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Charleston Institution Fast & French in Danger of Closing

County officials deny patio extension

fast and french building
Fast & French
Erin Perkins/Eater
Erin Perkins is the editor of Eater Carolinas.

Gaulart & Maliclet, better known as Fast & French, may not be able to survive in 2021 if it is not allowed to keep its outdoor patio space. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the quaint cafe transformed the courtyard on the side of its building into an outdoor patio. The space inside of Fast & French is all counter service with tight quarters, so maintaining six feet of distance between parties would restrict dining very few customers — the outdoor tables allow for more capacity.

The problem however, is that the courtyard is owned by Charleston county, and in October, County Administrator William Tuten decided to no longer permit Fast & French use the space past December, citing safety precautions for the Charleston County Judicial Center behind the restaurant. The owners and employees appeared before county officials last week to plead for an extension of the agreement, but they were denied.

The Post & Courier spoke with Fast & French owner Lawrence Mitchell, and he says that the restaurant may only be able to last two weeks if they aren’t able to seat customers in the patio. The reduction in space will cause a great loss in revenue.

Fast & French has been a staple of Broad Street since 1984. It famously stayed open during Hurricane Hugo, but it may not be able weather this pandemic without its patio.

For those who wish to voice concern over this decision, call Clerk of Council Kristen Salisbury at (843) 958-4031. You will likely get a voicemail, but she is taking record of these calls.

All Fast & French Coverage [ECAR]
Downtown Charleston Restaurant Says Its Survival Hinges on Outdoor Dining Permit Extension [P&C]