Fazio's for sale, Books and Brews closes, Swine Barrel opens
Whew! From the good to the bad to the uncertain, it sure was a big week in local restaurant news. But even some of the sadder announcements may have happy endings after all. I’m all about silver linings, so let’s dig in!
Iconic Fazio’s Seeks New Owner
The biggest bombshell of the week came when a simple post on social media announced that iconic Fazio’s Italian Restaurant was (gasp!) up for sale – the building, the name, the recipes, the whole cannoli.
Not closing, mind you, just for sale.
Fans of the longtime favorite at 1008 Bullitt St. in Charleston still lost their collective minds, a problem made worse when rumors started swirling that the restaurant’s planned closing for vacation next week may end up being permanent.
There was agony and dismay and despair the likes you’ve never seen, but Fazio’s chimed in a few days later in an attempt to ease our minds.
“Addressing a rumor,” the official post said, “Fazio’s has been listed nationally for sale but Fazio’s is not closing!” A second post said their doors would reopen as planned on Tuesday, April 11.
News of the sale didn’t come as a big surprise to me, since I’ve been receiving a pretty steady stream of comments from readers over the past few years saying the place, and I quote, “just isn’t what it used to be.”
I agree the food, service and overall experience has been a bit inconsistent of late, but Fazio’s is still one of my favorite places to dine, if only for sentimentality’s sake. I’d hate to see it close for good, so here’s hoping a knowledgeable and experienced new owner will sweep in to preserve its history and character, while also whip it back into shape.
Books and Brews closes in Elk City
The chapter closed on Charleston’s Books and Brews when the West Side restaurant quietly closed its doors nearly two weeks ago.
No official announcement was made, but the news was not a surprise to regulars who said the place hasn’t been the same since its owners moved away a while back. I had only stopped in twice recently, but I was the only soul in the place both times.
And while I’m going to miss Books and Brews’ delicious soups and award-winning pepperoni rolls, I may not be crying in my beer for too long.
Building owner Tighe Bullock says he’s in “active discussions with some very interesting potentials” for the space, and two sources said that one of those prospects is a wildly popular West Virginia restaurant with a cult-like following.
We’ll see how long that secret stays under wraps.
The Swine Barrel opens in Elkview
A new BBQ joint came to Elkview last week when The Swine Barrel opened its doors in a small spot across from the Elk Shopping Plaza.
Owned by local couple Justin and Ciara Teel, the new restaurant serves up lots of smoked meats along with items like quesadillas, sandwiches, sausage balls, cornbread salad, mac ‘n’ cheese, smoked baked beans, side salads and “the yummiest banana pudding on the river” provided by Sugar Mt. Sweets in Big Chimney.
Food is currently available for either dine-in or carry-out, and they hope to add outdoor seating in the future as well.
I’ll definitely be checking it out, so stay tuned for an official Food Guy review.
The Swine Barrel is open from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, noon to 8 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 2 p.m. Sunday.
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Steven Keith is a food writer and restaurant critic known as “The Food Guy” who writes a weekly column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and has appeared in several state, regional and national culinary publications. Follow him online at www.wvfoodguy.com or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or at email@example.com.