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Chef Michael Toscano Takes Over Former Charleston Vegan Cafe for Porchetta Shop

Da Toscano Porchetta Shop will focus on focaccia sandwiches

Exterior of black building.
Gnome Cafe
Shane Lasby
Erin Perkins is the editor of Eater Carolinas.

Le Farfalle (15 Beaufain Street, Charleston) chef Michael Toscano recently announced that he and wife Caitlin would take over the former vegan spot Gnome Cafe (109 President Street, Charleston) to make way for his Da Toscano Porchetta Shop. The restaurant will serve breakfast and lunch with an emphasis on focaccia sandwiches.

“The whole place is based around our focaccia — there’s no other bread,” says Michael, “Imagine having a crusty, warm piece of focaccia with ricotta and a seasonal marmellata for breakfast.” He goes on to explain that other morning offerings will include egg sandwiches or smoked salmon on focaccia, along with olive oil cake, a carrot cake muffin, and plenty of espresso drinks. In the afternoon, the focus is on more sandwiches featuring local meats, as well as vegetarian options.

“I want people to understand that we’re not like a deli,” he says, “We’re not just slicing meats — we’re brining, curing, and roasting on a beautiful rotisserie that we are bringing in.”

The concept started as a pop-up last year at his Beaufain Street restaurant. Customers lined up at Le Farfalle on Wednesdays in November to order porchetta sandwiches served on focaccia with aged provolone and salsa verde. For vegetarians, there was marinated eggplant sandwich with sun-dried tomatoes, whipped ricotta, and arugula. It was an immediate hit.

“The pop-up was excellent,” says Michael, “At that time, we weren’t in a rush to turn it into a restaurant, and we weren't looking for spaces, but then this just happened.” The pop-up started as a celebration of the sandwich stalls and carts found in the Toscano’s favorite Italian cities, and now the President Street space will carry on that celebration.

Look for Da Toscano to open this spring.