James Beard Award-winning chef Jason Stanhope vacated his longtime station at FIG (232 Meeting Street, Charleston) only a few months ago, but his latest projects, the Quinte and Lowland (36 George Street), are ready to open this Saturday, November 11.
Philadelphia-based hospitality company Method Co. scooped up Stanhope to revamp the Quinte, which is connected to boutique hotel the Pinch, and premiere Lowland, which is located in the neighboring Lequeux-Williams House, tucked just off King Street.
The Quinte opened in November 2022 and quickly gained a reputation for its seductive setting and hyper-local seafood. It shuttered suddenly in June with a promise to reopen in the fall. The newest version of the oyster bar is a little less precious; the team roughed up the walls, took down the art, and put in a soft-serve machine. Quinte 2.0 is meant to be more casual and more fun. “We want it to be a place where everybody congregates,” says Stanhope, “Whether you just got off the boat from fishing all day or you have your five o’clock tie on, I wanted it to be a choose-your-own-adventure space.”
The predetermined seafood tower sizes are gone, and customers will be able to select which raw bar items they want to consume with a sushi-style ordering card. “If you want three oysters, one stone crab claw, a mini martini, and half a lobster roll, you can create that,” says Stanhope.
Adjacent to the Quinte sits Lowland, which is divided into the Tavern on the first floor and the Dining Room on the second floor. The Tavern, which opens this weekend, is the more laid-back experience. When the Dining Room eventually opens, it will be a tasting menu-only spot.
The food at Lowland Tavern is meant to be approachable. There’s a burger and biscuits on the menu, but they’re finessed with the Stanhope touch. “I wanted the Tavern to be rooted in nostalgia,” he says, “I wanted it to feel comfortable, and I want people to feel good when they leave here.” The food is Southern American (Ossabaw porchetta and collards), but it’s also slightly British (banoffee pudding) with a hint of Japanese (chicken tsukune).
“We pulled from a lot of dishes that make us happy,” says Stanhope, “We were able to find some really elegant and thoughtful dishes with inspiration from taverns, pubs, and izakayas.”
When asked which item really typifies Lowland Tavern, Stanhope cites the grilled fish, “I love everything, but we’re bringing in the best fish we can find, and poaching it, steaming it, grilling it, and serving it simply in a broth with really minimal garnish. We’re not trying to cover things with microgreens over here — we’re really trying to put technique and restraint in the middle of the plate, but also have it be craveable and memorable.”
After 15 years at beloved institution FIG, Stanhope says he’s excited to create some updated classics with his new restaurants.
Lowland and the Quinte are open Thursday through Monday, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. For reservations, diners can email email@example.com.