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Charleston Chef Opens Mexican-Themed Social Club in Greenville

The cantina and social club wants the Upstate to stay and play

El Thrifty

El Thrifty, a social club/restaurant/bar inspired by the hospitality of the states of Mexico, is open in Greenville.

It’s a venture for restaurateur Robert Berry outside of Charleston, and he’s brought chef Justin Serwetz (known for time at Minero and last year with the opening squad at Felix) to cement the concept. Berry’s partners come with deep Atlanta hospitality roots including president and owner Reid Olsen and managing partner/general manager Andrea Ciavardini, who moved to Greenville a little more than year ago to open the third location of Husk.

*The trio picked Greenville to launch the all-day eatery with plans to eventually expand into other markets. They named it El Thrifty as a wink towards affording guests time to stay in one place morning to night, from coffee to cocktails.

The coffee program is Methodical and the cocktails are decidedly Latin leaning along with an extensive list of tequila and mezcal.

The interior is a whopping 7,200 square feet and sits right on the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a popular bike/walk former rail system that links downtown Greenville to the town of Travelers Rest. The neighborhood is expanding what Greenville thinks of as the footprint of downtown and though it sounds like a bit of a risk, the traffic from the trail could be a boon to the restaurant come spring with its 2,200 square feet of outdoor rec space including bike racks, a sunny yard, hammocks and shuffle board. Inside there are pool tables, fúsbol, tabletop shuffleboard, and the largest feather bowling court on the east coast.

The vibe is upscale comfortable; a come in jeans or sequins attitude that Greenville seems to be embracing, especially on social media. A wall of gold dusted skulls are immensely post-worthy and convertible seating for two or 200 is new to this part of the state. “We want a high level of hospitality and service with a casual vibe. El Thrifty is meant to be dining that’s approachable all day,” says Ciavardini.

The menu is fresh and straight–forward, with less twisted cantina concept than one would expect from Berry’s Pancito & Lefty days. Just 20 items grace the menu at El T and are available lunchtime through dinner including three tacos, two tortas, a few sides and seven sharable apps. Entrees number three: carne asada with fresh salsa verde, a roasted chicken with mole and a South Carolina fish feature. There’s loaded Pozole, chopped salad and a fruit plate too, farm-sourced and appropriately seasoned by Serwetz’ hand. Eventually they’ll be breakfast burritos and pastry available at the coffee bar.

The goal at El Thrifty is nothing short of meeting some big expectations from a well-regarded team.

El Thrifty [Official]