Charleston, South Carolina, AUG 09, 2023 – The celebrated Neighborhood Dining Group (NDG), renowned for bringing forth culinary staples like Husk, Minero, and Delaney Oyster House to the South, has unveiled their newest gastronomic venture – The James.
Strategically located at 1939A Maybank Highway, The James opened its doors to patrons in mid-July, capturing the growing vibe of James Island. David Howard, NDG’s president, expressed the significance of this location, noting, “With the growth of James Island, we thought it was time to support people living in the communities of downtown Charleston.”
Heading the kitchen is Chef Mark Keiser, a seasoned culinary artist whose impressive resume boasts of stints at Charleston’s Oak Steakhouse and a 12-year tenure with CentraArchy Restaurants.
The James emphasizes a familiar dining experience. David Howard, a James Beard semifinalist for “Best Restaurateur,” envisions the restaurant as a haven of consistency, devoid of unnecessary formalities. He confidently states, “We won’t be changing our menu frequently, nor should our customers need to consult their phone to look up a dish.” True to this vision, The James offers an array of dishes from mushroom soup, mussels, sandwiches including prime rib melt and crab cake sandwich to sophisticated entrees like Scottish salmon, pecan-crusted chicken, and filet mignon.
But it’s not just about food. Kenny Lyons, NDG’s vice president of operations, is particularly passionate about the drinks menu. He shares, “We have a great cocktail program that offers a look back into the ‘90s-2000s martini culture with playful, contemporary riffs on cocktails and a well-appointed whiskey list.” With a versatile offering of 35-40 wines and a curated selection of craft beer, The James promises to fulfill the void of a mid-scale, bar-centric restaurant on James Island.
Drawing on data-driven insights, Lyons further expounded on their strategic choice, noting that post-COVID, people are seeking community hubs closer to home, “Now they have the opportunity to visit for a burger early in the week and return later for a filet mignon, mashed potatoes, and broccoli. Our goal was to provide something for everyone from families with kids, to grandparents with grandkids.”
Pricing too has been considered with meticulous care. While the offerings are premium, Howard assures that they are competitively priced with portion sizes that justify the cost. The key ingredient to NDG’s enduring success remains their commitment to customer engagement. Both Howard and Lyons underscore the importance of direct interaction with patrons, ensuring each one feels valued.
For now, the team is centered around fine-tuning The James’ current offerings, but there are murmurs about potential lunch services in the pipeline. “As of yet, we don’t have a hard date, but we’ll be considering it in the future,” Howard hints, leaving Charleston food enthusiasts in eager anticipation.