Thursday, March 5, 2015

Summerville 2015--Springing Into Action At Every Turn Of The Corner

What do you do on the warmest day since late October? Going to Sullivan's Island to catch up on some long overdue beach time was my first capricious thought. Sitting on the wooden deck of RB's along the water's edge of Shem Creek was my second. As the roulette wheel of random options spun around and around in my mind, more predictably appeared. After all, in the Lowcountry, the places are many and the choices are numerous. Then, suddenly and unexpectedly, the mental pointer whimsically stopped on the idea of taking a leisurely stroll around Summerville to catch up on some of the latest and upcoming additions to the downtown area's growing culinary scene. My spring walk took me to West Richardson and Short Central where the colors of spring painted the dogwoods and a chorus of saws filled the warm air.

Alessandra's has moved to the corner of Short Central and West Richardson. Enclosed with black posts and broad beams, the restaurant has added a large, outdoor patio to its new venue. Reviews for this restaurant are mixed, but many locals consider it a favorite. It was always a great place to enjoy a pizza and people watch on a Third Thursday. One of its highlights was the live piano music.

Summerville is getting its first oyster bar. Shuckin' Shack is moving into the space vacated by Allessandra's. Presently under construction and soon to open, it specializes in fresh steamed and raw seafood (oysters, shrimp, clams, crab legs, mussells). It presently can be found at two locations, both in North Carolina--Carolina Beach and Wilmington. Coastal Living named Shuckin' Shack as one of their 22 favorite seafood dives and it was voted Best Wings at the Carolina Beach location.

The biggest surprise of the day was not so obvious when looking across West Richardson from Short Central towards longtime bar and grill favorite, Montreux. I knew the Montreux was in the process of redoing its outdoor patio, but when I approached the corner of the building and the back space came into view, I was pleasantly blown away. The outdoor venue had been turned into a beautiful piazza with pergola style dividers, stone pavers, strategically located fans for cooling on those steamy nights of summer and a full bar with big screen televisions. It is now open to the public.

Montreux was voted #1 Bar, #1 Happy Hour, #1 Date Spot, and runner-up Best Place for Trivia by locals in the Summerville Journal Scene's 2014 Reader's Choice Awards. How the bar and grill got its name is an interesting read. For the full story you can click on The Story of Montreux.

Summerville is rapidly reclaiming its rightful place among the Lowcountry's premier tourist destinations and 2015 is shaping up to be a pivotal year. With the incorporation of the Lowcountry Loop Trolley in February, Summerville is now directly linked to Charleston and points beyond with the Trolley's Hop On, Hop Off service--reminiscent of its early railroad days when it was the first stop out of Charleston. The ever popular Good Eats on the Sweet Tea Trail Trolley Tours have been scheduled for March, April, and May. The B.I.R.D.S. Project is in place to assist locals and visitors in discovering the downtown area and its history. Sooner than later, Summerville will have its first craft brewery--Oak Road Brewery. Lest we not forget, it is the home of the best monthly party in the Lowcountry known as Third Thursday.

Walk it, ride it, shop it, dine it. At every turn of the corner, the signs of a prospering Summerville are as discernible as the blooming dogwoods of spring 2015. Things are heating up.