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A man making a prime rib sandwich on a wood counter.
Toscano prepares a prime rib sandwich.
Walker Creative Inc.

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First Look at the Meaty Interiors at Da Toscano Porchetta Shop in Charleston

Chef Michael Toscano is very close to opening his shrine to slow-roasted pork and beef

Erin Perkins is the editor of Eater Carolinas.

The team behind Italian favorite Le Farfalle (15 Beaufain Street, Charleston) is almost ready to open their second Lowcountry project Da Toscano Porchetta Shop (109 President Street). Chef Michael Toscano, partner Caitlin Toscano, and managing partner Joe Hochberg have transformed the former Gnome Cafe space into an old-world sandwich shop.

After traveling through Florence, Italy, Michael says he would think back to the porchetta and bollito sandwiches he found in small shops and street carts, and he wanted to create his own. In 2022, he made focaccia sandwiches out of the Le Farfalle kitchen and sold them once a week during lunch hours. He didn’t think his porchetta creations would be anything more than a pop-up, until he and Caitlin saw that the President Street restaurant space was available.

Now, the team is ready to open Da Toscano Porchetta Shop as early as next week. The space is totally different from its previous life as a vegan cafe. The floors are covered in well-worn tiles, a large marble counter frames the bar, meats rotate on several spits behind the dark wood counter, and there’s plenty of Sinatra on the soundtrack. “It should make you feel like you’re in Florence walking off the streets into a cafe,” says Michael.

The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch, and a happy hour. Housemade focaccia is at the core of the menu — every sandwich is served on the Italian bread. For breakfast, there’s porchetta with a sunny-side-up egg or smoked salmon with whipped ricotta and everything bagel spices. At lunch, there’s more porchetta, but there’s also prime rib, rotisserie chicken with Parmigiano vinaigrette, and roasted potatoes cooked with the drippings from the beef and pork. The kitchen sources all the pork from local pig farmer Tank Jackson with Holy City Hogs.

There are no seats at Da Toscano Porchetta Shop. Customers walk in, order at the bar, and take their sandwiches (or salads) to one of the counter spaces in the cafe. “There’s a great energy you get by everybody hanging around and standing close to one another,” says Michael, “ It’s fun, and it’s also how it is in Italy. It creates a great environment.”

Once the doors are unlocked, Da Toscano Porchetta Shop will open Monday through Friday (with plans to open on the weekends in 2024), from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Take a tour of the space and the menus here.

A marble bar, checkered floors, and dim lights.
Order sandwiches at the counter and post up along the wall with other customers.
Walker Creative Inc.
A marble bar with an espresso machine.
The bar serves coffee drinks, wines, spritzes, and hard-to-find Italian beers.
Walker Creative Inc.
A porchetta sandwich on a wood counter.
The namesake porchetta sandwich.
Walker Creative Inc.
Michael Toscano, Joe Hochberg, and Caitlin Toscano.
Walker Creative Inc.

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