With the New Year in full swing now, I’ve been wondering about some of the restaurants that were announced in 2017. One in particular has been at the top of my mind, since I pass it nearly every day when I drop my kiddos off at daycare, Fork & Plough.
I could tell that work has definitely been underway, but I wondered how far along things had come and when we might be able to expect an opening.
So, I called up executive chef and co-owner, Shawn Kelly.
“It’s coming along,” Kelly said, during a recent visit to the future restaurant/butchery space at 1629 E. North St.
First things first, the new projected opening date is March but more likely April, Kelly said.
It has been a long while since the restaurant was first estimated to open in the summer of 2017, and then fall 2017. But things, namely permitting and plans and licensing can take longer than expect, Kelly said. Now, construction is fully underway. Inside, framing is in place and you can now get a sense of kitchen, dining room, bar and butcher counter.
Notable features are that the entrance will be on the side of the building, so not on East North Street, but on the side facing the Shaw’s Pharmacy plaza.
There will be a separate L-shaped bar area outfitted with a roll-up window on one side that will create seating for around 14 people inside and an additional four outside.
Kelly and his partners, Chad and Amy Bishop and Roddy Pick, who manage Greenbrier Farms, have put a lot of thought into the atmosphere of Fork and they want it to feel like a neighborhood spot. This means prices will range from lower to a few higher-priced items, there will be a sizable grab and go selection and it will be family-friendly.
“We all have kids,” Kelly said. “And we all are looking for that place we can go on a Wednesday and take our kids.”
With a decisively locally-sourced focus, Fork & Plough’s menu will be highly seasonal. Kelly is already giddy about what might be available during a spring opening.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about asparagus and strawberries and green peas,” he said.
Of course, details will come later once the chef knows what he’ll be able to get, but it will all come together within his self-described “rustic” cooking style. For Kelly, a disciple of famed Charleston Chef, Frank Lee, cooking with good ingredients is about honoring them as they are.
“I try to stay away from foams and powders,” Kelly said laughing. “I try and let the ingredients speak for themselves.”
Fork & Plough will also serve as a pick-up location for Greenbrier’s CSA program and will feature a full butchery with a variety of cuts and types of meat and prepared sides and entrees to go. The restaurant will eventually serve a small breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as Sunday brunch.
“I hope that we can help to support some local producers, while also giving the Greenville community somewhere they can go and enjoy with friends,” Kelly said.
Those interested in getting a taste of Fork & Plough before it opens can do so Feb, 11 when Kelly joins Southern food historian and author, John T. Edge at a very special Sunday Supper event at M. Judson Booksellers. The event includes discussion of Edge’s “Potlikker Papers,” and a meal prepared by Kelly along with beverage pairings. Tickets are $75 a person, and can be purchased by going to www.mjudsonbooks.com/sunday-suppers