How did you get your start in the restaurant business?
My mom has been in the food business for over 40 years, I've been with her for 30 of them, so I guess you would say osmosis. I moved to Charleston from Scituate, MA in 2008 to attend College of Charleston. From then, a second location for Circe’s Grotto started brewing in our mind. I knew Charleston needed a good mom-and-pop sandwich shop, who doesn’t like a good, fresh sandwich? After I graduated from the College of Charleston, I went to Rincon, Puerto Rico not knowing what the next step was in life. Soon after, a friend in the real estate business called and said he had acquired the perfect spot for Circe’s Grotto in Charleston. I moved back to Charleston, we signed the lease, and started building our second Circe’s Grotto. We used the same concept of the one up in Scituate, MA, just a simpler version, minus the bakery aspect. We wanted to offer the city a good sandwich with fresh ingredients that your mom would make you at home.
Where did the name ‘Circe’s Grotto’ come from?
Why did you want to bring Circe’s to Charleston?
What’s the secret to the perfect sandwich?
If someone’s visiting Circe’s for the first time, what do they have to try?
What’s next for you + Circe’s?Hopefully exploring more local ingredients and some additional daily specials. It is our goal to always be innovating and finding new ways to bring delicious food to our customers We look forward to serving our community each day over here on Wentworth St.
PART II: CHARLESTON HOSPITALITY AT PARCEL 32Part II of our Charleston Wine + Food Festival (@chswineandfood) Local Love List took us to the newest Charleston hotspot we’ve been DYING to try since it first opened, Parcel 32 (@parcel32). We joined our fellow CHSWFF Street Team members Andrea Serrano (@charlestonshopcurator), Liz Martin (@charlestonweekender), and our favorite foodie photographer Libby Williams (@plate.south) for an unforgettable night. So make yourself a cocktail and sit back to enjoy our second CHSWFF Local Love.
PARCEL 32: BRIDGING TOGETHER THE BEST OF THE OLD AND NEWParcel 32 is the newest historic addition to Patrick Properties Hospitality Group. The entrance welcomes you with lush greenery, luxurious tile and lustrous lighting. It is so stunning, we spent 20 minutes taking photos and absorbing our surroundings before walking through the doors. The spot was once the peninsula's highest-volume bakery for 75 years. Today, the house exudes a refined energy yet with a calming atmosphere. The cooling colors and ethereal greens balanced the glass surfaces. The entire interior gives nod to its heritage but with a modern twist. Elegant gold frames adorn the walls with tickets found under the William-Aiken house next door dating decades back. We’re sure many of y’all are wondering, why is it named “Parcel 32?” Our server Amanda explained that the name comes from the designation given to its surrounding block on an 1888 fire insurance map. If there was a fire, people would provide the parcel number rather than an address when contacting the firehouse. #TheMoreYouKnow
WHAT WE LOVE FOR YOUParcel 32 honors the house as a previous centerpiece of the community - a place where neighbors met to share everyday life. A place dedicated to true Charleston hospitality. While Ian has the eye for decor, Michael notices quality service and hospitality after working in the F&B industry years ago. At Parcel 32, every single person in the house provides outstanding service. From the hostess to our server Amanda (who was litcherally ah-mahzing). We also noticed how management went above and beyond all night to take care of every patron, dedicated to Charleston hospitality. What can you expect at Parcel 32? The menu highlights the unique flavors of Charleston and the Carolinas. What makes everything taste so heavenly? Executive Chef Shaun Brian’s commitment to local sourcing - y’all know we LOVE local. He’s always on the hunt for the freshest herbs, produce, meats and fish from local farms and fishermen. We knew dinner was going to be more than a treat after viewing the menu. There is something for everyone, including gluten-free and vegetarian options. The details of each dish describe the freshest ingredients. It is clear Chef Brian stays true to his local sourcing commitment. There is one rule we live by for restaurants with bread service - it sets expectations. The same goes for chips at a Mexican restaurant. Y’all, we were not disappointed. The bread from Tiller Baking Co. is served alongside a Madagascar Vanilla Bean with Bourbon Butter we could eat with a spoon. For cocktails, Ian ordered the “From The Brink,” proclaiming it as the freshest tequila drink he’s tasted with subtle hints of agave. Michael, well, he chose his drink because of the name and ordered the “Don’t Haint” … he definitely didn’t hate.
WHAT WE LOVE FOR YOUSometimes the simplest dishes are the most surprising. We started with the local pickle bowl and HOLY MOLY was it unbelievable. The pickled vegetables were so fresh we swear they’re grown in a garden somewhere hidden in the house. Of course, we had to try the famous Parcel 32 Hush Puppies. The five, fried, golf ball-sized rounds have a healthy dollop of pimento cheese and a pickled peppers garnish. This is a must when y’all visit. As the entrees arrived, we realized they were all a healthy serving. We ordered the Spiced Braised 12 oz. Short Rib, the Wood Grilled Lady Edison’s Heritage Pork Chop, the Cast Iron Seared Steak Fish, the Farmer’s Plate and the Joyce Farm’s Broiler Hen. Although each quite different, they all had one thing in common - a stunning presentation. Each plate was colorful and included a variety of complementary textures. Michael's Short Rib sat on top of Rice Grits with a Pickled Red Onion Purée. It's beauty made it almost too hard to eat ... almost. For dessert, Amanda recommended the Hummingbird Cake and Chocolate Hazelnut Custard. Y'all. This is not a course to skip. We do have to mention we already returned since our visit with Andrea, Liz and Libby. When Michael’s mom flew to Charleston on Halloween for 24 hours to look at wedding venues, she HAD to taste Parcel 32 after our rave reviews. Best. Decision. Ever. Not only did we have the fabulous Amanda once again, but we also got to see Chef Shaun Brain’s killer pumpkin carving creation. Side note: Although mastering the kitchen all night, he still found time to put together a quick Halloween costume. It gave us the best example of the how to describe the environment and vibe of the restaurant and its team. Relaxed and refined. To explore this experience as we did, check out the Parcel 32 events during Charleston Wine + Food below, because #ILoveThatForYou. Parcel 32 Executive Chef Shaun Brian at Charleston Wine + Food Opening Night on Wednesday, March 6 from 7-10:30 p.m. This is the official kick-off of five flavorful days + a party you definitely don’t want to miss! Located in the Culinary Village in Marion Square, this event brings together sips, bites, and live music for an experience that celebrates all that makes Charleston so special. Here you will find more than 30 of Charleston’s most distinguished chefs + local favorites preparing dishes inspired by our coastline, local farms, and charming surroundings. And let’s not forget that our Official Cocktail Competition winner will be shaking + stirring delicious concoctions highlighting American Whiskey (our official 2019 spirit!), alongside carefully curated beers + wines. Parcel 32 Executive Chef Shaun Brian at Culinary Village in Marion Square on Saturday, March 9 from 12-5 p.m. Located in downtown’s Marion Square, the Village is the ultimate culinary experience. Your Village ticket grants five full hours of tasting + imbibing. The main stage will be jamming all afternoon with a mix of music, chef demos + engaging conversations. The Hub will be back with some of your favorite food + beverage vendors, and our Artisan Market will be stocked full of incredible local and regional makers showcasing their masterful creations and unique flavors. Make your way to the Corkyard for a vast selection of vino, and of course, the Beer Garden for a sampling of your favorite suds.
- 1 large roasted red pepper, peeled, seeded, and chopped (see below), or 1cup jarred diced red pimientos
- 1/4 cup finely chopped stuffed Queen olives
- 2 cups New York or Vermont sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2+ Tbsp. mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
Roasted PeppersThin peppers will have a shorter roasting time. It’s preferable to use fresh peppers that look very healthy and have good thick flesh. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Wash, drain, and dry the peppers. Rub the peppers with olive oil, just to coat them lightly. Place the peppers on a baking sheet and roast them in the oven for about 20 minutes, turning once or twice. The skin should be well blistered and blackened in some places. Remove the peppers from the oven. Place them in a small bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the peppers cool for 10 to 15 minutes. The skin will be become loose and very easy to remove. Peel the skin off of the peppers. Remove the stems, cores, and seeds. Do not rinse.
Join us Wednesday, December 7th for our Rum Rum Rudolph Cocktail Crawl to meet all four finalists as they present their one-of-a-kind, rum-centric cocktails. No tickets needed! Information can be found here.
Treat yourself to the ultimate Charleston experience with this exclusive three night package for two in the luxurious Wentworth Mansion. Touting the best view of the Holy City, you will savor every minute of your stay.. Rise and shine downtown then make your way to local Runnymede Plantation for fire-kissed dishes From the Ashes, or relish in an afternoon at the RiverOaks for our Iron + Oak Signature Event.John Rutledge House Inn: Wine + Food Gastronome Package Enjoy the historic elegance that is the John Rutledge House Inn and experience the new ambiance of Anson’s renovated space with a hotel package that has a flavor for every palette. You’ll satisfy more than just an appetite, as local architect David Thompson takes you through a variety of downtown restaurants exposing you to the story behind design in our new excursion Flavor by Design. This package caters to all your senses - you won’t want to miss out!
Grab your girls and head to Charleston for a wine lover’s dream weekend. Sip on wines from Michele Chiarlo during a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the Indaco Wine Lunch with Executive Chef Kevin Getzewich + James Beard winner Chef Andrew Carmellini. Then head back to your hotel to determine which local somm takes home the ultimate bragging rights of Sumo Sommelier. The perks continue with available tickets to two Charleston Wine + Food traditions, the Culinary Village and Gospel Brunch. Your seats won’t be saved for long, so grab your tickets soon for an experience like no other!