Restaurant of the Year: 167 Raw
What started as a fish market and four-seat oyster bar quickly turned into the most sought after non-reservation in town. 167 Raw co-owners Jesse Sandole and Kyle Norton knew they wanted to bring super fresh, sushi-grade seafood to Charleston, but they didn't know that patrons would get hooked on the lobster rolls, fish tacos, and thoughtful specials from chef Sean Rieflin. The East Bay eatery has quadrupled its seating since opening, but lines are still an everyday occurrence. 167 Raw brought a taste of New England to the South, and it worked.
Chef of the Year: Emily Hahn
Chef Emily Hahn had a very busy year opening slick soda shop Parlor Deluxe while running the kitchen at popular hangout Warehouse. Hahn has a knack for taking familiar flavors and taking them up a notch. Her fancy hot dog menu at Parlor Deluxe won the praise of critics and serious tube meat fans alike.
Best Pop-Up: John Lewis
From Austin's lauded La Barbecue, pitmaster John Lewis will soon open a barbecue spot of his own in Charleston — and to get the city excited he held weekly pop-ups at Revelry Brewing this summer.
Bartenders of the Year: Jeremiah Schenzel and Teddy Nixon
During a time when legislation attempted to halt new cocktail establishments, Jeremiah Schenzel (of Cocktail Club) and Teddy Nixon (formerly of Edmund's Oast) helped craft newcomer Mash. This whiskey-heavy bar located in the Cigar Factory includes an indoor bocce court, arcade games, and a jukebox full of 45s. The crowds start filing in as soon as happy hour hits to sample the creative libations and fancy bar snacks in the hip setting.
Stone Cold Stunner: Cannon Green
The warehouse at 103 Spring St. was once home to a industrial-looking art gallery, but underwent a miraculous transformation into an awe-inspiring event space and restaurant. The developers behind Cannon Green, Lynn Easton and Dean Andrews (of Easton Events and posh hotel Zero George) and Anne Bowen and Dave Dabney (of flower shop Stems), created a dining room that begs to be photographed. Local artists also played a large role in the stunning outcome, like custom tables by Bryan Deel Timberwerks, antique mirrors from Charleston Architectural Glass, fixtures by Avrett Lighting, and custom paintings by artists Teil Duncan and Blakely Little.
So Hot Right Now: Mercantile and Mash
One of the first public establishments to open in the renovated Cigar Factory, Mercantile & Mash opened to a substantial buzz. Billed as Charleston's first food hall, the industrial space serves as a catch-all for every gourmet need. Mercantile is the Dean & DeLuca-esque side of the business, with grab-and-go items for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a chef's lunch counter, and a coffee bar stocked with pastries. Mash is the the boozy component of the establishment with tons of whiskeys and upscale bar snacks.