By Meghan Daniel for The Island Eye News
For more than a year, the property at 2213-B Middle Street on Sullivan’s Island has been vacant after 450 Pizza Joint shut its doors in late July 2019.
However, since early 2020, a demolition and rebuilding project has been underway for the framework of The Longboard: a new dining option that the restaurant’s managing partner Clint Gaskins hopes will be open for business in June 2021.
Gaskins described the upcoming addition to the local food scene as “a hip and vibrant environment” that will fill what he and The Longboard management team see as a void in the market between lower and higher end seafood eateries in the area.
Customers can expect a menu that blends a raw bar focus and wood fired approach with a Caribbean influence, he said.
Gaskins, a Charleston native who grew up on Isle of Palms, has been in the restaurant business for most of his teen and adult life. He is the former owner of Squeeze, a cocktail bar on Charleston’s East Bay Street that closed in 2013, and is currently a partner in the original The Longboard, which opened in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2015, as well as The Easterly, which opened last year just across the bay from its more laid back sister restaurant. These two restaurants will continue to operate under the leadership of Gaskins’ long-time friend and business partner, Tyler Beckstead, who will remain in the U.S.V.I. while Gaskins takes the lead on the Sullivan’s location.
Adding to the team of experienced restaurateurs at The Longboard on Sullivan’s is Executive Chef Will Fincher. Fincher, who worked most recently at The Obstinate Daughter as the chef de cuisine, has spent more than a decade in the Charleston food scene.
He described the menu at The Longboard on Sullivan’s as a combination of the culinary variety at the original The Longboard and The Easterly.
The Longboard on Sullivan’s will inherit some of the original menu items but will also incorporate locally sourced shrimp, North Carolina and Alabama crab, swordfish and wahoo.
Fresh ceviche and Peruvian tiradito, which have become staples of the U.S.V.I location, will add an international flair to the menu. Patrons will be able to enjoy these and other raw bar or wood fired plates inside the new space or on the porch add-on, which will accommodate around 30 guests. Gaskins believes the “approachable concept” of The Longboard will draw patrons in and keep them coming back.
The Longboard’s management team is working with Ilderton Contracting, Beau Clowney Architects, Cortney Bishop Design and Berlin Restaurant Supply to bring the vision for the 3,000 square-foot space on Middle Street to life. Charlestonbased Ballast Hospitality Group, founded by Gaskins and his wife, Kristen, will continue to provide support for the group’s existing concepts in the U.S.V.I. as they further develop the human resources, marketing and financial services for the newest venture on Sullivan’s.
They have recently begun conducting interviews for sous chef and chef of cuisine and will soon begin interviews for servers and bartenders. Fincher described a staff that will have extensive knowledge of the restaurant’s cuisine, which he hopes will contribute to The Longboard becoming a place folks visit multiple times a week.