleston. Sleep with the penguins at the aquarium on the night that the new Penguin Planet exhibit opens. Family sleepover will offer special chances to watch the penguins dive underwater, learn about penguin colonies and discover what makes them march. One adult required per two children attending the event. Reservations and advance payment required. Cost: $30 per member child, $40 per member adult; $40 and $50 for nonmember child and adult, respectively. Reservations: 577-3474. More info.
BBQ & Brew Festival: March 20 and March 21, Prospect
Hill Plantation, Edisto Island. Sponsored by the Olde Charlestowne Sertoma
Club as a fundraiser for charities. Events begin with the Brew-A-Stew
Contest at 6 p.m. March 20, in which cooking teams will serve a stew,
soup or chowder. Gate price ($10 adults, $5 ages 4-7, free for age 3 and
under) includes all you can eat. Evening ends with fireworks. On March
21, gates open at 11 a.m. for guests to spend the day on the banks of
the Edisto tasting all the cooking teams' barbecues. Gate price same as
above; once inside, buy tickets for $1 each to get barbecue samples and
drinks. More info: 766-5576 or at this
Mom to Mom Sale: 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. March 21, National Guard Armory, 245 Mathis Ferry Road, Mount Pleasant. Sponsored by three Mount Pleasant MOMS clubs (Moms Offering Moms Support), the sale will offer new and gently used children's, baby and maternity items from 80 different consigners. Ten percent of proceeds will go to Windwood Farms, a local group home for boys ages 5 to 16 who have been removed from their homes because of unstable family situations. Cost: $1 entry fee for sale. Details.
(NEW) Stiletto Stampede: 8 a.m. March 21, Houston Northcutt Boulevard near Whole Foods, Mount Pleasant. An unconventional 100-yard dash in which participants must wear 3-inch heels which must be attached at the finish line. First prize is $10,000; there is also a $1,000 prize for best costume. Event benefits MUSC's Children's Hospital. Registration: $30; must register online by March 18. More info.
Walk for Water: 9 a.m. March 21, Cannon Park, downtown Charleston. Join Water Missions International for an educational, 3.5-mile walk inspired by the experience of women and children who are responsible for fetching water for their families every day. Walkers are encouraged to form teams and recruit as many supporters as possible. After the walk, enjoy refreshments and family-oriented activities and entertainment. More info.
Mount Pleasant Arts Festival: Noon to 4 p.m. March 21, Mount Pleasant Towne Centre. Festival is sponsored jointly by the town and Towne Centre to celebrate the arts in Mount Pleasant. Features live entertainment, performing arts, a juried art exhibit, Mount Pleasant Artists Guild entries, roving entertainment, games and activities for kids. Free admission and parking. More info: 884-8517.
CALENDAR: ONGOING AND SOON
Film Series on Jim Crow: 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays, March 10-April 4, Charleston Museum, 360 Meeting St. In conjunction with the exhibit "From Slave to Sharecropper: African Americans in the Lowcountry after the Civil War," the museum will host a four-part documentary film series, "The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow." The Peabody Award-winning documentary, offers a comprehensive look at race relations in America between the Civil War and the civil rights movement. Cost: Free with general museum admission of $10 for adults, $5 for children 3-12. For details on specific shows and schedules, call 722-2996 or go here online.
Old St. Andrew's Tea Room: 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, March 23 to April 4, Old St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 2604 Ashley River Road. Tea room features local favorites for lunch and an array of homemade desserts. Proceeds benefit the mission and ministry programs of the Episcopal Church Women of Old St. Andrew's and the church's Preservation Fund. More info.
Economic Outlook Conference: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 26, Charleston Place Hotel. The Charleston Metro Chamber's Annual Economic Outlook Conference and Luncheon includes the 18- to 24-month forecast for the key economic sectors of the region. Keynote speaker Jeffrey M. Lacker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, will present the views of the Federal Reserve on the state of the national recovery and the outlook for future economic conditions. Also speaking will be College of Charleston President P. George Benson, who will speak about the challenges facing South Carolina and our ability to compete in the global economy. Cost: $95 for Chamber members, $125 for nonmembers. Details/registration.
(NEW) Women in Business Conference: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 27, Francis Marion Hotel, corner of King and Calhoun streets, downtown. Sponsored by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Center for Women, the fourth annual conference includes workshops, speed networking, lunch and a fashion show featuring career wear. Cost: $100. Registration/more info.
Garden Club of Charleston House and Garden Tours: 2-5 p.m. March 27 and March 28, various sites downtown. Tours of historic homes and gardens, including the Heyward-Washington House garden, whose parterre is planted only with flowers and shrubs known in the city in 1791. Proceeds benefit ongoing projects of the Garden Club of Charleston, including maintaining the gardens at the Joseph Manigault House, the Heyward-Washington House, the Gateway Walk and the Healing Garden at MUSC. More info: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pet Fest: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 28 and noon to 4 p.m. March 29, Palmetto Islands County Park, Mount Pleasant. Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission's annual pet event expands to two days this year. Dock diving will be featured for the first time, along with past fest favorites such as Lowcountry Dog magazine's "cover model contest," a dog show, Frisbee dogs, a microchipping clinic and several dog contests. Cost: $5 or three Greenbax for adults, per day; free for kids age 12 or younger, leashed pets and Gold Passholders. More info or 795-4FUN.
Founders' Day: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 11, Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site, 1500 Old Towne Road, west of the Ashley. Celebrate the 339th anniversary of the "Birth of the Carolinas" during Founders' Day. Living-history programs, demonstrations of the firing of black powder cannons and muskets, re-enactments and other activities showing how Charleston's first English settlers lived in 1670. Cost: $5 adults, $3 ages 6-15, $3.25 for S.C. seniors or disabled. Details are online.
"Run Forrest Run 5K": 4:15 p.m. April 11, beginning at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park. Sponsored by the Charleston RiverDogs, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Coburg Dairy, the race is a fundraiser for the Storm Eye Institute at MUSC. The race finishes at home plate, where runners are greeted by the RiverDogs' players before the start of that evening's game against the Rome Braves. Registration: $25 if received by March 27 (includes T-shirt, one ticket to baseball game and post-race party with dinner from Bubba Gump's); $30 after March 27. Registration forms available at the RiverDogs Box Office at Riley Park, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., The Extra Mile Running Shop and online at www.riverdogs.com or www.active.com.
In this section, we offer a list of good reads that you might want to consider reading:
New local music CD
to old clunker
know you're from...