The Food Guy: South Charleston rolls out its own restaurant week

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South Charleston launches a new “restaurant week” event, Cook Out is coming to Charleston and Sokolata may be moving to new digs. Just another week bringing you one big food news bomb after another. It’s what I do.

If you’re one of the many food lovers who can’t get enough of Charleston Restaurant Week — or have trouble snagging a table at one of the featured restaurants — South Charleston has just the solution you need.

Organizers there announced they will offer their own similar event, called Savor South Charleston, that will take place on the same dates as Charleston’s celebration, Jan. 27 through Feb. 1.

But organizers there are quick to say they’re not trying to take away customers or compete with Charleston’s event, they just want to complement it by offering local diners more options that showcase what they have to offer.

The new event was the brainchild of Olive Tree Cafe owner Michael Jarrouj, who felt so strongly about the idea that he rounded up the restaurants and organized the celebration himself.

“We’ve heard so many people say they tried to get a reservation for Charleston Restaurant Week, but several places are already booked up,” Jarrouj said. “So we thought, why don’t we offer something down here in South Charleston as well?”

Similar to Charleston Restaurant Week, seven restaurants participating in Savor South Charleston (Grano, King Kabob, Los Agaves, Olive Tree Cafe, Pizza Barbarossa, Sumthin’ Good Soul Food and Taste of Asia) will offer guests special $25 dinner menus that week.

Two additional restaurants not open for dinner (Cafe Appalachia and Eagles Nest at Little Creek Country Club) will feature lunch specials instead.

Jarrouj said he sees South Charleston’s event as a “rising water raises all ships” opportunity.

“Just like in Charleston, we have a really great thing going on down here on the local restaurant scene,” he said. “We’re excited about having more people come see what we have to offer.”

City tourism officials also saw the benefits of such a promotion and quickly got behind the idea.

“South Charleston is excited to showcase our unique, diverse dining options, along with free hassle-free parking all over town,” said Vicki Vaughan, executive director of the South Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Visitors will savor dishes ranging from Mediterranean, Mexican and farm-to-table to good old Southern soul food.”

Jarrouj also sees Savor South Charleston as a jumping-off point for other special restaurant promotions, themed events and dine-arounds in the future.

“This year’s event was very much thrown together by the seat of our pants, but we didn’t want another year to pass us by,” he said. “Next year, we’ll devote much more time to planning an even bigger and better celebration.”

What’s on the menu this year and where? Let’s take a look!

Dinner specials (all $25)

  • Grano: choice of any appetizer or salad, choice of any entree, choice of any dessert.
  • King Kabab: choice of hummus or baba ganoush appetizer, choice of salad, choice of lamb chop or roasted salmon entree, rice, dessert.
  • Los Agaves: appetizer, any entree on the menu, dessert, soft drink.

Olive Tree Cafe: appetizer, Greek salad, choice of Angus beef kabob or fire-roasted Mediterranean Mahi entree, two side dishes, dessert.

  • Pizza Barbarossa: Choice of pasta for two people, salad, bread.
  • Sumthin’ Good Soul Food: half-slab of ribs, two sides, two pieces of cornbread, dessert.
  • Taste of Asia: crab Rangoon, salad, special sushi roll, Pad Thai, dessert.

Lunch only

  • Cafe Appalachia: one large daily plate lunch, one small daily plate lunch, two signature coffees. ($15)
  • Eagles Nest Restaurant at Little Creek Golf Course: choice of appetizer (shrimp cocktail, Italian-stuffed mushrooms, side or Caesar salad), choice of entrée (strip loin with mushroom demi-glace, asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes; shrimp and grits; Cajun chicken pasta); dessert. (Two for $25)


Speaking of South Charleston restaurant news, several sources tell me that Manoli and Aoleen Stavrulakis (owners of Cafe Creperie, Pizza Barbarossa and Sokolata) have acquired the recently abandoned Schlotzsky’s building, on MacCorkle Avenue in Spring Hill, and will soon be moving — perhaps their nearby Sokolata’s European bakery and lunch cafe — into that space.

And in an announcement that sent shockwaves through the Kanawha Valley, Charleston is (finally!) getting a Cook Out. Sources say the fast-food chain famous for its burgers, barbecue, hot dogs and shakes will be setting up shop in the old Bojangles location on MacCorkle Avenue, in Kanawha City.

Steven Keith writes a weekly food column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and an occasional food blog at http://blogs.wv He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or You can also follow him on Facebook as “WV Food Guy” and on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as “WVFoodGuy.”