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Food & Bev Forecast

Food & Bev Forecast
February 2018

What will be in vogue in the Charleston dining scene this year? Here’s what some of our Trendspotting panelists predict

PHOTO: (clockwise from top left) Ann & Scott Blackwell, Sara Clow, Josh Walker, Matt Tunstall, Brooks Reitz, Sarah O'Kelley, and Brian Wheat.

Sara Clow 
GrowFood Carolina

“I’m predicting that vegetables, whole grains, and legumes will become even more ‘center of the plate.’ Don’t get me wrong—I love well-raised meat in a dish, but focusing on plant-based foods is so much better for our health and the health of the planet.”

Ann & Scott Blackwell
High Wire Distilling Co.

“Arriving on the heels of 1 Broad, Basic Kitchen, and soon-to-be Daps and Miller’s All Day, we’ll see a cascade of breakfast places opening. Also, due to staffing shortages and exorbitant real estate prices, there will be fewer large spaces and more cozy neighborhood establishments.”

Sarah O’Kelley
Sommelier at Edmund’s Oast Exchange

“I see 2018 bringing more conscientious wine buying, as people become more engaged with makers’ origin stories. The interest in natural wines (those produced with minimal cellar intervention) will also continue, and it may act as a gateway to vino for beer nerds who find the flavors of natural wines to be right up their alley!”

Josh Walker
Xiao Bao Biscuit, Tu

“I think we’ll see more inspiration from ethnic foods in Charleston, specifically Jewish deli cuisine—look out for everything bagel seasoning, pastrami, and latkes. People will also be more focused on eating a balanced diet. At Tu, we have more than a third of the menu devoted to vegetable dishes.

Brian Wheat
Director of Sustainable Agriculture at Lowcountry Local First

“More and more individuals are cultivating and foraging for edible mushrooms now. There are more than 150 people in South Carolina with a license to forage, and they are able to provide local chefs with the unique varieties they find, such as lion’s mane, chicken of the woods, black trumpets, lactarius, and hedgehogs.”

Matt Tunstall
Stems & Skins

“This year, the beverage scene is following the “farm-to-table” lead. I think more people are becoming interested in where the drink was made, who made it, and what foods are traditionally eaten with the beverage. Large production house brands of wine, beer, and spirits will always be consumed, but the chance to taste other varieties from small artisan makers is becoming more appreciated.”

Brooks Reitz
Leon’s Oyster Shop, Little Jack’s Tavern, Melfi’s

“I predict a continued embrace of vegetables and the growing use of an international pantry to elevate the most classic of American dishes. And unfortunately, the impact of Instagram will keep giving us ‘trendy’ restaurant spaces that look alike from Venice Beach to Vermont.”


Photographs by (Sara Clow) Meg Haywood Sullivan & (Josh Walker) Taylor Drake & courtesy of the panelists