By Meghan Daniel for The Island Eye News
After just under two years of work, The Longboard Sullivan’s is finally (almost) here.
Managing partner Clint Gaskins expects to open the second iteration of The Longboard (the first is in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands) on Aug. 11, pending an inspection by SCDHEC and other ensuing final steps. Upon opening, The Longboard will serve dinner and drinks Wednesday through Sunday from 3-10 p.m. with an extended hour for the drinks at the bar. As staffing and other logistical aspects permit, the restaurant will adopt what Gaskins calls a “full force” dining services schedule: brunch from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, weekday oyster happy hour with a condensed bar menu from 3-4 p.m. and dinner on Monday and Tuesday nights.
Gaskins and the rest of the team of food and beverage hospitality professionals at Ballast Hospitality of Charleston originally aimed to open in Spring 2020, which fell within the height of the COVID-19 outbreak, the furthest thing imaginable from a prime time for a restaurant to open.
Labor issues and supply chain shortages have been a recurring challenge for the team, although Gaskins said that the industrious group made use of the extra time on hand to sort through and fine-tune the details of the restaurant. Sullivan’s Island resident Cortney Bishop of Courtney Bishop Design brought an expertise in design-related details to the table. The crisp white exterior of the building, which adheres to the vision Gaskins relayed for the restaurant to be “whitewashed; not rustic,” contrasts the variety of patterns inside the dining room: namely, a geometric, retro-esque Moroccan tile floor complemented by upholstered booth seats with fabric that mimics the palm fronds lining the porch. Art, Gaskins said, will be surfthemed, but not overdone, although much of the artisanship is evident in the locally-sourced wood accents scattered throughout the restaurant crafted by island artist Eric Brooks. Brooks operates his business, Eric Brooks Custom Woodworks, just a few steps down the street from The Longboard.
Gaskins explains that these and other “high level details” of the restaurant were all intentional choices that he hopes will help ensure that The Longboard Sullivan’s comes into the restaurant scene on Middle Street at a different angle from other restaurants on the island, offering “a bit of an elevated casual dining environment.” Patrons of The Longboard Sullivan’s can expect a heavy emphasis on the bar scene and small plates, rounded out by a few large-format entrees conducive to family style meals. The food, as described by Executive Chef Will Fincher, will be “seafood driven” with an “island flair.” Familiar favorites such as wood-grilled shrimp and roasted oysters will be found alongside raw-bar-style island dishes like Peruvian tiradito, crudo and ceviche. The intent, he said, is to “pull from a bunch of different cuisines that maybe aren’t represented on the island,” marrying Caribbean cuisine with Charleston-caught (or grown) ingredients. Signature cocktails, craft beer, draft wine, local kombucha, distilled waters and a selection of nonalcoholic beers make up the thirst-quenching side of the menu made with everyone in mind. The Painkiller, a legendary favorite from the U.S.V.I. made of dark rum, pineapple, coconut cream, orange juice and nutmeg, will lead off the half dozen or so cocktails that are being imported from the original location, aptly dubbed “Longboard Legends.” Another six or so will feature Charleston-inspired ingredients and names.
The Longboard Sullivan’s will not accept reservations and instead will operate under a first-come, first-serve format with a waitlist for both the open-air porch and inside dining area.