The Cooper-Young neighborhood was dealt a one-two punch recently when Dish closed, followed by the Blue Fish soon after.
But don’t count 'em out yet. The Blue Fish is being re-opened today as the Reef, and coming soon are the Grace breakfast and lunch spin-off Au Fond and the low country restaurant Sweet Grass.
The seafood restaurant the Reef is being opened by former Blue Fish manager David Meredith. Blue Fish chef Tim Foley is staying on, and the restaurant’s menu will include new dishes as well as carrying over some dishes from Blue Fish. One difference between Blue Fish and the Reef: Prices will be lower.
Au Fond, which is next-door to Grace and may open as soon as next week, will have a coffee bar and offer breakfast and lunch from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will also be a small market with local produce and an extensive cheese selection that will be open until 7 p.m.
According to Au Fond manager Chey Fulgham, the name of the restaurant comes from a cooking term that means the essence or core of a dish.
Fulgham says that while this French bistro is much more casual than Grace, Grace’s influence will be apparent. “It’s the same philosophy of food — the highest quality — just transferred,” he says.
Sweet Grass, which will be in the former Square Foods site, is being opened by former Grove Grill sous chef Ryan Trimm and Café 1912 owners Glenn and Martha Hays.
Trimm says they hope to be open by mid-March and the restaurant will serve Carolina coastal food (think: shrimp and grits) with a little bit of a French touch.
The restaurant will seat about 85 and will be nice but still casual. Prices, says Trimm, will be reasonable.
“It’s a neighborhood restaurant,” he says. “You’ll be able to get a good meal without tapping into your savings.”
As for the Dish site, Tamara Walker, director of the Cooper-Young Business Association, says she expects a new business will open there soon.
And those Mellow Mushroom rumors? Walker doesn’t see that happening. “We’re trying to keep franchises out of Cooper-Young,” she says. “We’re kind of hippie-dippy and quaint. I could be surprised, though.”