MenuDirections 2012 Dine-Around Preview

The Dine-Around gives attendees a chance to sample dishes from three Charleston restaurants.

AW Shucks, Charleston, S.C.

The Dine-Around is always one of the highlights of the MenuDirections conference and this year in Charleston will be no different. The Dine-Around gives attendees a chance to sample dishes from three Charleston restaurants. We talked to the staff from each of the Dine-Around restaurants on this year’s agenda to get the inside scoop on what kind of culinary delights attendees can expect Feb. 26.

A.W. Shucks
35 S. Market St.

Web: a-w-shucks.com
Preview provided by: Mike Ellis, executive chef

What should a first timer to A.W. Shucks know? Just that we create a feeling of fun with fresh seafood and Lowcountry cuisine.

History: This restaurant has been here since 1978. It was one of the first restaurants in Charleston on Market Street. We still serve some of the same recipes from when we first opened.

Atmosphere: It has a fun feeling. We have these T-shirts that say “Big Mussels, Great Legs and Fantastic Tails.” According to the website the restaurant has “grown into a casual, upscale spot where families, visitors, and locals all feel at home, and all can relax and enjoy fresh seafood.”

Signature dishes: We’re known for our seafood jambalaya, which features pulled chicken, smoked sausage, french fries and creek shrimp simmered in a creole sauce served over red rice and finished up with a cracklin powder. People also come from all over the country for our crab dip, which is a delicious, chilled blend of choice crabmeat, cream cheese, cheddar cheese and special seasonings, served with crackers from the recipe that we’ve had since the restaurant opened.

Fleet Landing, MenuDirections, Dine-AroundFleet Landing
186 Concord St.

Web: fleetlanding.net
Preview provided by: Drew Hedlund, executive chef

What should a first timer to Fleet Landing know? We have a fabulous view! We try not to be just any restaurant on the water. We try to match the caliber of our food and service with quality of our views. We specialize in seafood, but we really strive to elevate what we do here across the board as far as being involved with local and sustainable seafood and being involved in the community.

History: The building where the restaurant is located used to be a naval building that sailors were processed through in the ‘30s and ‘40s to get into Charleston proper. The restaurant opened in the space in 2003.

Atmosphere: There is again, an amazing view. The building itself is an industrial building and we’ve done minimal decoration. It definitely has a neat industrial feel to it with the concrete floors, which can definitely make guests feel the nautical theme permeating through the space.

Signature dishes: Our Charleston shrimp and grits are famous. Everyone has their own version in the Lowcountry, but ours features jumbo shrimp and andouille sausage sautéed in a tasso ham gravy over creamy grits, which we buy from the oldest mill in the nation. We also definitely put a twist on our stuffed hush puppies. We take large hush puppies and fill them with a veloute of lobster, rock shrimp, leeks and corn and serve them over creole tomato sauce.

High Cotton, MenuDirections, Dine-AroundHigh Cotton
199 East Bay St.

Web: mavericksouthernkitchens.com/highcotton/charleston/
Preview provided by: John St. John, general manager

What should a first timer to High Cotton know? We definitely specialize in Lowcountry cuisine. We try to use as much local product as possible, which includes produce, fish and meats. Lowcountry cuisine really goes back to the spices—like cayenne and cumin—you use. It tends to be a very flavorful type of cuisine. We make almost everything from scratch. We also cure our meats in house.

History: The restaurant is part of the Maverick Southern Kitchens Restaurant Group, which manages four restaurants, including the Charleston location of High Cotton, and a kitchen store.

Atmosphere: High Cotton features hardwood floors, celling fans with palms for blades, high ceilings and lots of exposed brick. The restaurant is located in a building that is nearly 200 years old.

Signature dishes: Our crispy pork belly with beet reduction, frisée, caramelized apples and sauce gribiche is one of our most popular appetizers. The house specialties definitely include our pan-roasted flounder, which is served with a sweet potato puree, roasted cauliflower, shaved Brussels sprouts, saba and parsley oil; and our pumpkin seed crusted salmon, which features butternut squash, sautéed collard greens, shrimp and a black-eyed pea vinaigrette The menu changes seasonally and depending on what products are available.

MenuDirections is FoodService Director's annual conference for non-commercial foodservice operators. It features presentations by experts from inside and outside the industry, as well as hands-on chef demos and an opportunity to taste the trends.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
lettuce eat dining

Forced to battle crumbling infrastructure and a constant churn of trends, sometimes the best way to save a foodservice operation is to change it entirely. As Steve Mangan, director of dining at the University of Michigan, puts it, “At some point when your building starts to fail, the cost of maintenance stands out.” But for operators with limited budgets, the challenge is discerning the right time to do so—and how far to take it.

At Jefferson High School, change came because little worked anymore. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, school’s cafeteria hadn’t been updated since 1957; students...

Managing Your Business
farmer produce

The seeds of farm-to-table 2.0 have officially blown into noncommercial foodservice. Since the movement has caught the attention of the segment during the past decade, operators have broadened agricultural collaborations outside of just supply. As a result, a new strain of the movement has been created that treats farms as allies in events, training and innovative growing systems.

The 500-bed Overlook Medical Center in Summit, N.J., didn’t start out sourcing produce from local farms; instead, it administered its own growing programs, including an on-site garden and honeybee apiary...

Ideas and Innovation
fsd screenshot web

A full year has passed since we redesigned FoodService Director magazine, taking the publication from its longtime tabloid dimensions to a more convenient size and more creative design, and recasting the content to provide actionable, peer-to-peer insights and ideas for FSDs.

Now we are thrilled to announce that we’ve extended the makeover to our website as well. The new FoodServiceDirector.com has been redesigned to be more engaging and even easier to use. We’ve made it faster to find information, from recipes to HR best practices, that will help you run your facility better....

Managing Your Business
wage feud business

As plans to increase the minimum wage surge ahead in states such as New York and California, operators eventually will feel the reverberations shake up labor costs for more than just hourly workers. As associate wages gain on manager salaries, operators will have to answer a call for reciprocal increases. FSD spoke with operators who advised going gently into the brave new world of heightened labor costs, investing in talent and making cuts elsewhere; however, they did offer three perfectly proactive tactics to make the process as seamless as possible.

1. Keep talking

Even though...

FSD Resources