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A pair of local restauranteurs have signed a deal to open a new downtown Charleston restaurant.

Business partners Todd Moore and Dave Andrews plan next month to open D.T. Prime, a bistro steakhouse, in the space that recently housed The Block restaurant and wine cellar on the corner of Capitol and Quarrier streets.

“It won’t be a white tablecloth kind of place, but it will offer a really nice experience where you can enjoy top-quality steaks in casually elegant surroundings,” Andrews said.

“We’ll have butcher block paper spread over the tables, so it will be a place you’d even feel comfortable bringing the kids. Instead of looking at your phone all night, you can put it down and play tic-tac-toe on the table with your family.”

Customers will be able to select cuts of beef from the glass-walled cooler that previously housed The Block’s imported cheeses. The menu also will feature chicken, pasta and maybe seafood, Andrews said, but steaks will be the star of the show. Entrées will come with a side or two, but in true steakhouse fashion, customers likely will have a choice to add their own a la carte options.

“And we’re going to have the best bread and butter in town, hands down,” Andrews said. “Really nice steaks you can pick yourself, plus bread and butter you can’t find anywhere else. That’s all you need right there. That’s what we’re going to hang our hats on.”

They expect to start with a limited dinner menu – with a possible separate lounge menu for a more casual bar area — and later expand the night menu and roll out a separate lunch menu. The pair also might reopen the building’s basement as an additional cocktail lounge.

Despite the prime downtown corner location, other businesses have struggled there since McDonald’s pulled out in the 1990s. Previous businesses include the Bus Station Grille that replaced McDonald’s, plus subsequent restaurants Café de Paris and, most recently, The Block.

The Block closed without notice Dec. 15.

Moore and Andrews are undeterred.

“We really feel we have a great concept, we’re assembling a top-notch staff and just look at this location,” Moore said, gazing across Capitol Street. “This is one of the best patios in the city.”

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Moore and Andrews also own Ichiban, Bar 101 and The Lookout Bar & Grill.

“After we took over Bar 101 and Ichiban, then The Lookout a few years ago, we really went through the expected growing pains to make each place successful before finally hitting our groove,” Moore said. “Once we did, we started bouncing around this bistro steakhouse concept and just needed the right place to make it happen.”

Moore said they considered leasing space at the new Park Place shopping center across from Riverwalk Mall in South Charleston. A friend urged them to reach out to John Smallridge, owner of The Block’s building.

They met Smallridge for dinner and inked a five-year lease two weeks later.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Moore said the rent is higher than they’d planned but they got a “sweet deal” on restaurant equipment, furnishings, décor, supplies and inventory, including cases of wine and beer, dozens of bottles of liquor, coolers and freezers stuffed with food and crates and shelves full of pantry items.

“It’s unbelievable how much stuff is here,” said Andrews, who managed Tidewater Grill, The Chop House and Gratzi at Charleston Town Center.

He said they’ll spend a few weeks sorting through the bounty left behind — including a binder of The Block’s recipes on the kitchen counter — but they are more excited to bring in their own ideas, menu and staff.

D.T. Prime’s executive chef will be Jeremy Sprouse, who spent 15 years in the kitchen at Tidewater and The Chop House before being hired last year by Moore and Andrews to elevate the menu at The Lookout at Eagle View.

They said they’ve hired a bar manager and are compiling a team of experienced servers and staff.

Moore and Andrews said the ‘D.T.’ in DT Prime stands for the restaurant’s prime location downtown and the first letters of their first names.

“Excited, nervous, scared,” Moore said. “We’re definitely feeling all of the emotions right now.”

Steven Keith is a food writer and restaurant critic known as “The Food Guy.” He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or wvfoodguy@aol.com. Follow @wvfoodguy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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