What’s Really Good For You Can Be Really Good
"A local guy in a local spot cooking local food.”
Such was the mission statement for the Black Bean Company in its infancy. With the first location on Spring Street in downtown Charleston came a movement for support of a community on a grassroots level. On James Island’s Folly Road, the second incarnation of the BBC, a former Church’s Chicken became a laboratory borne of a chef’s experience in fast food to create healthy fare in record time. A third location is up and running in Mt. Pleasant, and a West Ashley location is in the works on Savannah Highway.
Subject: Ellis Grossman
Executive Chef/Owner, Black Bean Company
Black Bean Co.
116 Spring St. | Charleston | 843.277.0990
869 Folly Rd. | James Island | 843.277.2101
1600 Midtown Rd. | Mt. Pleasant | 843.416.8561
Origins: Charleston, SC
Education: Johnson & Wales University Culinary Institute of Charleston with degrees in Culinary Arts and Business Technology Certificate Program for Farming, Clemson University
Evolution: After passing on a career in medicine to investigate what would lie beyond working in fast food joints, Grossman embraced the local food-to-table concept, working closely with Shawn Thackeray (of Wadmalaw Island’s Thackeray Farms) to bring health food to the fast food industry with concepts like “nutrient density” and “green restaurant”.
Culinary Passion: “Food is a chemistry, it’s a science … Black Bean food is energy food, it’s what you need to power your body.”
Passionate Distractions: The farm. “The average age of a farmer is 59 years old, it’s kind of a dying art … actually taking responsibility for creating an all-natural product [is] something I take a lot of pride in.”
Guilty Pleasure: “Sometimes I break down and have Sour Patch Kids.”
Guiding Philosophy: It’s all about listening to the people, be it the customers or his staff; he’s very big on the “we” concept because he is but one person in the operation.
What the Future Holds:
Exploiting his growth potential. “I would love to see a Black Bean Company just off the interstate in Atlanta someday.”