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The Maybank Melting Pot - Sweeney’s menu is all over the map

on Thursday, 11 July 2013. Posted in Magazine, Eat This Summer 2013, LOCAL Bites, Follow This!, Restaurant Spotlight

 

The Maybank Melting Pot

Sweeney’s menu is all over the map
By Patrick Graham

As much as native Charlestonians hate to admit it, the invasion from without continues.  The passive opposition to the influx of “the others” that have moved into the area is certainly not as evident or heated as many conversations about immigration is these days, but one thing is certain:  if you’re going to relocate here to the Lowcountry, opening a good restaurant will soften the blow to the locals.

 

Former Long Islander and GM of Hege’s Restaurant- Jim Sweeney has set up shop in the center of an emerging foodie corridor on Maybank Highway, flanked by hidden gem Wild Olive to its east and the venerable Fat Hen literally right across the street.  An innovative menu tactic designed to separate his restaurant from the herd is incorporating recipes and influences from all over the country.

 

“It’s celebrating the cuisine of various states in the country, something that will be different from what Charleston has seen,” declared Miami native Amanda Beame, manager of the front of the house.

 

She deconstructed one of the future stars of the menu, the Stone Crab Salad, and explained that it represented a prime example of “Floribbean” cuisine, the consummation of South Florida and Caribbean culinary dialects.  The dish will consist of the obvious eponymous ingredient garnished with star fruit, mango, pickled mustard seeds, and the traditional mayo-and-mustard-based sauce that is a clone of a South Beach original.

 

Sweeney’s menu diversity is matched by an equally unique geographical makeup in the personnel department, with Beame from the Sunshine State, and executive chef Jared Secor, a native of the Hudson Valley in the Empire State.

 

Secor is convinced that although the success of the farm-to-table movement is a noble idea, he says the farm doesn’t necessarily have to be down the road, especially if the sought-after ingredients aren’t necessarily available in the Southeast (“it only works if you’re picking it,” he acknowledged).  As a result, seasonal fare will make for frequent menu changes.

 

Another quirky addition to the repertoire includes the advent of an all-day Sunday brunch menu, complete with a Bloody Mary bar and a chili bar (yes, a chili bar).  Let’s remember, as of this article’s appearance, it is July, which is dangerously close to football season.  The concept of relishing the RedZone on the Sabbath in the bar area is not lost on Sweeney, and hopefully not on the general public as well.

 

With all of these various aspects of a unique restaurant percolating before its imminent debut, there’s another wrinkle in the way of service, a demonstration of both sides of the house’s familiarity with its opposite number:  the servers will know the preparation of the food and its ingredients inside and out, and the members of the back of the house will do table visits to make themselves more visible and to help educate the consumer.  Think of it as the grammar of a restaurant carried out by three different parcels of information—the menu has the nouns (the subjects), the servers provide the adjectives (what the ingredients are like), and, ultimately, the kitchen staff is responsible for the execution of the project (the verbs).

 

And the entire operation’s mission?  Enlarging your vocabulary in mid-July.

 

 

Sweeney’s Restaurant

3157A Maybank Highway, Johns Island

Sweeneysrestaurantsc.com

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