A Sneak Peek At Husk Greenville
The first time I dined at Husk Charleston, a 9:00 reservation was the best I could do. We spent an hour in the next-door bar with beer and boiled peanuts, still plenty hungry when we were ushered to the main dining room. I quickly learned that while hunger is an obvious boon to any fine meal, it is especially important at Husk. The menu isn’t exactly light fare, and by 9:00 we wouldn’t have had it any other way: pimiento cheese, sausage, fried chicken, smearable pork rillettes in a jar. Let’s just say we made it worth our wait, waddling home to our Pinckney Street hotel around closing time.
Recently we chatted with Executive Chef Sean Brock and Chef de Cuisine Jon Buck about what to expect at Husk Greenville. What’s exciting is that, according to Chef Sean, the menu will be completely unlike the one we’ve seen in Charleston, yet we know we can expect the same hearty, rustic style. The primary difference, of course, is geography: while Chef Sean is inspired by Lowcountry cuisine at the flagship location, he’s excited to explore a radically different array of ingredients in the Upcountry. “It’s the Blue Ridge Mountains,” he says, “and that’s a completely different thing. I’m looking forward to our menu reflecting the Cherokee influence in the Upstate and am excited to explore traditional Cherokee cuisine.”
So what does that mean? We expect to see a traditional Cherokee dish called “fry bread” incorporated into the menu, a puffy, crispy round bread that can be served alone, with honey, or as a base for any number of toppings. Cherokee cuisine relies heavily on wild game meats and corn, beans, and squash. Other delicacies include kanuchi (hickory nut balls combined with hominy into a soup) and grape dumplings (cooked in grape juice). We wouldn’t be surprised if these appear on the menu as well, as Chef Sean seems interested in reviving traditional dishes.
As we all know (and love to brag), the history of Upstate cuisine isn’t the only thing that sets us apart from Charleston. David Howard, President of the Neighborhood Dining Group, recognizes the opportunities Greenville in particular has to offer. “We are encouraged,” he says, “about the growth and the development of Greenville and the surrounding cities and having a chance to participate in it is exciting. You can definitely sense the enthusiasm and pride in the community. This is long-term commitment and investment on our part and we will patiently try and earn our place in the already established culinary community.”
So this isn’t just Husk 3.0 (there’s a Nashville location as well)—although that wouldn’t be such a bad thing, of course. But Howard explains, “We deliberately set out to and encourage each of our Husk Restaurants to have its own identity.” That means paying careful attention to the unique historic buildings that house each restaurant and to the personalities that will form the new Greenville team. The team is given creative license with the menu and décor, so they can come up with something truly new for Greenville. “We provide a lot of autonomy to the chefs and beverage management for that very reason,” says Howard. “Chef Sean and Chef Jon Buck are working closely on researching the foodways of this area and establishing the necessary relationships with farmers and vendors so that this Husk represents this community.”
The latest word is that the restaurant will open in November at 722 South Main Street. Andrea Ciavardini has been named General Manager and Joe Billesbach is Manager/Sommelier. When we say reservations are recommended, we mean it. But if you don’t get in until bedtime, just consider it an invitation to go really hungry.