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HoM Thinks Back on the Early Days of Upper King

From ping pong to local produce.

Erin Perkins is the editor of Eater Carolinas, covering the food and restaurant scene across North and South Carolina.

When burger spot HoM opened in 2011, Upper King was on the cusp of a food and beverage explosion. Soon, The Grocery, Stars, and The Ordinary would join the fray, and the rest of the street quickly filled in. Co-owners Pete Rivas and Pete Smith were food and beverage vets with a dream of owning their own place, so they signed a 21-year lease at 536 King St. and decided to do burgers and ping pong.

Rivas says the first year was tough. "We didn't get any sleep," he tells us. But they eventually figured it out. When they opened, Charleston was in the middle of burger boom, with Big Gun, Five Guys, and Burger Babies new to the scene. When asked what made them successful, Rivas and Pete attribute HoM's prosperity to one of them always attending to the restaurant (with the occasional days off). "I think it's important, as an owner, to work just as hard as everyone else here," says Smith.

To bring in the fifth year, HoM hired a new chef, Caine Lambert. When the original chef Shay MacDonald left to pursue new ventures, HoM had a gap to fill. Lambert, who learned in more classic training kitchens, like Fig and The Ordinary, streamlined the back of house setup and menu as soon as he joined. The offerings are now pared down, compared to the mammoth stacks from before, and the kitchen is utilizing more local, seasonal produce (a chanterelle burger made the specials last week). "I'm excited to put different things on the menu, like mussels and charcuterie. It's like a gastropub-type feel. I think people would like a bowl of mussels with a beer and now we have options for more snack-type offering in addition to the burgers." The whole crew is excited about the changes and promises a killer fall menu.

The restaurant celebrate its fourth anniversary tonight with $4 specials throughout the evening. There will be prizes and drink specials starting at 5:00 p.m. For more information, check the event's Facebook page.


563 King St., Charleston, SC 29403 (843) 573-7505